Thursday, September 11, 2008

Conspiracy Theories Abound.

No, not about her again.

I used to be reasonably trusting, but I seem to have grown a shell of cynical mistrust. I have vague, unformed suspicions. I go “hmmm”.

Our neighborhood was in chaos about a month ago, because Verizon was digging to install new FIOS lines. Now, I’m convinced that my DSL connection is far slower than it was before. Not only that, but I automatically assume that this is a deliberate plot by Verizon to force us to upgrade to FIOS. I have no proof of this. I don’t even know if FIOS is that much more expensive than DSL. In fact, I don’t even know what I pay for DSL! My husband always pays that one. Yet I remain convinced that I am the unwitting center of a nefarious scheme.

My iPod’s battery is dead. I can still play music when it’s in my speaker/docking thingy, but battery power depletes within five minutes when I take it walking. How does a layperson like myself know that this is a battery malfunction? The screen displays a handy “battery power is lost” message. So after my third or fourth walk without music, I mentioned to my husband that my battery was dead, and he took it to the Apple store for me to have the battery replaced. He tells one of the Apple employees that he needs a new battery. “Sure”, she says, “let me make an appointment for you with the Genius. "
“No”, says K, “I don’t need to see anyone. I just need the battery changed”.
“Well, it doesn’t work that way. We take appointments, and the Genius does a complete check. See, it might not be the battery, there might be something else wrong, or you might need a new one, in which case we offer 10% off!”
“No”, says K, “I don’t need a diagnostic workup, and I don’t want a new one. Can someone just change the battery?”
“Well, the Genius really needs to handle any sort of issue with a product.”
“OK, when’s Robert Oppenheimer going to be here?” (he didn’t really say “Robert Oppenheimer”. I just thought it would be funny if he had.)
“He’ll be here tomorrow! I can make an appointment for you!”
“Tomorrow’s not good for me. Can’t someone just change the battery?”
No, they couldn’t. Out of the question. The Genius must be consulted, and only the Genius can make battery-related decisions. I’d have thrown a big hissy fit at them, but K was on his way home from work, still carrying a gun, and he avoids any kind of confrontation when he’s wearing his gun, lest he be accused of police intimidation. So, no battery for me, since I haven’t had time to go back and wait for Copernicus or Madame Curie. When I do, I’ll be on defcon five alert, since I just know that this whole thing is just a racket and that the Genius will use highly-sophisticated subliminal techniques to convince me that I do in fact need a new iPod. Which I don’t.

My company is closing down at the end of the year. We attended a meeting yesterday hosted by our 401K plan provider, who explained that the plan will shut down, and that we’ll have a few months to decide, and that here are some options for where we can put our money. I’m looking for the mattress option. I want my big wad of cash, and a safe deposit box, or maybe a Port Authority locker. How do I know that investment advisors A, B, and C aren’t going to go Lehman with my money? Am I supposed to trust AmeriProsperitas or SecuriAbunda or whatever they’re called with my entire life’s savings?

I think it’s spreading. My children were playing in our front yard with some friends. 6 little boys on scooters and skateboards and a wagon, flying down our driveway as fast as they could into the street, where a friend (and mother of one of the boys) and I were standing on car patrol.
“Nice”, she said, pointing to the gashes in my front lawn. “I see Verizon did the same excellent job fixing your grass that they did at our house.”
“I know”, I said, “they threw some grass seed over their shoulders and screeched out of here like they were being chased.”
“They suck”, she said. “Our DSL has been moving at the speed of plate tectonics. I’m convinced that they’re doing it on purpose, to force us to upgrade to FIOS”.

Hmmm.

26 comments:

3carnations said...

Don't cash out your 401k. I don't know if you were joking about that or not, but then you pay taxes on it before you need to. I would suggest an IRA.

Matt said...

CDP, I don't know about your particular Apple store, maybe there really is a guy named Genius, but if you log onto iTunes now they just launched a new program called Genius. Now, I don't know what it does but it sounds like the guy was pretty firm about the Genius and that sounds like it could be that they have to use the new software.

You might want to give it a try and see what happens. Maybe you can print the diagnostic report and then take that to the store and skip the appointment with the genius.

Peace.

Matt
www.idealcrap.com

enc said...

Vindication!

I love what your neighbor said.

It feels a little like planned obsolescence, doesn't it?

Matty Boy said...

Corporations wouldn't screw customers just to sell them new overpriced crap. That's just crazy talk.

How's your new HDTV working out?

FranIAm said...

Oh - Genius, I know him. He is the one that takes awhile to study your iPod and then sell you something.

Sheesh- no wonder he wasn't there that day, he was here taking our money.

As for the 401K, I say put it in a mattress, taxes be damned. John McCain is going to cancel all those dang taxes anyway, right?!

CDP said...

3carn--I was definitely kidding; I even advise people against taking loans from their 401K accounts. I probably will put it into an IRA. I have one, but it's with a company that had some accounting irregularities...not sure I want to hand over any more of my money to them!

Matt--thanks! I'll look into that.

enc--EXACTLY! You totally get it.

Matty--yeah, crazy talk! I'm just another grassy knoll nut in a tinfoil helmet. Speaking of which, HD is just an electronic means of mind control, so be sure you're wearing yours.

Fran--I'm leaning toward the Port Authority locker. I'll let you know what I decide.

DCup said...

I'm dying here! I can here you do your "hmmmm." I can just hear it.

Can you hear me hmmmmming with you?

pistols at dawn said...

I feel that people who like conspiracy theories are just people who like fiction and hate doing more than five minutes of research.

Whiskeymarie said...

They're all out to screw us. All of them.
That's my theory and I'm sticking to it.

CDP said...

Dcup--tee hee. There's going to be a part 2 to this one, just wait...

Pistols--I resemble that remark

WM--unlike Mr. At Dawn, YOU know what's happening. YOU know what time it is.

Falwless said...

I wouldn't call you cynical. I would call you a smart consumer. And I would also call you sugartits, if you'd let me.

CDP said...

Falwless--my son is asking me right now what I'm laughing at. "Never mind" is the only answer I can summon.

susan said...

I just mentioned your i-pod problem to my resident genius who told me the batteries are soldered into the unit. They were not designed with pop-out replaceable components - like batteries. Now I just have to wait for mine to come up with that message.. bummer.

Sorry to hear about your company closing down. I understand your problem with deciding where to put the savings. How close are you to a foreign country whose banks you trust? Hmmmm?

CDP said...

Susan--I know, isn't that just wrong? So now you're forced to go to them to change a silly battery, at which point they immediately try to sell you a new product.

Re my company, thanks. It was acquired and the good thing is that the company that bought us has been extremely generous with severance and retention payments, so I'll have a nice cushion when I go. But I've been there a long time, so I'm not looking forward to the job hunting process!

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