Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Corporate Kittys

Previously in this blog, I have rated bothersome companies on a Schizophrenic Cat Index (SCI). When I was studying psychology so many years ago, multiple psychology books had a chart that showed the descent into schizophrenia of the artist Lous Wain known for his beautiful cat art. Many people who have taken at least one psychology class may have come across these striking pictures that serve to illustrate his worsening disorder. I had been using a 4 cat chart to rate companies but a recent development made me decide to expand to an 8 cat chart. Honestly, I’m cognizant of the fact that you are lost by now so please don’t think, no matter how enticing it may be, that the chart describes my own schizophrenia (though level 2 has some relevance to the way I feel perhaps... :) ). The new expanded chart, level numbers added by me, is illustrated below:

AT&T was rated pretty high on the old 4 cat chart but now they have prompted me to add more levels to include their most recent behavior. Every month that I had service with AT&T (phone and Internet) they sent me a letter which was “signed” by the head of some department, perhaps the odd letters department or something, I can't remember. It would always ignore the fact that I had the Internet through AT&T and the letter would go on to say they had recently analyzed my bill and had this great plan which would save me money. All the plans were variations on telephone-only service (without Internet bundling) and all cost substantially more money than I was paying for that part of my bill. In addition to these letters, that had an employee analyzing my bill each and every month to save me money, were other mailings or propositions for me to become a customer. I was already a customer, of course, one that was thoroughly analyzed after years of monthly personal attention. Yes, this was pretty odd behavior… and then there were the even more annoying times in which I called with a problem and was switched back and forth between representatives. It always took at least 3 representatives and sometimes as many as 6. In the dire cases, I would be told by one department that another department was responsible, only to be told by this other department that the previous one was responsible. Again, these type of things happened on a consistent basis. My bills were often incorrect for 3 or more iterations, so… being a cheapskate I called for each error.

But… the real odd behavior came three months after terminating my services with AT&T. In my mailbox was a letter stating my credit card on file was about to expire and that I needed to update it. I thought for a moment. Should I call and ask why they had kept my credit card in their files three months after I was no longer a customer? Should I call and confront them with their odd behavior and suggest a therapist? Finally, I decided that since the card was about to expire, well, they wouldn’t really have it anyway. And… I think I need to keep a distance from Cat Level 6 corporations.

Meanwhile, the cable satellite guy came the next day to hook up my satellite so I could leave Charter Cable television behind in the dust. Three awful months of Charter Cable’s dismal DVR had finally worn thin. The satellite guy took 5 ½ hours to do the job even though there was already a dish on my roof that had been working 3 months ago. Nothing worked for the guy. His equipment wasn't charged in two separate instances. He called in to the office and asked questions that were simplistically stated at best. Even when he eventually left my house, my Internet was not working. I fixed it myself a few minutes after he left. He left an extra pole on my roof because he couldn't get it off from the old satellite dish which he had to discard. I have nicknamed the odd looking array the "factory on my roof." It was a sad experience but far better than a previous satellite guy that actually asked me for a beer and then a six pack, asked if my wife had any sisters and then when he came back later to fix something he had gotten wrong, behaved even more oddly. Dish still has a favorable rating of Cat Level 1 however, because it’s not the corporation that causes problems, it’s the companies they contract to for installation. And the contractors are more like substance abusers than schizophrenics.

Charter Cable, rates Cat Level 4. Their bill is amazingly odd. It’s like an accountant was hired to set up the bill so that only he could read it after a few cups of coffee. The secret to their pricing is that there is always a deal to be had. They pretend to be researching the “deals in your area” but the deal is always 10 dollars less than you would have paid. Complain about the DVR, get 10 dollars off. When I cut their television sevice, I was still keeping their telephone and their Internet (think about it, my other choice was AT&T). I called one last time (I hoped) and was given one price by one person and another by a different person later when it came time to commit. I asked to speak to a supervisor and was told there was “no way” the supervisor would quote any different prices to me. Supervisor: 10 dollars off, which happened to be the price I was given by the first person in the loop. But she was only going to give it to me for 6 months. I need to call back in 6 months to get someone else to knock 10 dollars off, I guess.

Cats actually get a form of schizophrenia called Feline Hyperasthesia which I found here.

Wait, they are offering 75 dollars as a gift!  Not to me!  Ok, Dish is now officially Level 2. Then look at the eyes of that cat that the "webmeister" put at the top of the website. I'm a little concerned.

Then there was this story making the rounds, before we collectively had really bad economic things to worry about, that humans can get schizophrenia from cats: http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/OnCall/story?id=1299317 which makes a lot of sense when you think of the artist who loved cats and his paintings.

I’m a little frightened now, I might be heading towards level 3 myself!

But lest you think that I have been unfairly anthropomorphizing corporations, Mitt Romney's recent remarks defend me:  "Corporations are people, my friend."

This certainly explains why corporations have freedom of speech through bribery donations to candidates but doesn't explain why many flesh and blood types of humans weren't bailed out of their financial problems. Actually, maybe Mitt should amend that statement and say: "Corporations are very important people, my loser friend."


Please note: while this post is written in jest, schizophrenia and other brain disorders are really no laughing matter. Please visit http://www.narsad.org/ if you want to learn more about the stigma of mental disorders and the way you can help.