Voices Column for July/August:Say You’re One of Them: The Less-Intelligent-than-Average American Guide to Being Corporate

Say You’re One of Them: The Less-Intelligent-than-Average American Guide to Being Corporate.

Statistics show that the average American spends roughly 62 hours a week on help lines attempting to clear up corporate misconceptions. About 1 in 600,000 calls succeed. Statistics aside, my cousin Marvin had a rough week. Have you met Marvin? He is shaped liked a fire hydrant, with much the same range of motion and grace. But he is kind, slow to anger and uncomfortably honest.

Marvin’s 87 year old mother-in-law hired a Van line to move her belongings here from Florida. She was told the truck would arrive in three to four days and wisely planned for 10. It’s been two weeks and, sadly, no one seems to know where her truck is. In the interim, she is living with Marvin and his wife, has run out of meds, and practices the flugelhorn for 6 hours a day. If you navigate the Van line’s phone system, you eventually meet a charming young person, Marcie, who promises to call you back. She doesn’t. Occasionally though, Marcie will offer words of wisdom, like why didn’t you bring more stuff with you on the airplane. America! Where the moving companies advise you that bringing luggage on a USAIR flight—going through Philadelphia International Airport—is the best way to guarantee your stuff will arrive. Right now, we are waiting for a call from Marcie. She apparently sits out on the median divider of Route 95, just north of Richmond, and watches the trucks go by. She’ll call when she spots ours.

Marvin’s health insurance company pays a recovery firm to find out if anyone can be held liable for his health care expenses. They asked Marvin to call, so they could gather additional information about his recent back surgery. He called and had a laugh with a nice young woman named Marcie about their mistake. Marvin didn’t have back surgery, he had cataract surgery. Marcie promised to change his records. She didn’t. Yesterday, Marvin got a strongly worded letter accusing him of not responding to their request. They smell fraud and are coming down on him like a load of bricks. His lawyer feels that only by having the back surgery will Marvin’s life ever be bearable again.

When Marvin’s mother died this February, he kept their joint account open for a few months, as he is a good citizen and very naive. Since there are no bank branches near State College, he left with a phone number to call to cancel the account. He checked in April to verify all the automatic payments had been stopped and called to close the account in May. Stay with us here, it’s complicated. Their phone rep, Marcie, told him he couldn’t cancel an account with a balance ($40.12) over the phone. Simple enough—he sent a letter asking to close the account. When Marcie didn’t respond in ten days, he called and was told that the letter must be notarized. Cleverly, he took $40.12 out of the account to get to a zero balance. Game over! Unfortunately, that was the very day the power company made an unauthorized automated transfer from the account. Counting the fee, he was overdrawn $70.37. So Marvin sent a notarized letter and a certified check for $70.37, only to be told he actually owed $68.37. And with a balance of $2, they couldn’t close the account. Marvin raced to the bank to cash a check for $2, but unfortunately, the account didn’t have an adequate balance for May. That fee was $20 and the account balance is currently -$18.00. Marcie tells him that real bank officers might be able to help, but they are all in Monaco playing Texas-hold-em with pension funds.

With no way out, Marvin did what any rational person would do. He called the insurance recovery firm and told them that he had ruined his back dodging a brakeless Allied Van Line truck, tripped over an unmarked bicycle rack outside a Wells Fargo Bank, and went head first through their plate glass window. “Let them work it out,” he told me with an evil grin.

Why suffer as a person any longer? The Supreme Court has declared that, for all practical purposes, corporations are people. And that is the reason, we at Stevieslaw are proud to publish “Say You’re One of Them: The LAGuide to becoming a Corporation. In the guide, you will not only be taken through the process of becoming a Corporation, but you will also learn of the remarkable benefits you can receive as a corpperson. For example, imagine your fun when you start your own automated phone system, using the voice of the toddler next door with the adorable speech defect and that of your neighbor down the street who only speaks Swahili. You will get to answer informative letters with automated responses asking for the very information you have just received and to offer free gifts for an expensive membership in a trial program that can be cancelled at any time with only a notarized letter from the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. Picture yourself joyfully sending automated phone messages to random numbers to tell strangers that their passwords have expired and they must call mumble, mumble, mumble, immediately to preserve their credit rating. With practice, you can be as inept and annoying as Verizon.

Become part of the problem. It’s all in this month’s guide! And if it isn’t, just call 833-456-305 and ask for Marcie. If she can’t help you, no one can.

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4 Responses to Voices Column for July/August:Say You’re One of Them: The Less-Intelligent-than-Average American Guide to Being Corporate

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