Saturday, November 24, 2007

I'd like to teach the world to whine

We went on a lightning holiday to western Massachusetts and I came back with three tiny little issues to carp about.

  1. Where's my money, Sprint/Nextel? I thought I'd be prudent and rotate out the Sprint phone card that I kept with the jump bag I prepared last summer. The idea was to use it to call my parents in California and avoid the extortionate rates commonly charged by the motel we were staying at. Neither the card nor the folder it was attached to had any date on it, but deep in the fine print was a line about how the card expires "15 months from the date of purchase/activation." When I input the number on the card, a synthesized voice informed me that the account I used was "invalid," so I called up the Customer Service number about this. I was prepared to pay some kind of fee or other in order to recoup some of the minutes I thought I'd bought, or at least be told how I could recharge the thing with more minutes, even at a rate just about as exorbitant as the room phone rate. Instead, I got the voice of a rep nearly as cold as the computer voice, informing me that the number was not in the computer and there was no provision for refund.
    I know the Nextel merger was a costly one, but would it really have been too much to expect them to keep the number on record a month or two longer, if only in hopes of extracting more money out of your consumer? Was it so important to take my $20 and run with it with such unseemly haste? Doesn't it actually make good business sense to put an expiration date on the product if only to encourage a repeat sale when the time draws near? But no, the unfeeling telecom sees fit to do none of these things, and for that they deserve my scorn and rancor, now and for a long time to come.
    In the same vein, only with regard to gift cards, I point out the public service announcement: Don't Give Your Friends Fees this Holiday Season!

  2. We went out to the movies Thanksgiving evening, and as our group could not reach a consensus choice, split according to gender, the ladies seeing the latest Disney movie and us guys opting for medieval fare.
    Please note, kids, the book is different.
    I give the moviemakers credit for including the side stories about Beowulf's swimming-race early on (gory though the depiction of it was), and didn't even find too much to object to with regard to the repurposing of Grendel's mom which made the final climactic battle a struggle between father and son. The thing I did not much care for was the way Zemeckis mistrusted the audience to pick up the bit of foreshadowing regarding the proper way to dispatch a dragon: the B-man is helped out by having the weak spot picked out in vivid color, as if it were made of the stuff of mood rings perhaps, a "plot point" which by all rights ought to have been labeled "break glass in case of dramatic climax," then having the old hero reach in to fool with his offspring's viscera in a way that reminded me to much of this:

    So actually, that part's not like the original poem. But maybe if this does well at the box office, they'll do a cinematic version of The Elder Edda.

    Edited to add: I think this happy fellow has the right idea - don't go into battle with a sword that's too damn short.

  3. I picked up this flyer for a local eating establishment in the motel lobby.

    Whichever you prefer
    Chinese Food to Take Out or Sit In
    Thanks, think I'll pass.

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