Friday, March 28, 2014

Nag, Nag, Nag!

I rarely use purely personal stories in these bi-weekly examples of behavior, instead looking for reliable news sources as unbiased observations of typical American behavior, but this will be an exception.  Call it a pet peeve, but one I think more and more people can identify with.

Since we live just outside city limits, we must arrange for and pay for our weekly trash collection.  The cost is not too high and the taxes are a little lower, so it all evens out (Economic Understanding).

Right before Christmas and for the two weeks following, we had terrible weather here in the Midwest.  It was unusually cold and snowy.  This probably only added to the problems of my trash collection company.  They had old equipment and they were apparently just keeping their heads above water financially.

Between the holidays and weather, they managed to make the scheduled Thursday pick up on the following Monday.  Then they disappeared.  Trashcans and bags lined the streets with no sign of relief.  When the local news became involved we found out that they had closed the doors.  This poor communications with the customer was probably just another symptom of why they went out of business.

The main problem was not that they were no longer around.  Most of their customers found a replacement provider within a couple of days.  Also, uncollected trash in the dead of winter is not the nuisance it could have been in the heat of August.  The main problem was that they billed in advance and had collected $50 or so from many customers with no ability to fulfill their obligation.  Hundreds filed complaints with the state Attorney General hoping to recover.

One day it occurred to me that I still had one of their assets in my garage, a 90-gallon trashcan.  Perhaps I wasn’t at such a loss after all.  I wondered how much it was worth, so I went on line to price large wheeled trashcans.  I found it was worth more than my potential loss, so I figured that shifted the power equation in my favor.  They should want to recover from me more than I owed them.

BUT – and here’s the kicker – I now get, two or three times a week from the Home Depot, an e-mail saying, “We’ve got what you want!” featuring a picture of a trashcan.  This is the peeve.  No matter what we look up on the Internet, for no matter what reason (sometimes even to gather examples of bad behavior for this blog), no matter what it is, the Amazons. Home Depots, Kohls, and Wal-Marts of the world think you are in love with the idea of buying whatever you researched (or even hovered the cursor over) and will keep pestering for God knows how long.  That’s the downside of this digital world!  They think they have us all figured out.

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