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betajet
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CEO
Mike Royko and the Service Economy
betajet   3/3/2014 7:17:37 PM
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Your post reminds me of a favorite column about the Service Industry written by the great Chicago columnist Mike Royko.  By the magic of the Internet, I quickly found it -- it was published in December 1986.

I recommend it highly!  I'll give you the title and excerpt as a teaser:

Shortage Of Short Greeks Ruining Us

...But we're told not to worry. Now that we don't manufacture as much as we used to, we'll be saved by the growing service industry.

The problem is that the service industry is being taken over by people like the restaurant manager and his corporation. They go to college and study service. Then they install computers programmed for service. And they have meetings and look at service charts and graphs and talk about service.

But what they don't do is provide service. That's because they are not short Greeks.

Thank you, Max, for making me remember this gem.

Max The Magnificent
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Re: Mike Royko and the Service Economy
Max The Magnificent   3/4/2014 10:41:12 AM
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@Betajet: Thank you, Max, for making me remember this gem.

I live to serve :-)

Caleb Kraft
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Blogger
WOW
Caleb Kraft   3/4/2014 2:27:48 PM
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Wow Max. Not only did you click on one of the ads, but you admitted it publicly? Next thing you'll be putting up signs on your front door: "Beware, Rube inside."

Max The Magnificent
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Re: WOW
Max The Magnificent   3/4/2014 2:41:04 PM
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@Caleb: Not only did you click on one of the ads, but you admitted it publicly?

I hang my head in shame. I now walk around with a "kick me" sign taped to my back.

On the other hand, I would never have clicked on such a link in an email or on a website -- I was lulled into a false sense of security by the fact I was using "The Weather Channel" app on my iPad.

Rcurl
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Rookie
Glad you're getting it untangled
Rcurl   3/4/2014 3:34:00 PM
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I'm just thankful that you found someone at the Hospital who is willing to call off the dogs and get your credit score restored!

I did find out that if you bought anything at a Target store in the last year and paid for it using a credit card, they will provide a year of free credit monitoring provided by Experian.  They're doing this to try to make customers feel more comfortable after their huge data breach.

Max The Magnificent
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Re: Glad you're getting it untangled
Max The Magnificent   3/4/2014 4:31:43 PM
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@Rcurl: I'm just thankful that you found someone at the Hospital who is willing to call off the dogs and get your credit score restored!

Now I'm holding my breath to make sure they come through on their promise.

Max The Magnificent
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Re: Glad you're getting it untangled
Max The Magnificent   3/4/2014 4:33:54 PM
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@Rcurl: I did find out that if you bought anything at a Target store in the last year and paid for it using a credit card, they will provide a year of free credit monitoring provided by Experian.  They're doing this to try to make customers feel more comfortable after their huge data breach.

It wasn;t just Target -- the data breach also hit other stores like Niman markus (sp?) -- my wife had ordered a birthday present for her mother, and her card details where stolen -- fortunately we discovered it early and cancelled the card.

Rcurl
User Rank
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Re: Glad you're getting it untangled
Rcurl   3/4/2014 5:10:01 PM
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Last year I had something similar happen to me. I had my cell service with T-mobile since before they were T-mobile. Coverage at the house has always been poor but usable. I succumbed to Verizon's claims about having the best coverage, and sure enough, when I looked at their coverage map my house looked to be in one of ther better coverage areas. I went down to the Verizon store and got one of ther new phones and signed up for a new contract.  Ported my number over too. I thought it was strange that I left the store without signing anything and without a paper copy of anything. Not even an email to confirm that the transaction had taken place.

I went back home and discovered that I had no coverage at all at my house. Two blocks away it worked like gangbusters, but the house is definitely in a dead zone. 

I went back to Verizon first thing the next morning to have them cancel the contract. They told me there was nothing to do there...they said I should go back to T-mobile and have them port my number back over and that would automatically cancel the Verizon contract. I wasn't very comfortable with that procedure, but that's what I did. The Verizon sales person said that as long as I cancelled the contract within 14 days there would be no charge at all. When I got back home I called Verizon customer service and they verified that my account was cancelled and that nothing was due. 

I still had an uneasy feeling about the whole thing, but after a few days I stopped worrying about it.  The next week I got a letter in the mail welcoming me to Verizon and stating that I should receive my first bill on 30 days. I made another call to their customer support and was assured that nothing was due.

