|****After a summer of doing stuff other than reading my mail and a two-week vacation up the East Coast my stack of magazines has reached a new and higher level of teetering that, as of yet, has yet to tip over but I fear the next one placed on top will be the tipping point.****
Read on to see how it all started:
As many of you know, I tend to get real excited about something and then go way overboard with it. Whether it's discovering a new dish that I've eaten somewhere and then tried to replicate at home, over, and over and over again until I am completely sick of it. (The latest flavor of the month was a ham and cheddar potato casserole that I've eaten about six times in the last two weeks. Now, I don't even want to eat a potato, which for me is highly unusual.) Or, it could be reading about an event such as an upcoming 10K road race that I want to train for (Okay, maybe not), but you get the drift.
My obsession this time around is magazine subscriptions. It all started a few years ago when my niece sold subscriptions to raise money for her school. I purchased two or three like any good aunt would do and then got trapped. Yep, you know what happens when you get on some company's list: they send you solicitation after solicitation after solicitation and they won't stop. One day, I actually opened (my bad) a letter and read the offer: get two years of Vogue magazine for only $10. What a deal! I've never subscribed to it before, nor have I even looked at one, so why not try it? And that's what I did.
Well, that subscription led to more solicitations and now I have a stack of magazines approaching two feet high that I haven't even turned a page in. (I'm sure the publishers love me and I'm definitely sure the mailman doesn't.)
Anyhow, everything wasn't too bad until I got my Publisher's Clearing House official entry. I'm sure I read somewhere that a purchase isn't necessary to win but I also think I read somewhere else that making a purchase (buying magazines) might definitely help. And talk about deals: 2-for-1 deals, multi-year deals, buy a product and get a lifetime subscription. Man, my eyes had glazed over before I stopped pasting those little stickers to the official entry form--I don't know which magazines I selected, but I'm sure it was 4 or 5.
A few weeks later I received an invoice from Publisher's Clearing House and Vanity Fair on the same day. The bill from Publisher's was for $75-something and the Vanity Fair was for $16-something.
Hmm. Am I being double-billed?
Of course, I didn't write down the magazines that I bought from Publisher's Clearing House and I don't remember anything about Vanity Fair but that doesn't mean that I didn't. (My memory seems to be lost somewhere in the past these days.)
The invoice had an 800-number to call for any questions and after multiple prompts for passwords, credit card info, my shoe-size and my high school mascot's name I found myself talking to a live person.
I'm sure Publisher's Clearing House receives all sorts of weirdo and wacky phone calls and mine turned out to be no exception:
Publisher's Clearing House (PCH): "Hello, this is Ambrosia. How may I help you?"
MAFW: "Hey, I have a question about an invoice I received?"
PCH: "Okay, not a problem. Do you have the customer order number?"
MAFW: "Yes, it's 24567palm5671985."
PCH: "Could you repeat that, please? I'm showing one letter missing."
MAFW: "Uh, okay. it's 24567palme5671985."
PCH: "Okay, got it. Can you give me the last four digits of your credit card for verification?"
MAFW: "Hold on. I gotta go get it."
PCH: "That's fine, I'll wait."
MAFW: "It's 2837."
PCH: "Okay, got it. Now, could you please tell me your high school mascot for verification?"
MAFW: "Sure, it was a Green Devil."
PCH: "I'm sorry. That's not the information you entered onto your form for security purposes. Could it be something else?"
MAFW: "Hmm, not a Green Devil? Okay, try a Devilish Darling? And my shoe size is 10."
PCH: "Okay, that got it. I didn't need the shoe size, though." (No sense of humor.) "What can I help you with today?"
MAFW: "I received an invoice from you guys and I also received a bill from Vanity Fair. Am I being double-billed?"
PCH: "I'm sorry. I don't understand the question."
MAFW: "Why did you guys send me two separate bills? I thought I was supposed to pay directly to PCH and not worry about any other invoices."
PCH: "Ma'am, according to my records we only sent you one invoice and I don't know anything about the other bill?"
MAFW: "Uh, why not?"
PCH: "Why not, what?"
MAFW: "Why don't you know about the Vanity Fair bill?"
PCH: "Ma'am, Publisher's Clearing House doesn't offer that magazine."
PCH: "Anything else I can help you with? If not, thanks and I hope you win the million dollars!"
Me too, because at the rate I'm going, I'm gonna need a million bucks to pay for all of these magazines and a million hours to read them.