Yay! Lucky me! Oh, wait, you’re congratulating me for spending money with you.
I don’t pay the bills around here, but I see this kind of message a lot. Companies, with whom I have no choice but to sign-up for an automatic payment scheme, are congratulating me when they reach into my account and take another fistful of dollars. The current bearer of happy news are the folks over at E-ZPass:
“We are pleased to inform you that your E-ZPass account number ending in XXXXXX was automatically replenished on…using the payment method you had previously selected… The payment has been accepted and applied to your E-ZPass account and your updated balance is…”
If that isn’t a reason to jump for joy, I don’t know what is.
I get the same kind of exciting feeling when AT&T congratulates me because my “automatic payment was successful.” Yay, I get to keep using the over-priced cell service for another month. Of course, that service only allows me to use AT&T’s towers, copper and microwave transmitters and receivers. It doesn’t actually let me speak to anyone or send a message or read a blog. For that stuff, I need a phone, and for that I need Apple.
Apple reaches into my wallet every month, too. They don’t congratulate me though. Apple is uncharacteristically matter-of-fact about their transactions:
“You may contact Apple for a full refund within 15 days of a monthly subscription upgrade or within 45 days after a yearly payment. Partial refunds are available where required by law.
This email confirms payment for the iCloud storage plan listed above. You will be billed each plan period until you cancel by downgrading to the free storage plan from your iOS device, Mac or PC.”
The gray and centered text is Apple’s way of injecting a little of that “hey-we’re-different out here at 1 Infinite Loop, Cupertino, CA” into their correspondence. Infinite Loop indeed. The three dollars and change I pay them for iCloud storage will continue ad-infinitum until I decide to throw caution to the wind and not backup my photos. You know, the week before I drop my phone in the toilet.
So what gives? Is that still an expression? That was an expression back when family members shared one phone and paid less than what it costs to keep one iPhone connected to the invisible grid. That was an expression back when AT&T would send you a phone bill that included the words “Thank you for choosing AT&T” somewhere in the not-so-fine-print. That was after the judge busted up Ma Bell. Suddenly, we had options and AT&T was happy to be the option we chose. These days. Now that we have tons of options, it’s “your payment attempt was successful” as if it was the point-after-a-touchdown. “Yay, put both hands up, your credit card cleared the bar, split the uprights. You’re a winner!”
It wouldn’t be fair if I didn’t point out that Marriott and American Express appreciate my business. Every email I receive from them says so.
The company who is far and away the best at not thanking me, is our electric company, the former Connecticut Light and Power, CL&P.
For the longest time, the most active day on this blog was when, during a 10-day power outage that CL&P couldn’t seem to recover from, I posted a series of sarcastic remarks crafted from their ongoing excuses. Hoisting them on their own petard. Today, the guy who made the remarks I was turning against CL&P is no longer with the company and the company has changed their name to Eversource.
Eversource doesn’t thank us when the check my wife sends them clears our account. They don’t thank us for being customers, even though, I suppose we could buy our electrons from someone else. They don’t thank us even though we choose to buy those electrons instead of generating them with couple of dozen rooftop solar panels. No, they chastise us for using more electricity than our neighbors!
They print off a cute little graph showing the average amount of electricity used by the people around here with similar sized houses, including a separate bar for the uber-efficient neighbors.
I’m sorry, I was working in my workshop. My wife was cooking. We were surviving the “coldest month ever recorded” or the hot and humid conditions that pose for summer around here. We were vacuuming dog hair and cleaning up cat puke and washing the socks that walked through both. I was using hot water to shower before going to work to earn the money I send you and AT&T, E-ZPass, and Apple. I didn’t know it bothered you so much. I thought that my using electricity is how you stay in business. I thought you liked cashing my check.
E-ZPass, Apple, AT&T and Eversource, the words you are looking for are: “Thank You!”