Wednesday, December 18, 2002

A Brief History of Wasted Time

For the record let me state that I have never, ever purchased a trailer home on credit from a subprime lender. (Hoo boy - it feels good to finally get that off my chest!). In fact, I’ve never purchased a trailer home from anyone. Sure I’ve been involved in some trailer time share rental schemes over the years (who hasn’t?) And of course I’ve asserted my squatter’s rights over a couple of unoccupied units in Hopkins. But purchased one? With financing from a ravenous subprime lender looking to profit off my ignorance? No way, Jose. (That would be Jose Lopez - our reader out in Davis, CA - Orale camarada!)

Yet these facts haven’t stopped the king of trailer home subprime lenders, a certain Conseco Finance, from latching on to me like I was the last life preserver on the Titanic. As I reported a few weeks ago, in an award-winning article entitled “Welcome to the Machine“, I’ve been receiving calls from them stretching back months. When I’m home to receive these calls, I get an automated message, I get put on hold and then I get hung up on. When I’m not home , they leave a message with a 1-800 number to call regarding “an important message about my account”. Upon calling this number I get another automated voice asking me to enter my account number or my social security number. Since I don’t have the former and I presume the latter somehow implies my consent for them to access and clear out my checking account, I’ve taken a pass on this step. And thus the cycle of abuse has continued. Day after day, a call from Stephen Hawking’s less human sounding younger brother, asking me to do the impossible.

Yes, I suppose I could seek out their corporate phone number and slog through what I’m sure is another muddy maze of automated brick walls and prerecorded free falls. Or I could find a customer service e-mail address and send them my polite request to drop dead. But given their customer service standards, I suspect my success rate with these measures will be about as good as what I’ve chosen to do instead. That is cursing their messages with an increasingly creative (and disturbingly gratifying) level of profanity and praying for Divine intervention.

Today’s news brings overwhelming evidence that the Big Guy upstairs has taken up my cause directly. Granted, His remedy seems a tad excessive. Causing the third largest bankruptcy in US history just to return some peace and sanity to my little life? But mysterious ways are his stock and trade, so I’ ll choose not to wonder why and just sit back and enjoy the imposition of cosmic justice. By the way, Star Tribune - I don’t want to subscribe to your paper, no matter how many free weeks you're offering, so stop calling every month. Really, for your own good, don’t push me on this one.

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