Advertising We Can Believe In

I’m a capitalist.  I love my country.

But, yesterday I was kicked in the nuts twice by greedy corporations while the Government cheered them on.

Unlike others who might adopt a “woe is me” ‘tude, and sit around at the local barber shop bemoaning how America is no longer like it never really was, I will deal with this like a mature, well-adjusted adult…

…by making fun of the corporations by using their own publicity against them.

As Rod Serling used to say, submitted for your approval:

Case No. 1:  The Red Shirt Treatment

Independent Health is a large health insurance carrier here in Western New York.  They have a massive advertising campaign featuring close-up photos of ordinary customers.  I swear you can make out every single pore in their overly-earnest faces.

As Jerry Seinfeld, once memorably asked: “Who are these people?”

You get it.  They are loyal Independent Health customers who talk about some health crisis they or a close family member have faced.  The message of the ad is: I didn’t have to worry about who was going to pay the bill.  Independent Health just picked up the tab.

How heart-warming!

How horse shit!

Rather than simply deride it, The Major has created his own ad:

Yes.  They.  Did.

And it gets worse → While I was wrapped up in the IH appeal process, the surgeon (kind-hearted lover of humanity that he is) sent the matter to a debt collector.  Dr. Albert Schweitzer, it’s time to turn you over in your grave now.  That’s it, just give me a little roll.

I contacted the debt collector with the thought of negotiating this thing.  I do this for a living.  I figured “some money is better than no money.”  The debt collector will compromise.

I was greeted with: “I’m sorry.  University Surgical Associates has specifically instructed us not to settle any case less than $500.  If you don’t pay, this delinquency will be sent to the credit bureaus.”

This is great.

IH’s catchy phrase is The Red Shirt Treatment.  I suppose this implies a special level of concern and white-glove handling of its precious customers.

Independent Health denied our appeal.

More like The Red Ass Treatment based upon their repeated kicks to that part of my anatomy.

Case No. 2: Good Banking Is Good Citizenship

In 2009, I helped a friend out by serving as the treasurer on his political campaign.  Let’s just say that treasury detail is not my strong suit.

The campaign ended well.  My buddy got elected to the town board.  No one went to jail for campaign finance fraud…yet.

I opened the campaign’s bank account at Citizen’s Bank located in a local supermarket.  The thought was that they would feature the most customer-friendly hours.

Citizen’s schtick is that they are not like those other cold, heartless banks — they are just like you and me.

Isn’t that nice?

And how about this one:Nice safe, trustworthy banks, right?  You put your money into them and they safeguard it for you.  Much better than that nasty, old mattress, aren’t they?

Well, not so much.

After the campaign, we left $30 in the account.  We wanted to keep it open so that if my friend ever ran for office again, we would have an account ready and not have to go through the paperwork a second time.

We left the account open for more than one frickin’ year.  The money was untouched.

Here’s what the account statement looked like in November 2010:That works.  My money’s still there.  I’m not asking for a lollipop.

Two days ago, I got a notice from friendly Citizen’s Bank that my account was in default, and I owed them $57.

When I called the next day, I was advised that there was a mistake.  I didn’t owe 57 bones.  I owed $71.

However, out of the kindness of their hearts, they waved some of the fees.  I now owed a mere $59.91.

I’m not the greatest lawyer.  But, I can look up the law.  Turns out that our government recently passed new legislation allowing banks to zero out customers’ small account and then quickly run up “deficient funds” charges against their customers.

I pointed out the fundamental injustice of taking my $30 away and then charging me twice as much for the privilege.

I then asked the Citizen’s Bank lady how she felt about this personally.

“Well, Sir,” she responded hesitantly.  “I really am not allowed to say.”

“Why not,” I inquired.  “Citizen’s Bank will take your paycheck and then charge you twice that amount?”

I could literally hear her befuddlement through the phone.

“Alright,” I said, letting her off the hook.  “Let’s change the subject.  I want you to consider a new career.  One which does not involve a gradual crushing of small parts of your soul each time you handle a call like this one.  What do you thing about that?”

I got nothing back from her.

Here’s my favorite Citizen’s ad:

Let’s change this slightly:

ONE MAN’S SAVINGS IS ANOTHER BANK’S OPPORTUNITY TO LOOT THE ACCOUNT AND THEN CHARGE THE MAN TWICE THAT SUM WHILE THE GOVERNMENT SAYS “OKAY”

That sounds about right.

Even though I have no hair, can someone please direct me to the local barber shop?  I got some more gripin’ to do.

— The Major

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2 responses to this post.

  1. you are too nice.

    Reply

  2. Posted by Randy Zajonczkoski on May 3, 2011 at 11:48 am

    They use to tout their “totally free checking” and now they charge $4.99/month if you don’t have enough activity on your account. Ridiculous! I have 3 accounts with them and I’m thinking about closing them all.

    Reply

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