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Customer Service in the Twilight Zone


I just had the most unusual conversation with a customer service rep. I was calling to ask about a magazine subscription that I didn’t remember making. I had recently been getting “bills” from the mag but wasn’t sure if they were really bills due to typical marketing campaigns which elude to a balance owed, but it’s really just getting you to subscribe. More importantly, when I called the customer service number I was greeted by an automated system. I provided my account number and it responded with a list of available information.

Just to be sure, I verified my current subscription status. And wouldn’t you know that even the automated system gives a “ball-park” answer: “With the payment of $10, your subscription will expire with the last issue being received in July, 2012.” What the hell? Can’t the automated system just tell it to me straight? So I asked to be transferred to a live human. The following exchange ensued:

Jane: Hi, my name is Jane. How can I help you?

Me: I’ve been receiving bills for a subscription I don’t recall asking for.

Jane: This subscription was on auto-renewal and you were being billed for the coming year.

Me: Oh, could you cancel that for me?

Jane: Sure.

I wait for her to do whatever it is reps usually do when you’re about to cancel your account. Preparing to be transferred to retention.

Jane: Was there anything else?


Me: Um…. No.

Jane: Great. Thanks for calling.

Me: Thanks. Bye.

No questions why I’m cancelling. No sympathy. No verifying my certainty. No last minute sales pitch. I’m not certain whether to feel unappreciated or enthusiastic.