Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Just Trying to Help

I was an AOL subscriber once. Thanks to a lot of therapy, I can now admit that. I know it wasn't my fault. It was 1997 and I didn't know any better. I originally became interested in the Internet because I heard that you could see pictures of ladies' thingies and stuff. I thought AOL was the way to go because everyone was doing it. But I didn't know the dangers involved. Sure the chat rooms were fun (many marvel at the speed of my one-handed typing even today), but eventually the dirty feeling became too much.

Fortunately, back then AOL customer service representatives spoke down to you as if they were the chosen few, the elite AOL CSRs, chosen by providence to dispense or withhold access to that most holy of places, the AOL Universe. Really all you had to do was type one word out of place and they would threaten to cancel your account anyway (at which point subscribers would normally beg--NO PLEASE, I'll give you my first born! Anything! Even my Star Wars characters figurine collection! Just don't cancel my account!). So, because they didn't care so much about retention back then, it was easy for me to quit.

Now, apparently, things are different. AOL is on the rocks and the dwindling number of people willing to be associated with what is essentially the tenement slums of the Internet (actually, I think myspace is stealing even that title from them) is driving them to change their tune and try hard to prevent people from leaving.

For those who are ready to quit using AOL, here is a list of reasons/motivations you can use to explain your actions to the AOL customer service representative, and thereby minimize the hassle he or she has been ordered to give you:

11. Gouged out eyes after seeing the cat that chased a bear up a tree for the millionth time.

10. Would like to stop being associated with the largest group of eternal-newbies on the Web.

9. No longer accept email.

8. Joined a mega-church that has an exclusive deal with Comcast.

7. A close family member was killed by an avalanche of AOL CDs when she opened her P.O. box after a short vacation.

6. Terrified of being among the last to leave the sinking ship.

5. Don't want to be around when AOL finally goes belly-up in a ditch off the Information Superhighway.

4. Never liked Sleepless in Seattle anyway.

3. Have run out of patience with obstructive customer service representatives.

2. Have decided the Internet is the work of Satan and will be devoting life to making it stop.

1. Can no longer live with the shame of being an AOL subscriber.

Good luck!


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3:31 AM  

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