August 9, 2010
I had a strangely intense conversation today when I called to cancel the Citibank Identity Monitoring service — initially enrolled by accident, but then continued out of curiosity to see if I would experience any semblance of the satisfied, contemplative feeling the stock photo people always seem to have. I signed up last Thursday, but could not cancel until today, because I was told that I had to wait 72 hours after registering to un-register; their system supposedly does not have new registrants' information for that long, until some old fellow named Milt brings it around (probably because if they use the Internet instead then corporate will force Milt to retire, and nobody wants to see him go, especially since it sounds like his daughter never visits and work is about all he has going for him. Wait, where the fuck is this story going? It has been hijacked by Milt's troubles, this poignant saga which I only invented for sarcastic purposes.)
(Right. Well, I brought Milt into this world, and I can take him out again if he's distracting you. Now Milt has gone to live with a nice farm family, where he plays in the field all day long, but it is too far away for you to visit.)
Now you are only concerned with me, and not Milt.
I want to get back to the story of this intense phone call. You could tell this was serious business, because only one button separated you from speaking to an operator, and there was no hold time. A middle-aged lady answered, sounding very much like a woman who worked in the principal's office at school, and, somewhat brightly at first with an undertone of disappointment, asked why I wanted to cancel. I expected a few sales pitches and offers to stay on at a reduced rate, much like I received when I signed up for freecreditreport.com for the sole purpose of blaming my cancellation on that fucking band, but she went a different way.
"You realize you're giving up instant credit alerts," she said, proceeding to rattle off a long list of other features, in ascending order of intensity and critical importance to my well-being.
"Yes, I do," I said.
There was a long pause, and then she said, "Good luck to you," in a tone of disgust and unambiguous forecast of my imminent demise; the moment at which the woman in the principal's office, who has known you since you were a little one, long before you began smoking crack at recess, has finally given up on you.
"Uh, thanks," I said, a bit too surprised to hang up. There was an even longer pause, during which I wondered if the phone call was over. Finally, she spoke.
"Is there anything else?" she said, still disgusted. (I've soiled myself, she implies.)
"No," I said. "So I'm cancelled, then."
"Yes," she said, and hung up.
I was bewildered, and then went on with my day.
We are renewing efforts to fix the comments — or, more accurately, I am renewing my sweet-talk toward Kurt, and Kurt is renewing his efforts to fix them. Thank you, Kurt.