Nothing Is Free, Ever

I was going to tell you a funny story of something that happened at the movies last night but meanwhile, this other thing has happened that’s got my panties in a twist so I’m going to tell you about that instead.

If you haven’t already learned this, write it down now: NOTHING is free.

Earlier in the week I signed up for a “free” informational class on this thing I’m looking into and I figured it would give me a good overview and I could make a decision about taking other classes or whatever. They didn’t tell me what room to go to so I used my online signup number to check the class listing but first I had to fill out a screen (data mining) and then they still didn’t show a room number so I had to call. Now I’m on their marketing list (eff-me!) for taking classes. They called me at work (cell) to talk about it. I told the guy I had some thinking to do and calling me wasn’t going to help me make up my mind. He said he’d make a note of it.

The other one is worse. The last two years I have been discretely obsessed with Big Brother which is a dreadful reality show that can suck up huge amounts of your summer. They have cameras in the house and you can subscribe for 24 hour access — which I have never done.

This year I didn’t even pretend I wasn’t going to watch the show: I was looking forward to it and I decided to try the livefeeds to see what it was like. They had an offer for 14 days free and then $12.99 a month so I figured it wasn’t too bad and I signed up. The feeds are hard to watch. They don’t work that great on DSL — perhaps higher speed is better. I can get audio but the picture is wonky and not like watching TV. And listening to people who are doing nothing but killing time grows boring fast. What’s worse than being locked in a house doing nothing but plotting to get rid of everyone else? Watching people locked in a house doing nothing but plotting against each other.

It wasn’t worth it so this morning I logged in to cancel my free pass before it expired.

But you can’t cancel your pass online. You have to click through a couple of screens and they give you a phone number which immediately ticked me off but I marched to the phone to take care of it now.

This guy was NOT going to let me cancel my account. This is such an abhorrent business practice to hand out “free” things to your customers and then beat them up when they don’t want to pay for them later. I went through the same thing with the phone company once.

The service that provides the Big Brother feeds provides other services as well: games and music and news. I don’t really know because I don’t need to pay $12.99 a month to spend more time sitting around my computer. The guy gave me the full sales pitch but I didn’t really listen because I was canceling my account which is what I told him: again and again and again. I give him credit because he was flawlessly polite except WTF: I want to cancel my account. These people have my credit card number. What was I thinking?

He wanted to give me another month for free so I could check out their services which is again, a clever and sneaky business practice because most morons are going to forget to cancel and get dinged.

No, I said. I want to cancel my account now.

This went on and on. I finally began to yell into the phone: Cancel my account NOW. I want to cancel NOW. If you can’t cancel my account NOW, transfer me to someone who can.

He seemed to get it after that and I received a cancel confirmation so I think I’m good.

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