Friday, June 29, 2012

Son of Poor Richard

In another lifetime, I used to shop around for the best deal I could get on a subscription to Rolling Stone Magazine (at one time they called themselves the New York Times of the Counter-Culture). I thought them more a Bible than anything else. Then they fell in love with stuff other than rock and roll-some of it was good, bordering on great-Dr. Hunter Thompson and some of it not so much.

I always return in memory, if not in hope, to the issue that had Diana Vreeland of Vogue Magazine on the cover. Rock and roll boob that I was I thought she was Neil Young's mom or something. I had no clue why she was the rock and roll magazine's cover and after reading the entire issue repeatedly,  I still had no idea. That was the issue that broke my back and a couple of other pieces of my anatomy and prompted me to cancel my susbscription.

Which stayed that way for decades until not that many years ago my son got me a subscription as a holiday present (nothing says Happy Arbor Day like a coated pulp paper product). Some weeks it used to show up in the same mail delivery with my AARP magazine. Strange Days indeed. Nowadays, many of the folks who once made the cover of Stone now are on the AARP magazine. And those who read the former now have seeing eye dogs and walkers to help them read the latter.

Last Tuesday having put off the renewal of my membership in AARP as long as I could ('what if I croak?' I asked my wife. 'Do you think they'll give you refund?') I extended the membership for another five years. Ever since the (successful) PVD surgery I've been walking on sunshine (sorry, I hate that song). And I saved some money, too,  because I got a five year membership at $63 dollars...where is that announcer to tell us about the savings off the regular new stand price? Oh? Will his widow be getting a refund? Tough Schlitz, I guess.

The glow faded to close to something whiter only Keith Reid could have ever imagined when I opened an envelope from AARP this Tuesday past, thinking it was my new membership card only to read what was another subscription offer, but for fourteen bucks less for five years than what I'd just done. Yipes!

I called 1-800-GROWN-OLD or whatever their toll-free number spells out and spoke with T. who moves at 33 1/3 in a 78 RPM world (look it up child; it has to do with turntables. Look that up, as well.). He had a little trouble grasping the depth of my unhappiness and reacted to my explanation like he was listening to golf on the radio. He got all mathy on me with a solution that involved refunding my $63 dollars to me, but 'that might take five weeks, suh.' I told him it took eight seconds to transfer the money from my account to theirs last week. Was gravity a problem now? Nothing but crickets.

I would then pay for another subscription, again at the new and improved rate. And that would be that. I made I am-not-very-happy-sounds and he gave me to his supervisor, R. I think there's money to be made by those who work these phone lines if you can do voices. I had the sinking feeling that was exactly what T was doing when R got on the phone, but fourteen bucks is fourteen bucks and I was not to be distracted.

R, in a truly Solomon like moment decided he couldn't cancel my 'old' new subscription refund the money and have me start again, but he could add seventeen months to the not-yet-started subscription. We're talking February 2018, sports fans; this is as close to winning as I may ever get in this life. Sold American!


Speaking of which, I still don't have a clear or complete understanding of the refund policy but am happy I won't be around when Sigrid has to sort that out. Step right up.  
-bill kenny  

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