Annie Dear: Make the other guy blink first

Staff Writer
The Examiner
The Examiner

Here’s a little salutary lesson for you, dear reader. I bring this to you as my own Personal Public Service Announcement.

I’ve always been of the opinion that if you have to pay something regularly, set it up so it’s paid automatically. Be it a necessity, or just something you want to keep going, get it paid without running the risk of having your electricity turned off, or your subscription to The New York Times crossword puzzles cut off at the knees – it saves an awful lot of hassles.

But, as always, for every “you beaut, I’ve got this under control” scenario, there must therefore be a “well, damn” moment.

These moments are brought to light possibly later than is terribly useful, but you do have an alternative. My PSA is as follows:

Sir has always subscribed to an online music app that affords him the immense pleasure of playing elevator music at home and in the car. Oh, sorry. Did I say that out loud? Smooth jazz is not my thing at all, but who am I to decry somebody’s taste in music. I know he doesn’t think much about my Beatles, Eagles, Billy Joel or Elton John moments either. But I digress…

Having subscribed for the last 21 years, he, thankfully this time, got an advance notification that the subscription was about to be renewed at a whopping $370 for the year. This rather out-whopped the $99 he was used to, so, ever one to urge a good deal and a bargain, he called the company, grinding his teeth through the “press 1 for this, press 2 for that” until he managed to reach a breathing human.

The dear thing on the other end of the phone calmly explained that this was now the going rate, or he thinks that’s what the off-shore responder said, but Sir was not to be deterred. “Cancel my service” he sternly intoned, and lo and behold, miracle of miracles, he was connected to another breathing human somewhat closer to home.

The upshot of this tortuous procedure was that his subscription has been renewed for, guess what? $99.

This phenomenon has happened to us over and over again. The phone/internet/TV service provider is the absolute worst at this, followed closely by the security monitoring company and the newspaper (not this one, of course, I hasten to add). I can’t begin to count the number of times I’ve heard Sir bellow “cancel my service” over the years, but thankfully he’s on top of it and manages to keep arriving at the “new introductory offer” each time without having to do anything too drastic.

But like irritating flax seeds that never get ingested but stick limpet-like to your teeth, or sesame seeds that religiously fall off your cracker to decorate the table, you have to remember to watch out for renewal dates so you don’t get swept up in the complacency of the “you beaut, I’ve got this under control” dreamtime you’ve been living in.

Be vigilant, dear hearts! Don’t be afraid to call them out and demand a more satisfactory outcome.

It works – Sir’s living proof.

Annie Dear lives in Lee’s Summit. Email her at