January 6th, 2010
| | Posted in WRP News
Alright, so 2010 is upon us. While the 2009 of the year best-ofs are still lingering like so much hot air (by the way, check out mine here), I am left to try to figure out why the Vancouver-based Japandroids got themselves on Pitchfork’s top 50 instead of the band Double Dagger, who basically used the same sound and lyrical themes, earlier in the year, and better. But these top whatever lists are always subjective. Aren’t they? But that’s the topic for the next essay.
So you may have noticed that the site was down over the ass-end of the holidays. This was down because recently I’ve set up the automatic renewal of this website’s hosting on my PayPal account. Now, unbeknownst to me and, I’m sure, the bulk of others that have read the dense legalese of the PayPal terms of service agreement, PayPal has the rights to freeze the bank account associated with any purchase that it declares “out of pattern” with previous purchases. Because my only PayPal purchases were returning money to people (two dollars for shipping refunds), when I needed to re-buy $4.99 worth of hosting the unfamiliar price tag sent up red flags in the PayPal security system.
This would be an acceptable method of security to me, if I could then talk to the staff and have them unfreeze my account. Let them know that everything is going to be okay.
However when I phoned PayPal, the staff assured me that there was nothing I could do. And that there’s a freeze on my account for security purposes and not to worry because–I’m not making this up–”it wouldn’t be for a lifetime.” So I had to borrow 5 dollars and get this thing back up and rolling. PayPal then asked me to participate in a customer satisfaction survey (irony of ironies). I sent them this:
To the Braintrust at PayPal,
Why I feel “that way about my likelihood to recommend
PayPal” (a zero on your scale.):
PayPal’s “Instant Transfer” service can be suspended at
the arbitrary behest of a Security system that neither its
staff nor its supervisors understand. This is, without a better
term, terrifyingly ridiculous.
My account was frozen because the amount I tried to purchase
was “out of pattern” for my previous purchases. I can appreciate
this as a form of security, but the fact that I couldn’t then tell your
staff that the purchase was intentional and okay in order to
unfreeze my account proves that A) they do not adequately
understand the security system, or B) that your security system
needs a serious overhaul. I’m shocked that your company has
made it as far as it has by putting the screws to loyal customers
for whatever reason your Hal9000-esque security system sees fit.
And what’s worse is that my automatic transfer remains frozen!
Without any way of knowing when it will be unfrozen, your staff
supervisor simply said “Well, it’s not for a lifetime.” As if this
condescending response was all she had to offer. Is it written
in the training manual to say to the customer “don’t worry, it’s
not for a lifetime?” How long is it for? I asked. A day? Two years?
No answer. Nothing. She then suggested that I use a credit card
(the reason I use PayPal is because I don’t have a credit card).
She acknowledged (and for this I applauded her) that this was
not a satisfactory suggestion, but THE ONLY ONE SHE HAD.
The question and answer booklet you provide your poor,
defenseless support staff with does not offer any of the answers
to the problems that you throw at your customers.
I’d like to apologize for how angry I got with your staff.
I think you and I both know that it’s not their fault that they don’t
know what you’re doing.
Looking forward to your response in the form of an
unsatisfyingly short e-mail,
If you think that’s too harsh, I want to hear. Leave it in the comments section. I make no apologies for anything I said and acknowledge that the staff, though confused, are basically left to fail.
When I was a kid, say 15 or 16, I had to take Civics class. It was basically an introduction to the workings of the Canadian gubernatorial and legal system. We discussed the ins and outs of government, majority and minorities alike. Jonathan (who’s last name escapes me, but he always felt that he was smarter than me) would always contest me on issues that exploded in class. He was more prepared to argue, more well-versed in the issues. He read the news.
We discussed a minority government, and I questioned how it could ever be a successful form of ruling. The majority party holds less than a majority of the votes, and, if the bodies in office were as petty as the brains in Civics class, I just envisioned that every other party would shoot down whatever the ruling party wanted, and that nothing would ever get done. If any bill was introduced by the ruling party, I believed (because I projected my own sneaky thoughts on them) that the other parties would surreptitiously vote everything down, and make it look like the ruling party couldn’t get anything done.
Jonathan turned around angrily in his seat after we had been fighting about this and said “Government doesn’t work like that!” And that was the end of it. After all, he read the news.
I am proud to discover now, over seven years later, that both Jonathan and I were correct. The pettiness, the simplicity, the childish behaviour that enables a party to disable its competition like children on the playground is very much alive and well, and is in fact part of politics. However, I didn’t think it would be the ruling party that would keep all others at arms length. I didn’t think that the ruling party would take the time to shut down the house when things weren’t going its way. In my very petty view of politics, I still believed that there would be a democratic process. Shocked am I now that our ruling party has taken the pettiness one step further and abolished the democratic process, yet again, because it isn’t going their way. Our government is prorogued, again. Prorogued, a word they didn’t teach us in Civics class because it was a tactic not really used since Charles I.
A few months later in Civics class, we had a mock-election experiment. My team greeted all the underclassmen that came in with cookies. We won.
In the meantime we are hard at work here at WRP planning out how AAOYOC is gonna look and where the next Blank State event will be help. Check out the submit section if you haven’t already and get me your stories ASAP.
I’m hard at work on editing Blank State volume 1. Plus tonight I’m watching Bloodsport. 2010 is going to be our year.
PS, start referring to the previous decade as “The Naughties” (joke stolen from this guy).
yours in writing,
, WRP News