Seven Degrees from Normal

Two people, eighteen years of marriage, seven college degrees.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Does this make me a jerk, part 2

Another installment of me musing over how to balance resistance to the Man with not being a jerk to my fellow man.

This one also involves bill paying.

I get irritated (probably unduly so) by lots of things when I pay bills--statements that don't make it clear which part to keep and which to send in, bills with payment coupons that don't fit in the return envelope, those snotty little statements that remind you "The Post Office will not deliver mail without postage"--and recently I've seen an increase in the little extra flaps they put on return envelopes advertising products that nobody in their right mind needs. You have to tear off the little flap before you can seal the envelope, see, so you can't escape looking at the ad for a singing patriotic teddy bear, or a Nokia phone with 100 free minutes in the continental U.S. but if you read the fine print it turns out it really only works in Bucksnort, TN, or whatever. I don't like advertising in general but I really dislike advertising when I do not have the option to ignore it.

I finally snapped last month when I hit a return envelope with two separate flaps, advertising two separate useless products, that I had to tear off before I could seal the envelope. So after I tore them off, I stuffed them into the envelope along with the statement and my check.

So, does that make me a jerk?

Here I think I'm on thinner ice than with the unclosed, unused VISA account. The only problem I'm causing here is for the poor schmuck who processes the incoming bills. That's not someone with any say over the company's advertising policies.

On the other hand, what if I included a note that made my intentions clearer? Something like "I am not interested in a singing patriotic dashboard monkey, but since the ad was important enough to send to me, I would hate for all that effort to go to waste. Perhaps someone on your staff would be interested."

In my wildest dreams, I could just see something like that getting passed along to Management, and maybe eventually communicating my displeasure to them. Not solving the problem necessarily, but at least they'd know how I felt.

But then again, I've been a mail-processing schmuck, and it did not help my outlook on life to constantly get bitchy notes from customers who were upset that we had the incorrect middle initial on their mailing label. I mean, if your sense of identity is so fragile it can be knocked askew by your third class mail, you need help.

I should just pay my bills online, shouldn't I?


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