Amazon, Church, and the DMV

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Peeve

Amazon, the Catholic Church, and the DMV – what do they have in common you might ask? Well let me lay it out for you, I’ll let you be the judge.

These are very large, highly organized institutions, with modern day Pharisaic issues, and millions of people who are dependent on their services (and yes, for me, this is a salvation issue).

If you’re on a first name basis with your UPS driver you’ll understand.

Now I’d like to gently raise the possibility that Jeff, Francis, and Steve are failing to feed their sheep, as in distributive, salvatic, and licensed provisions, and I’m not having it.

Recently, due to several factors outside of my control, I have been shut down, deflected, and denied.

What ever happened to the customer (or sinner) is ALWAYS right?

Problem

Let’s start with Amazon, shall we? It’s a ruthless machine, I mean that baby is running full steam, and newsflash they don’t give a damn about my personal account. I’m a fricken Prime member people, but that’s irrelevant, because I happen to be at their bloody mercy.

This is my version of the entire sordid tale, I’ll admit to a slight bias, but what can you do? Jeff took the 5th.

In November our Amazon account was hacked, we were forced to cancel two major credit cards (right before Christmas and a planned vacation), by the time we returned from Portugal in late November, I didn’t want to put my remaining credit card at risk just weeks before Christmas, so my clever sister came up with a brilliant plan. She suggested I use Amazon gift cards for all my purchases because if you get hacked you only lose the value of the gift card.

I started using gift cards exclusively when ordering from Amazon, loading the exact amount needed, and continuing on my merry way.

Before I could chant Ho, Ho, Ho, they shut me down, without remorse, compunction, or warning I might add. As Nina George claims, “one might have to be a little ruthless to seize back control of one’s life,” so I took on Amazon with all the ruthless vigor I could muster.

I called customer service, I think they hired Alexa, she sent me a form letter, via email, that never actually ended up in our inbox, because the imaginative hacker managed to change our AOL settings, and all Amazon correspondence was redirected into the ‘recently deleted’ folder.

What a waste, if these people are smart enough to hack Amazon’s fire wall they should be saving the world, but no, they’re ordering gaming computers with my credit card?

So I called in the big guns, I had my husband Larry call, but Alexa only repeated, “you will receive an email within 24 hours, with detailed instructions, thank you for the call.” When we finally discovered all the emails in the ‘recently deleted’ folder we carefully read each and every one. They did not vary a single word.

We were informed of shipments from our account that didn’t get paid due to the whole credit card debacle, we needed to pay these immediately with a card associated with our account, and would be be so kind as to designate a card for them to charge.

ALL OUR CARDS ASSOCIATED WITH AMAZON WERE HACKED, CANCELLED, AND WITHDRAWN.

We are unable to load a valid card BECAUSE OUR ACCOUNT IS CLOSED. You see where this is going? Ten calls later and I am now the living definition of insanity, doing the same thing over and over again, while expecting a different result.

Amazon is as responsive as a coma patient, my account remained closed through the rest of 2019, and into 2020. In fact, Alexa ignored my requests to communicate, and I was cut off from my Prime movies. More on this later.

Now onto the perplexing workings of the Catholic Church, an institution alarmed by the number of young people choosing to not receive the Sacrament of Marriage, but seriously they can’t get out of their own way.

I quote my daughter Kelley, “if Tim and I were not determined to marry in the church we would have given up months ago.”

The problem is this, Kelley and Tim live in Boston, they belong to parishes in San Jose and New Jersey respectively, they plan to marry in Lake County, alright it’s a bit of a logistical nightmare, but come on, they have faithfully jumped through a series of fiery hoops, and provided all the required documentation.

I think it might be easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a baptized, repentant, confirmed couple to receive the Sacrament of Marriage?

They just received notice after sending in all of their certificates, completing a marriage prep course, and slapping down an $800.00 donation to secure the church, they need to go to the parishes where they were baptized, ask for their baptismal certificates to be reissued with the “new” stamp, because they are no longer accepting copies. Really?

Las Vegas is sounding better and better.

Now on to the DMV. We all need a new licenses, right? So we can get on an airplane (don’t get me started on the airlines, that’s a whole other can of worms) and travel freely about the country, because we are citizens with rights, and privileges. I get it. There are a few bad apples out there that screwed things up for the rest of us, people who signed up for flight school, then informed the instructors they didn’t need any lessons on landings.

No one found that the least bit odd? And my license is in question?

But that is beside the point, the DMV from all appearances is highly regulated, incompatible county to county, and understaffed. When you go to get your new license you need to come with the proper documentation (this is available on line – hint – scroll to the very end), take a number, wait in very uncomfortable plastic chairs purchased by masochists, and try not to appear irritated.

You’ll wait patiently for your number to come up, when it does some one hundred and eighty minutes later, and you haven’t fallen asleep, you make a dash for the designated window, and for goodness sakes have the decency to show proper appreciation for the opportunity to state your case. They will point out that you do not have the proper documentation (failure to scroll), you will feel somewhat like an illegal immigrant in your own town, and they will ask you to leave.

