Thursday, October 9, 2014

The ISP ate my soul!

This week I am consumed with the sheer unbridled agony of dealing with Centurylink, a large Internet Service Provider of such magnificent and nuanced evil there is no way to speak properly of it. All the diatribes I compose in my head for them come off as uncontrollably hysterical, or unhinged, or boringly unbelievable. I am so defeated by the possibility of even speaking a sliver of the truth to them that I have given in. My resistance is futile. I succumb. Their model shall be my model.

I know you may have enjoyed the free,  pleasant, easy going, non profit nature of this blog. But, alas, we cannot live any longer in this utopian hippie dream. This blog, clerkmanifesto, shall forever more be run on the Centurylink model.

But don't worry, I will try to make the transition as easy as possible.

We will start by sending to your home four pieces of mail every day announcing all the splendid subscription opportunities to clerkmanifesto. These will all have appealing rates that have nothing to do with anything you would likely be eligible for. If the appealing rates do apply to you they will only be for our economical "Non consonant service". Some people's blog needs are satisfied purely with vowels, but for only $10 more a month clerkmanifesto will bring you all the consonants too! To get that great "includes consonants" deal you merely need to bundle. You know about bundling right?

Just choose two of the following services to lock in your price:

1. Unscrambled letters delivery. This service allows you to read each word without having to unscramble the ttesrel, oops, letters.

2. Prime time viewing access. Do you find it inconvenient to only be able to view clerkmanifesto between one and five in the morning? With prime time viewing access you can view it round the clock! This is a good choice for bundlers who would rather not bundle because it's the cheapest add on choice at only $6.95, so ends up being basically free, not counting communication taxes, specialty taxes, start up fees, the Internet clock drive purchase (it can also be rented), and one time debits.

3. Unlisted blog viewing. With this feature no one will know you read this blog. You don't want people knowing that you read clerkmanifesto do you? People have a way of... talking.

Okay, then. After a long period of mail bombardment you are bound to give in and call to set up a subscription. Don't worry, an incredibly emotionless, vague, corporate sounding person will guide you through the process. Whatever you work out with them will have absolutely nothing to do with any of those 3,000 offers you received in the mail and read on billboards. But after four hours on the phone you had to agree to something. It sounded okay, almost like you got kind of a deal.

At first things will seem to go fairly well, maybe too well. Why are you getting beautiful reproductions of blog posts in elegant, hand done calligraphy, with illustrations, on vellum? Why does Bob Dylan come to your house on Thursdays, with a pizza, and read the Sunday blog post aloud to you? Why does the blog keep mentioning you in flattering ways? Didn't you sign up for Unlisted blog viewing? It kind of ruins it if you're constantly being referenced on the blog. Why do you get these obscure and beautiful liqueurs with little notes suggesting "pairings" ("this Dancing Pines Brulee Caramel liqueur, served at five degrees below room temperature, will be a lovely accompaniment to the post regarding the Samurai and the Zen Cat, sip it gently").

Your first bill will come. You were expecting it to be roughly $2.95. You accepted that there might be communication taxes. So you are slightly surprised to find your bill is for $7,343.93. None of the vast listing of charges seems to reference anything that makes any sense to you, though "clerkmanifesto" crops up in there a few times.

You will give us a call. 

You do know that, like, 45 people read this blog? So naturally you are put on hold. We make you punch in a lot of numbers on your phone, but it's just our nice way of keeping you occupied while you wait for us because we will ask for all the same information when we come on and talk to you.

You will have had a lot of time to prepare your speech and so you will deliver it quite well to the first customer service agent. This person understands things did not go according to your confused ideas of what was supposed to happen. They ask a couple of strange, misunderstanding questions like "Why did you sign up for the liqueur pairings if you don't enjoy liqueurs?" which forces you to repeat sections of your speech all over. Finally they seem to understand that you never actually wanted Bob Dylan to come to your house, even if it is an amazing bargain at just $1,100 a month introductory offer. They put you on hold for a long time twice to work on the problem. Finally, when you think they are coming back on the line to say "I have resolved the problem." they come back on the line to say "I am going to transfer you to a person who can help you."

You will be transferred to a person who has no idea why you were transferred to them, or who you are. You tell your story a few more times to a few more people until someone will finally roll up their sleeves and get to work.

"Okay, let me get this straight. You don't want the 'Bob Dylan reads you the Sunday blog post feature? You're aware that this is a fantastic bargain? He does it at cost because he's such a fan."

"That's great." You say. "But no thank you."

"Check. And you don't want the "Fans of clerkmanifesto Mazatlan timeshare?"

"What? No!" You will say.

And so you will whittle the services down. After much hard work the customer service agent will proudly announce "All right, we have it down to just receiving full access to clerkmanifesto with no add-ons. The monthly fee is reduced all the way down to $415.45.

"No!" You cry out. "It's supposed to be $2.95!"

"Okay." The person says. "It will be $2.95 a month."

You will be stunned at how easy it all was, even though you just spent six of the most miserable hours of you life on the phone. All that is nothing to you now. You can hardly believe it. You will ask them to confirm the price 14 times.

Full of joy you read clerkmanifesto with a light heart. And then a week later $312.91 will be automatically deducted from your bank account. There will be more calls to make. Many many many more calls.

But I say to you; is that so bad?

Where else could you read a blog of this quality?

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If you were wondering, yes, you should comment. Not only does it remind me that I must write in intelligible English because someone is actually reading what I write, but it is also a pleasure for me since I am interested in anything you have to say.

I respond to pretty much every comment. It's like a free personalized blog post!

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