It seems to me that one of the most irritating, aggravating occasions we experience is when we get the feeling we are being “jerked around”, that is, we are being forced into some condition or activity we really don’t like but with which have little or no alternative but to comply. Sure makes the stomach acids churn up and our attitude turn sour to think about it – but perhaps I’d better explain.
One of the most common “jerking around” sensations comes from the way gas prices fluctuate. The other day I had several errands to run, one of which was to fill the gas tank. Well, I passed several gas stations noting the price of each was reasonably low and decided to finish my running around and then fill up on the way home. Guess what? In that short time every gas station raised its price by about thirty cents a gallon.
Yep, the GODS (that’s the Global Oil Distribution System) had struck again. Just like all members of a flock of birds or a school of fish can simultaneously and suddenly change direction, every gas station, regardless of company affiliation, raised prices at the same time and to the exact same level. Kinda makes a guy want to use impolite words. Okay, moving on.
We take three newspapers: a locally published one for local news we don’t get elsewhere; a second published in a nearby large city for area and state news; and, The Wall Street Journal (arguably the best newspaper in the country) for national and international news. The subscription rates for both the local paper and the Journal have remained constant for some time, but the paper we rely on for area news has repeatedly raised its price in the past few years.
The most recent increase of about18 per cent pushed the subscription rate to about $140 more a year than I pay for the prestigious Wall Street Journal. What benefits have accrued from this and previous increases? The one most touted on TV ads is that newspaper subscribers now have access to five on-line electronic subscriptions to the paper – one to keep and four to give to anyone else they choose. Hey! I didn’t subscribe to any on-line version of the newspaper much less five – and I sure don’t want to pay for four other folks to get what amounts to a “free” on-line subscription!
I ordered a hard copy paper where I can scan an entire page at a glance, go directly to a “jump” page to read a continued article, and physically cut and save interesting articles – and besides reading the print on a small screen is difficult at best. If there were any suitable substitute for this newspaper I’d be gone in a heartbeat, but I guess I’ll just have to grit my teeth and accept this jerking around.
Ready for one more “f’r instance” as we used to say? Most everybody knows that cable service hereabouts has changed ownership recently amid great fanfare about how the “new” company will provide better service at great prices. Well, I just got my bill from the “new” company and found it has increased by about eight per cent over what I had been paying the “old” company. We hadn’t changed services – we have a “desktop” cable box for one TV, one small “converter” device for a second (no “premium” channels on either), and Internet.
I called the company for an explanation and was told I had been paying a “bundling” price with the “old” company and that the price I am now being charged was the best the “new” company could offer for the same service. I asked if I could speak with anyone else about my concern and was told I could be transferred to a supervisor.
I was put on hold and after a while the service rep told me the supervisor was busy with another customer but should be free shortly – and I got this same message several more times until I told the service rep my cell phone battery was running out. She asked for my phone number and said the supervisor would call me when free. Guess what? I’m still waiting for that call.
What really aggravates me were enclosures to my bill offering great low prices for various “bundles” – but the fine print said these prices were good only for new customers. Why would they send such offers to an established customer? Once again circumstances pretty well dictate I must grudgingly stay with this company, but I’m sure not a “happy camper.”
Well, I suppose this kind of “jerking around” is just part of life as it keeps showing up in different venues – but it sure is irritating, particularly when there’s not much we can do about it. At least that’s how it seems to me. Bill Taylor, a Greene County Daily columnist and area resident.
Bill Taylor is an area resident and Ham and may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.