Haven’t you always wondered where all your extra time and money goes? I’ve been thinking about all our grownup toys like iPads, cell phones, and DVRs. With all these minions working for us, we should be ahead of the game. They all promise the savings as something to help our day-to-day living. Although I am no techno geek, I am a disciple at the altar of technology. I have all the basic equipment and a kid who keeps me current. Why aren’t I showing more savings, in time and money, now that I have so many things to do my thinking, shopping, bill paying, taping?
I think I’ve figured it out. Maybe it was the $275 billed from a satellite TV company when I cancelled after the one month trial and before the year was up, even though I never got a signal. (The two holes drilled into my stucco by the installer continue to haunt me.) Or maybe it’s the $179 about which I fought for eight months when I, fool that I am, tried to do my part to reduce e-waste by fixing my own hard drive.
Have you gotten it? Does it sound familiar? I’m sure it does. You probably have a couple of title fights in your past, each complete with a file of backup paperwork the size of a novel and carrying memories of abusive (or, on the other hand, clueless) sales assistants, boxes sitting in the dining room for months (so as not to let it fall off your own personal radar), and mounds of money, retained by companies, faceless voices from the void of a phone line, punishing you for your stupidity for purchasing their product.
But I rant. Let me try to sound more logical. The ironic thing that has come to me like a blast of fresh air is this: we buy things to save time and we spend double or triple the amount of time trying to fix the deed, losing money in the process. Most of the time, it’s pretty clear-cut, such as my hard drive incident. A friend gave me a computer when she upgraded and we both knew there was no warranty left on it. When it crashed, I called the company and paid by the minute for the tech department to tell me I needed a hard drive. I ordered it and was told I had a 16-day money back guarantee. Okay, so when I got it and called the technical department, as instructed by the guarantee paperwork, the voice told me, after an hour on and off hold, in a heavy, impenetrable Indian accent, that he couldn’t help me because my computer was not under warranty. What?
Now, if it wasn’t happening to me, and if there wasn’t a lot of money at stake, and it wasn’t my money, and I hadn’t listened to an hour’s worth of hold music, and it wasn’t the second time in a year this type of idiocy happened to me, well, I would have actually LMFAO.
But it was happening to me. In other words it was personal. The way I see it, outside forces are entering the privacy of our world by our invitation and doing terrible things to us. And we are paying them a lot of money to do it, at a price low enough to purchase, yet too high to walk away from and call it a loss. And, in doing so, we allow them to steal our precious time.
So how do we correct this paradox and still surf along with everyone else in the 21st century? I mean, I love to purchase online and by phone. It makes my life easier. And we live in a world of immediate gratification, one for which, to my dismay, I have been inadvertently grooming my daughter.
Here is where we must take charge. We punish the offenders. We tell everyone we know to tell everyone they know not to use (fill in the blank). We pick and choose whom we buy from and what we buy, and learn to grow some patience about getting a few things. It beats learning it the hard way when you have to call the same number for eight months for a refund. One more thing: cut the cord. Oh, yes I did, and I’ve gone a blissful 8 months without any conversation with a cable company.
And if you get into a firefight again, repeat after me – “small claims court”.