Friday, December 03, 2010

Fiscal Evil

I'd like to relate to you two quick stories which will inform the story that is my ceaseless distrust and antagonism of most major institutions. The first is relatively simple and has to do with why I am no longer a patron of chase bank.

It starts with the fact that I was never voluntarily a patron of chase bank. I was a patron of Washington Mutual, a local bank, which was then devoured by the chase financial Goliath. At first this consisted mostly of a logo change, but after they were done changing all of the decor at all of the numerous WaMu locations they began to annoy me with an unceasing barrage of what is best described as bullshit. They called it offers and prizes and deals and contests and interesting new ways for them to take more money from me, but I'm familiar with the workings of capitalism, and know that if they were investing this much money into getting me to do something then it must be because they think profit will result from it. This on its own isn't a bad thing but if you zoom out one more level you'll see that the origin of what they're calling profit is what I know as "the means by which I continue to feed and house myself."

The last such act of fiscal terror I received from chase came when I was woken up by a chase telemarketer to inform me that I owed them fifty dollars. I was a bit surprised by this because a full three weeks before this call I had cancelled my chase account entirely. As it turns out they were assessing automatic charge from netflix to the card of the account that I had cancelled. This then lead to a forty dollar over draft charge. I found this last bit particularly surprising because chase had attempted to get me to consent to overdraft charges with all of the kindness and patience you expect from a hyena tearing flesh and marrow from the corpse of a Gazelle. I had, in fact, told them that I did not consent to overdraft charges five times. Two of these were during unsolicited phone calls, two of them were via mail and one of them was in person where the subject was brought up three times and I said directly, bluntly, and towards the end with undertones of violence that I have absolutely no interest in that service.

I went to the bank that day, something I try to avoid as chase banks reek of false comfort and over engineered kiosk design. Because the chairs at chase are intentionally uncomfortable, and old negotiating trick, I chose to to stand, or more accurately loom, over the woman while she explained their devilry to me. I think the fact that I went through the effort to menace a completely innocent woman in her mid forties is the only reason I was able to get them to revoke those charges, after which I went through a process of bullying her into actually closing the damn account. I expect to have to deal with even more bullshit from them any day now.

The second story, the one that is about to cost me four hundred dollars, goes something like this. When I lived in west Seattle I was a regular attendee of an Allstar Fitness gym. It was a good gym, and when I made the deal I was told that cancelling ahead of the one year contract wouldn't be a problem. This was particularly important because I would be moving to Olympia well before that year expired. In may of that year, right around the time I was moving to Federal Way, I told the person at the front desk that I would need to end my contract. She said that was fine and that it would be handled. I was surprised by the simplicity of it, but she assured me it would be taken care of.

To put it most simply, that bitch lied to me.

This morning I received a message on my phone threatening legal action and saying something about seven months of delinquency. I returned the call, as I do with most calls which mention state attorney generals and collection through legal channels, and talked with a very tired sounding woman who explained to me just how the aforementioned bitch had lied to me, and what would result from it. This leaves me at an interesting point where I'm right, but I can't prove it, and I don't have the means to fight it. Any means of fighting it would probably cost me even more then I'm paying now. All it means is that my recent financial freedom is going to take a serious hit. Luckily we're at the start of the month, so my finances have the leeway to take said hit, but it still puts another on the long list of reasons I revile most major corporations.


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