Yesterday I caught Mom trying to make sense of a Mastercard invoice she got in the daily mail. What's this deal, I wondered, so I offered her some help in deciphering the cryptic missive.
It turns out that Mom no longer wanted this particular Mastercard as she never used it, so she cut the card up and threw away the pieces, then called the bank and closed the account. Simple, right? Well, for one thing Mom has been paying our neighbor to use the neighbor's refuse cans for garbage collection as there was very little to pick up from Mom's house. So that's where the pieces went - into the neighbor's garbage can. Now I see on the invoice that there's a $10.00 fee to reissue a new card, which Mom says she never authorized. Why should she, right? Then there are two other line items that are some kind of funky automatic billing system. One is TLG Shoppers, which neither of us has ever heard of. After a little sleuthing it turns out that this is actually Affinion Group , which according to Wikipedia:
Affinion Group is an affinity marketing company in Stamford, Connecticut, composed of subsidiaries known as Trilegiant Corporation (TLG), Progeny Marketing Innovations, Affinion International, Affinion Loyalty Group, Affinion Security Center.The list of complaints against these bozos is long enough to attract the attention of the legal departments of several State governments who have either regulated or closed their operations. I got their customer service department on the phone and explained that Mom is 87 years old and never uses the Internet. I wanted the membership stopped and a full refund of all charges to date. The monkey didn't argue, he just apologized and gave me a FAX number and described the format of the FAX to use. We'll see what happens.
Then there's the next line item, which is another shopping scam with automatic billing. This one is SEM Budget Savers, AKA Budges Savers Online. Their angle is that they give you something for the low price of $25 per month. I called and explained what was going on, and the customer service monkey folded immediately and is sending us a refund form.
Then I called the bank and performed that time honored tradition of raising hell, but I don't really think I got anywhere. It turns out that someone with Mom's social security number re-opened the account and that special someone is free to do it again.
My dear mother is guileless. She has no larceny in her heart, and I wouldn't have her any other way. The trouble is that Mom does not really realize that there are bad people in this world. Lot's of 'em. And those people want Mom's money. All of it. They don't care that Mom might be destitute, or that she's incapable of using their service or anything of the sort.
Me, I'm not like that.
The neighbor, by the bye, fortuitously, just by the strangest coincidence has a daughter of around 35 years of age who lives in the attached mother-in-law house with (all you LE types have one second to make an accurate guess just who or what this tattooed good for nothing lives with) with a somewhat younger boyfriend who can't seem to find a job. And wouldn't you just know, his unemployment ran out six months back, including all the extensions granted by the Ayatollah Obama's dialing for dollars team.
So I, being the suspicious, racially prejudiced, arrogant, hardhearted, incorrigible whiskey guzzling white middle aged male that I am, I opined to Mom that the trailer trash next door raided her garbage can and swiped the card pieces along with a few other items, then politely asked the monkey at customer service to issue a new card. I'm just wondering what else they filched out of the mailbox or the trash besides a new credit card. Oh well. We shall see.
Now I have to compose five notes of deepest sympathy for Centenarian's family. Main Lady, Flopsy, Mopsy, Cottontail and Ding Bat. Everything I write seems inadequate, trite and full of clichés. Funeral services are Saturday, and that's going to be a solid fiasco from the get-go, what with the entire family in town and under stress. I just hope there's a few Xanax pills left over to calm everyone down a few notches.
I'm saving the best for last.
Many years back Main Lady got married (three little darlings - natch, right?) to the Mad Arab, who I will think up a suitable name for later on. Something involving camels and unnatural acts. By the time I started parking my size nines under Main Lady's bed, she'd been long divorced, but the Mad Arab was still raising serious hell with her and her three little darlings. The man was abusive and had Main Lady terrorized, threatening to shoot her, her children and then himself. The usual, but this was when they were still married. Main Lady thinks he's completely out of the family picture, but I don't believe anyone's bothered to tell him that. So I'm just waiting for that little camel jockey to show up at the funeral and start something.
Well, it's about time to get some real work done. Thanks for reading.