60 days passed with no bill so I was thinking all was OK.  That's whan the collection  calls began. They left a message on my voicemail that Verizon had been unable to reach me and that I owed $14 plus collection fees. The local Verizon office had already closed for the evening but I was their first customer next morning when they opened. I was shocked to discover that the people in the store had no way to see my account information, and they had no way to contact their own customer service department other than to call them on the phone and wait through the same queue that I had to wait through each time I had called them. 45 minutes and six agents later I found someone who agreed to cancel the charge, tell the collection agency to stand down, and contact the credit reporting agencies to reverse the informaiotn that had been sent to them. She still could not send me an email or print me a piece of paper to confirm that the charges had been cancelled. After much insistence on my part she agreed to mail a paper confirmation.   

I was greatly relieved to receive it a week later. I'll definitely be sticking with T-mobile! 

Max The Magnificent
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Re: Glad you're getting it untangled
Max The Magnificent   3/4/2014 5:13:02 PM
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@Rcurl: I succumbed to Verizon's claims about having the best coverage...

You would not be the first to be lured by their promises of delight...

http://aspenlogic.com
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Rookie
Never pay by CC
http://aspenlogic.com   3/4/2014 3:55:54 PM
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Scary! Your biggest mistake was paying by credit card. Never ever ever ever ever ever ever (you get the point) pay a hospital bill by credit card. EVER. You see, once you do that the CC company can come at you forever to get paid. The hospital will not do that plus you loose the opportunity to negotiate the price down dramatically. I know of a case where a family with a disabled child paid nearly $80,000 across all the credit cards they could get hold of to pay off a medical bill because they thought it was the "right thing" to do. They struggled mightily to pay the interest let alone the principle and went into bankruptcy. I heard later the hospital would have settled for much less (I wasn't told the amount) and set up a billing plan with significantly lower interest.


Glad you escaped!

krisi
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CEO
Re: Never pay by CC
krisi   3/4/2014 4:19:38 PM
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I always wonder how the most advanced technologically country in the world can have such a messy medical care payment system

Max The Magnificent
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Re: Never pay by CC
Max The Magnificent   3/4/2014 4:35:48 PM
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@AspenLogoic: Your biggest mistake was paying by credit card. Never ever ever ever ever ever ever (you get the point) pay a hospital bill by credit card. EVER. You see, once you do that the CC company can come at you forever to get paid.

GoodPoint -- but in this case I wanted to get that $350 off my credit record ASAP

maryl19
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It Pays to check your credit reports
maryl19   3/12/2014 12:58:40 PM
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We refinanced our mortgage a few years ago and an unknown name showed up in our paper work as one of my aliases.  This triggered some alarm as I had no idea who this person was.  The lender indicated they got the information from one of the credit agencies.  When I called the credit agency to correct the issue, the first question I was asked was if "April" was an alternate spelling for "Mary".  All I can say to that is I sincerely hope the woman was working from some script.  I am still untangling that one and it has had an effect on my report as she has some outstanding debts in collection.  I now get letters at my house addressed to her.  Now I get reports annually from each of the agencies to check for mistakes.  I also have a monitoring service and they also said nothing.  I am thinking of saving myself the expense.

Max The Magnificent
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Re: It Pays to check your credit reports
Max The Magnificent   3/12/2014 1:01:45 PM
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@Mary: When I called the credit agency to correct the issue, the first question I was asked was if "April" was an alternate spelling for "Mary". 

This reminds me of a story tole to me by EDA Analyst Gary Smith. This was in th edays of print magazines -- apparently some junior fact-checker called him up to check some details, and one of the questions they asked was "how do you spell E-D-A?" LOL

betajet
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CEO
Re: It Pays to check your credit reports
betajet   3/12/2014 2:25:10 PM
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Max knows a guy who was asked: "how do you spell E-D-A?"

My favorite story along those lines was when a customer called tech support because he couldn't get a C compiler to work.  Tech support asked him: "does it compile 'hello, world'?"  The customer asked: "Where do I get the source code for that?"

Max The Magnificent
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Blogger
Re: It Pays to check your credit reports
Max The Magnificent   3/12/2014 2:33:24 PM
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@Betajet: ...The customer asked: "Where do I get the source code for that?"

LOL

JullSan
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Rookie
Choose the rliable services.
JullSan   5/31/2014 10:23:31 AM
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Really interesting why you had not been notified by the credit agencies you use, but seems to me it was a bit careless to pay the bill over the telephone to a side company, not the hospital. I realize we can not keep track of everything, but when it comes to credit issues for consumers it's better to deal with the reliable companies you know.

Max The Magnificent
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Re: Choose the rliable services.
Max The Magnificent   6/2/2014 10:03:48 AM
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@JullSan: ...seems to me it was a bit careless to pay the bill over the telephone to a side company, not the hospital...

My understanding is that once the hospital has handed a debt over to a collection agency, then you have to pay that agency...



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