Dear Ben, Is There Really a Sanity Claus?
The phone rang just as we were sitting down to dinner, so I was already predisposed to be irritated and only half-listening.
“Hi, this is John from C**cast. I’m just calling to see if you’d like to make a payment free of charge.”
Say what? I know I wasn’t really paying attention, but what did he say? “Make a payment free of charge?” What the heck does that mean?
If I only had a brain! Dorothy, though, caught by the tornado, follows the yellow brick road through a veritable poppy field:
I punched the C**cast number into the phone and was greeted by both Shaquille O’Neal and Ben Stein, thanking me for calling C**cast. Hmmm…that’s nice, I thought. I like Shaq and Ben. Nice to hear from them. I figured neither of them would be available to answer my questions, though, and I pressed on, hitting the correct prompt for billing inquiries...
The woman who answered greeted me politely and asked what she could do for me. “Well,” I said, “I received a phone call from someone last night who offered to let us make a payment to C**cast for no charge, which implies that sometimes, C**cast charges customers to take the customer’s money. Is that correct?”
“That is correct,” she responded.
“Okay, wait. I want to get this right. How does this work?” I asked.
“You can pay your bill on the internet or in person at a C**cast office for no charge, or you can use our automated phone system for a $2.00 convenience fee. You can also speak to a customer service representative and pay your bill for a $4.95 service charge,” she said.
“So what you’re telling me is that C**cast will charge me to take my money depending on how I want to pay the bill?” I asked.
“That is correct,” she said.
“Can you explain to me why they charge customers an additional fee to take the customer’s money?”
“I’m sorry; I can’t explain that. It’s company policy,” she responded.
Well, guess who's our internet provider, too. I wonder what Ben Stein would say? "Evolution can't explain why Con-cast would do such a thing, therefore it's..." [fill in the blank]. Hmmmmm. Maybe Ben Stein should write a column about it. ;-)
But of course he's been too busy, since his employers have been suing an anonymous blogger. However, they recently dropped the lawsuit, having located (they think) their man. It's none other than the Wicked Witch of the federal pen, but according to the irrepressible Felix Salmon, there is no ruby-slipper bling to be had:
Franklin Seegers, as a minute’s Googling will reveal, is an inmate of Butner Federal Correctional Complex in North Carolina, having been given a 40-year sentence in 2006 for his role in a violent drug gang known as Murder Inc. I don’t know who “flâneur de fraude” is, but I’m quite sure that it’s not Seegers. Still, I hope that Adaptive spend lots of time and money trying to serve a lawsuit on Seegers claiming defamation. This could be very funny indeed.
Shimmies to Felix, to the (defunct, but not defunct) Ben Stein Watch, and to Mary Fran Bontempo, who apparently never was in Kansas.