When Bob and I go to Orleans we often leave at night and stay in Roseburg (roughly halfway). We recently tried a different place in Sutherlin that was a little bit cheaper. On the Thanksgiving trip we ran into the night clerk jerk. Apparently there was no mall with a security guard job so he had to make due tyrannizing the poor tired folks coming off the road at night. First he berated me for pushing on the inner door, not realizing he had to buzz me in and was taking his sweet time. Then he scolded us for not filling in our phone number on the form where he highlighted the place for our name and signature but not the phone number. But he did it all good natured like he was kidding around instead of being an asshole. Then he gave us a room practically in the lobby and our next door neighbor had their TV on extra loud at midnight. Why stop at a motel if you aren’t going to go to sleep? Not that the TV was the jerk’s fault but also I left my bottled water on the counter. How hard would it have been to (berate me) bring that to my attention or even bring it to our room, only about 20 feet from his desk. We’ll rather pay $8 more and go back to Roseburg.
I spent this afternoon catching up on various reading piles and found an article in the NY Times about something that I’ve long suspected to be true. That big companies intentionally make small billing errors that people who have better things to do then navigate 10 layer phone trees and sit on hold for a half hour are willing to overlook or don’t even notice. At the office we have a line of credit with our bank that has an annual fee. Every year they charge the fee to the line of credit the first day of the billing cycle and then bill us for the fee plus the interest. It’s less than a dollar but I don’t think the fee should be considered a credit advance. When I complained the bank reversed the interest and told me I could call every year and they’d take care of it. Why not just fix their computer system so it doesn’t bill it that way?
David Pogue says, “Now, I’m not much on conspiracy theories. But in the weekly Circuits e-mail newsletter (nytimes.com/circuits) I floated a theory that [these billing errors] might be part of a pattern of passive-aggressive robbery perpetrated on the premise that a certain percentage of customers won’t notice, or won’t bother to protest.” He said he got over 1,200 responses in 4 days.
Final topic, I was home all day today, avoiding the dismal weather and cranking away on my writing projects. We got 4 marketing calls and one kid at the door trying to sell the Columbian.