Please Hold: The Next Representative Will Be With You Shortly

I find few things as frustrating as dealing with customer service representatives. Generally, I consider myself a patient person. Slow waitstaff and inefficient baristas are only a mild irritant, like seasonal allergies or when my cat knocks over a full glass of water off my bedside table. I’m effusively polite with those in the service industry, because I remember what it was like to serve demanding customers who want both soy milk and half and half in their iced coffees. I tip well, I smile. But, when it comes to customer service representatives, generally, I’m a giant asshole.

Hey, Wait, I’ve Got a New Complaint

I am, perhaps to my own detriment, a person who doesn’t complain very often.

Checking the Transactions

Last night, I went through my credit card transactions (as I like to do on weekly basis), and noticed that on Oct. 17, I was charged $8 by Delta in Atlanta, Georgia. That was this last Friday, and I was here, in New York, eating a fried chicken sandwich in Brooklyn at the time; the charge for the sandwich appeared next to it.

Quitting in a Blaze of Glory, NYC Waitress Edition

How the Other Half Lives

While I was in the middle of writing a long meditation on the moral obligations of the rich, I received the following email…

There’s Probably No Hope for Consumers Who Aren’t Filthy Rich

My recent interactions with my former bank have prompted me to think about the feedback loop between consumers and the companies that squeeze profit from serve them. We like to think that when companies do something stupid or abusive, market competition will allow us to express our ire by taking our hard-earned dollars somewhere else. But what happens when that just doesn’t work? (Spoiler: it mostly never works. We just get screwed and keep coming back for more.)

Dear Bank: I’m Breaking Up With You

Dear Marie:

It was with mixed emotions that I read your letter, in which you wrote that Liberty Bank values its relationship with me. I must confess to some serious misgivings concerning that relationship and the bank’s true feelings.

Too Busy Counting Their Money to Care That You Hate Them

Think about the companies you love to hate: cable TV providers, cellphone carriers. It turns out that some of the most-hated companies out there don’t care that you hate them because they’re too busy going home to count all the money they’re making.

My Credit Card Bill Is Due Tomorrow And I Don’t Have Money, Help!

So, I basically built up a ridiculously amount of credit card debt when I moved to the city a few years ago and had to intern for six months earning next to nothing. I’ve been sloooowly paying it all down, but I have a credit card payment of $250ish due, well, tomorrow, and I don’t have enough money to pay it.

Scan and Bag Your Own vs. A Real Person

Farhad Manjoo, formerly of Slate (his last post there was about how men should wear makeup) is now at the Wall Street Journal, and he writes about how robots and computers have yet to take over the low-wage job of the grocery cashier.