Rus­sell Wanger­sky is all riled up. Find out why.

The point is a simple one. I know who my friends are – and cor­po­ra­tions are not my friends.

Cape Breton Post - - CAPE BRETON - Rus­sell Wanger­sky is TC Me­dia’s At­lantic re­gional colum­nist. He can be reached at rus­sell.wanger­sky@tc.tc , Twit­ter: @ Wanger­sky.

Hello com­pa­nies that I al­ready deal with: just a lit­tle note to say I don’t want ev­ery­thing to be a “push.”

Yes, yes, I know you’ve al­ready got me where you want me – since I’m al­ready a cus­tomer and you’ve got me on the phone or in your of­fice, you can lean on what you think of as our “re­la­tion­ship” to try and get me to sign up for some­thing new.

But I think I’m go­ing to start push­ing back. The truth is, I don’t re­ally like you enough for you to think we’re friends. What am I talk­ing about? A new credit card comes in the mail. All you have to do, it says, is dial a 1-800 num­ber to ac­ti­vate the card. Do it, please. Do it right away.

So I do what’s sug­gested. Punch in some num­bers, and away you go. But wait, no.

There’s a lit­tle de­lay while things get ac­ti­vated, and “while you’re wait­ing, here’s our new of­fer for credit card in­sur­ance – pen­nies a day for peace of mind.” No thanks – not in­ter­ested. “Well, we’re still wait­ing for activation, so let me tell you more …”

I know and you know that it takes no time at all to “ac­ti­vate” the card. It’s been done be­fore I even got to the in­sur­ance pitch. But since we’re wait­ing, and since your time has no value …

Or you go to the bank to han­dle the an­nual ins-and-outs of bank­ing in­for­ma­tion. Not a year goes by that there isn’t some­thing to sort out that needs a sig­na­ture and a trip to the branch. “But oh – since you’re here, we no­ticed from your transactions that you must be us­ing a dif­fer­ent bank’s credit card as your prin­ci­pal card. Well, we have a card that will …” I shake my head. I’ve writ­ten be­fore about the toll­gate of the gro­cery or hard­ware store, but it bears men­tion­ing again. I bris­tle in­side when, right there at the cash reg­is­ter, the cashier is forced to ask, “And will you be do­nat­ing a dol­lar for blind chil­dren/deaf pup­pies/much-needed med­i­cal equip­ment to­day?” Be­cause, be­hind you in line, you imag­ine you can feel the raw dis­dain for Scrooge-y McGreedy-pants when you say, “No thanks, not this time.” (I con­sole my­self for my hard-heart­ed­ness by imag­in­ing the great cor­po­rate bosses of gro­cery gov­er­nance to­tal­ing up the all the $1 and $2 dona­tions they get and say­ing “Well, this will be good for a great, big cor­po­rate char­i­ta­ble do­na­tion re­ceipt.”)

I can only imag­ine how the cashiers feel; they don’t get a choice about their scripted “ask” – it’s, sadly, a re­quire­ment of their job, and they will be spo­ken to by man­age­ment if they don’t ask, just like they can be writ­ten up for fail­ing to ask for your cus­tomer bonus card.

What a con­cept – peo­ple forced to ask you for money, while you’re forced to be ashamed for your stingi­ness, even if, away from the gro­cery store, you do­nate to plenty of causes.

The point is a simple one. I know who my friends are – and cor­po­ra­tions are not my friends. Don’t lean on the “re­la­tion­ship” that mar­ket­ing gu­rus talk about, be­cause the truth is, we re­ally don’t have one. At best, it can be de­fined as “be­nign tol­er­ance.”

I don’t want a “drink with that.” I don’t want an ap­ple pie. If I did, I’d ask for it.

Now, I know that I’m a cranky guy al­ready. I get that.

But re­mem­ber: I’m the guy who hates the Charmin “Blue Bears” toi­let pa­per ad­ver­tise­ments so much, that I change the chan­nel the mo­ment they come on – and I’ve sworn to never buy even one sin­gle prod­uct from Charmin, not even if they were the last cush­iony-soft toi­let pa­per square on the face of the Earth.

Don’t “push” me.

“I don’t want a “drink with that.” I don’t want an ap­ple pie. If I did, I’d ask for it.”

Rus­sell Wanger­sky East­ern Pas­sages

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