Tuesday, January 15, 2013

I can .Splain, Lucy. . .

  Talk about being left just wondering.  And how about trying to follow what will not stop wandering.  And, of course when there is no attempt at follow up the following day.  OR the next.  Well, there's simply no excuse for poor manners.  Can't even begin to think of how you, dear reader, felt - if, in fact, you've actually returned and are reading this.

       That's how it must be, you see, when we enter the world of the clandestine; when the waters of bewilder overtake the solid ground of 'but-of-course' and drivel decomposes further into the dung of codified mush.  It was rough going at this end of the quill as well.  So accustomed had my literary auricle become to 'snappy repartee', the format/content of that last outing sent those tiniest of marrowed sculpture top-spinning in and around their normally shell-like, pink and white tunneled nest to the point of near 'heave' while tumbling uncontrollably down, down into a hole SO like that of little Alice.

       And now for some semblance of analysis; some sense of nonsense.  (I daresay - even though I've not yet earned the right to be so bold - it was only in hindsight, with its blinding clarity, that the genesis of the entirety - "One Mo' Notch in Life's Gun of Experience" - (should I be asked to give it identity although I'd certainly understand were I asked not to give it 'ink' at all) became understandable as a complete episode with a beginning, middle and end.  As (your) luck would have it, I've elected to jump in at the beginning.

      Several months ago, before our national elections coupled with our usual over-hype of the rushin' atcha 'holiday season', I was a regular online shopping dervish - in a number of categories so large, a tally board of sorts was needed.  Now, in my defense I must say that this 'time of year' sans the added garni of major elections and holidays is always a-wash in family observances.  Birthdays, marriages, religious as well as sports 'hot-lights' abound in succession and converge in their cacophony of cash register bells.     

       To avoid the rush, I generally begin Christmas shopping - for the Grand peeps - during the summer months when the focus is on outdoor, wet and colorful activities, a genre in which I am rarely a participant.  This Summer, alas, was a sticky and painful veritable 'boot camp' for yours truly with more than a soupcon of 'fry' but nary a 'Frye' in the picture.  In my hungry quest to heal the so-recently surgically re-built spine I'd snatched up in Pittsburgh, I embarked on my 'continued-on-the-next-page' rehabilitative essay on Stride with Prejudice, amusing myself along the way with pithy mental commentary on neighborhood life - some of which we shared; some I didn't dare - such that the rigors of rehab took on a 'She Snoops to Conquer' tenor.

       SO, by the time the scenery changed to falling leaves and toppling podia mis-handlers, I was, along with the hoards of publicly aware/civically aghast brethren, embroiled in the hoopla of selection/election/detection/uglification scenarios abounding.  My first online shopping misadventure occurred in this setting.  I had ordered and remitted payment electronically and watched/enjoyed the so-acquired CD, then read/lost composure over my bank statement purporting to reflect this activity. 

       Therapeutically, I used the 'shoeleather express' - our bank branch is close to the neighborhood and en route seemed to rival passing rose branches in anticipatory self-flagellation.  Armed with my scorched statement, I entered, crossing the cool marble with surprising stealth - secondary to tennis shoes as the true 'hot-footing' of my gait would have set off alarms.  And then the calm, ever-welcoming face of bank-exec, Fran.  The lady could provide quietude and peace to the cumulative tension electrifying an entire Summer of Kansas storms and tornadoes.

       She quickly noted the additional Ninety-Eight Dollar per month (!!!) charge attendant to the cost of the CD.  Apparently I was not the first to be duped by this scam and with ONE phone call she discreetly made it 'disappear'.  But THEN.  Dear Fran asked, gently - as one would speak to a patient who, back in the early sixties, had just been shot with a volt or two of electro-cranial-shock therapy, "What's the story on this one?"  My eyes followed her indicating, manicured fingertip to numbers that seemed to have been extracted from a fortune cookie - in their native symbols.  "SEOProfiler - 99 (USD) per month".

       MIND:  "How could I . . .", "Who or what is SEO. . .". "Ninety-nine . . .!"  Then, aloud, "Gee, Fran, I didn't even see that one.  I don't believe I've ever h-heard of th-th-that company."  (PAUSE)"Who-are-these-people??!" 
"I think we'll just issue a new debit card here.  Then there will be no number to which fees like these can be charged."
"Right.  And meanwhile, my account will be credited back, right?"
"We'll contact the company first.  Sometimes they trade under different names and . . ."
"Fran, there's no way I committed - knowingly - to paying Anyone ninety-nine dollars a month."

       Now all of THAT happiness took place just after Thanksgiving.  In the interim, there was a visiting/live-in family guest through early December, Christmas itself - with its joyous revelry, familiar/comforting aromas, excited/giggling little ones and then the New Year which brought hopeful traditions, wonderful news of yet another grandchild on the way and a business letter-sized envelope from the bank - over-stuffed with seventeen pages of material related to the still-mysterious "99.00 (USD) per month" automatic draw from my checking account.  No "Cheers!"

       The cover letter, its signatory a stranger to me from " Card Services", informed me that I was to inspect the enclosed "Sales Receipts", and, if the transactions were valid, call the number included, and if they were not, to remit a statement to the bank which included an explanation of how SEOProfiler acquired my address and telephone numbers -  by January 11, 2013 or the payments would be made from my account to "Mystery Company".  I called Fran.  No return call.  Exterior - 'business-as-usual.'

       Interior - (Primal scream) - then determination.  I would remain calm - the very image of 'unflappability'.  And I will 'get-to-the-bottom-of-this', as they say - whoever "they" are.  I just know 'they' are never around when there's a real problem.  I was also determined not to allow this - whatever it turned-out to be - to interrupt my /'will-be-ordered' life.  I was faithful to my walking - sometimes with the dog/wearing a 'je-ne-sais-quoi'-attitude hat (the dog didn't wear a hat); I did the 'football thing' - watching with others, buying/preparing snacks (wore a costume, sprinkled black top hat to market for that prep chore); kept up with correspondence and wrote blogs (so often disjoint/interrupted by phone calls/poring over the sixteen pages of data sent by bank-card-lady each of which had to be copied/enlarged by 135% to be read).

       In the end - it DID end - after checking both of my email sites from October 1, 2012 through January 06, 2013 and finding NO emails from SEOProfiler on the site published in my blog profile but some nine or so emails in my Gmail account from both SEOProfiler and the purported sister-company, DRI - Digital River, Inc. - on Sunday evening, 01-06-13, AND OPENING/READING THEM FOR THE FIRST TIME, it was apparent that "SEOProfiler", in an effort to appear to be a company called SEOP - Search Engine Optimization Performance - had managed to attempt an agreed upon withdrawal from my checking account in the amount of "99.00 (USD) per month".  My address (obtainable from the phone book) is in my profile.

       The two batches of "sales receipts", when enlarged, were a run-on cascade of messages in MIME format, the only discernible English words - repeated twenty times throughout were "Dear Lorane", "Thank you", "for support in using your subscription" and "Sunday 16December2012."  I hand-delivered all of the printed materials to the lady in Card Services on January 11, 2013.  The debit card company is pursuing the fraud charges and my account information, like the card, has been changed and is monitored constantly. 

       I sincerely hope not to render non-discernible posts under the guise of literary license.  It is hoped, as well, that no other hapless (but never hat-less) innocents fall prey to such schemes.  However, as is my wont, it's been hard NOT to recall the sage words of my fedora-clad Dad - AKA Poppy - "Ya live, ya learn and ya die stupid."  Later, Lorane. . . .
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