Next…

Panacea

Let’s start with A, I decided to attack Amazon on all fronts, using tried and true methods of calling, tweeting, and emailing the gnarliest details of my current situation, tagging Jeff (who is busy remodeling his mansion with no less then 25 bathrooms) on every transaction.

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Jeff totally ignored me.

Wave two, after researching public emails for all Amazon executives, customer service accounts, and board members, I sent a very detailed email noting all my woes and petty frustrations (you know how wordy I can get), including Jeff’s public email, of which they responded, “this email is not associated with your account, it is our policy to ignore such communication.”

OMG, “Larry cut and paste my email into your own account and send it to those sons of bitches.” Yes, I believe that was the language I used, it may have been slightly more flowery?

They finally responded to Larry’s email, “your account has been reinstated,” I think we finally wore them down, feel free to contact me if you need to borrow my templates.

Now on to what drives this country, the DMV, it’s like dealing with a franchise, every office has it’s own culture, and way of managing their business so to speak.

So I discovered a little secret. The Lakeport DMV! It’s a gem.

When you make an appointment they actually honor it, they are courteous, and although they have the same buyer for waiting room chairs, your butt won’t be in them for long. Before the crow cocks three times you’ll find yourself in possession of a new and improved license, and they don’t snap your picture when you look like you just coughed up a hair ball.

Now where Amazon is overly concerned with payment, and the DMV is all about identity, the Church is run by people who must not have a lot of contact with the outside world.

Kelley and Tim have been working tirelessly on pulling together all of their documentation, after the paper work is complete, approved, and recorded it will be sent to the priest who is officiating their nuptials, and they will then be required to attend an in-person interview, which means an additional flight to California.

But first they have to find someone to reissue their baptismal certificates with the ‘new’ seal which seems more important then their dip in the blessed water?

Pray for us.

Peroration

The part that is most alarming is how dependent I’ve become on each of these organizations? There is no alternatives to Amazon, your faith tradition, or the DMV. It is both humbling and humiliating to acknowledge total and complete dependency on anything besides my Mama.

For me to enjoy the benefits of these distributive, salvatic, and licensed sources I have to placate to their demands. It’s that simple.

But I believe there is a third solution? One that takes both parties into consideration.

According to James Martin, SJ in today’s gospel Jesus and his disciples are criticized by religious leaders for doing something “unlawful” which involves picking the heads of grain in a wheat field on the Sabbath (Mark 2). But Jesus knows there are higher laws at work. He warns the Pharisees to be careful not to put laws before love and human flourishing.

My solution, as coined by Cynthia Bourgeault, is called knowledge impregnated by love, clearly Jesus spent a lot of time promoting this very issue. People who are overly obsessed with laws and regulations forget they are dealing with actual warm-blooded people and the real issue here is a failure to love. Wasn’t it Antoine de Saint-Exupery who said, “it is only by the heart that one can see rightly, what is essential is invisible to the eye.” Amen.

We need compassionately engaged human beings at the center of these colossal organizations, an evolutionary movement if you will, towards more heart based patterns of interaction over tiring rules and regulations.

All we need is love, if that fails, you call me I have Jeff’s personal email.

Living in the Gap, drop by anytime, I’m on call.

Anecdotes:

  • Jeff isn’t a bad guy, his life is heavily layered, and so is his organization.
  • To get a new license you will need all of these documents:
    • 1. Social Security card
    • 2. Identification (photo ID or passport)
    • 3. Proof of state residency (copy of lease, utility bill or mortgage)
    • 4.Proof of citizenship (birth certificate, passport, resident card, etc.)
  • Maybe we should heed some of Jesus’ advice?
  • When it gets really dark, you can see the stars! Ralph Waldo Emerson

11 Comments

Leave a Comment

    1. Thanks Earthwalking! It was eyeopening to look back on my month and realize how many frustrating encounters I was having with these large institutions because the service side of the industry had a limited range of movement. People wanted to stick with the rules regardless of the situation and if they applied! Crazy. Thanks so much for stopping by Living in the Gap and commenting. All my best, Cheryl

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Solidarity.

    I feel your pain sister! My particular peccadilloes are the IRS, attorneys, and a certain accounting firm. One day, I hope to write about the these traumas.

    Or, better yet, develop amnesia and the gift of moving forward without them either leading me by the nose or hanging on to my wake.

    Until then, please know that your words – and grace – in dealing with your personal monsters has given me hope and a round of fist pumping that might be injurious to my right arm.

    Love you! Susan

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Oh, the hoops through which we have to jump to accomplish what should be the simplest of tasks. I feel you. Props for your persistence! And for your use of both word and technique – peroration! An English teacher can go to her grave knowing someone out there understands this. LOL

    Like

  3. I love how you can take your frustration, show the overriding problem, and offer a solution: “We need compassionately engaged human beings at the center of these colossal organizations, an evolutionary movement if you will, towards more heart based patterns of interaction over tiring rules and regulations.”

    And I’m lingering to listen to the Beatles…!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Charli, as I’m reading your comment I realize you have a plethora of experience with rule based organizations! We could go so far as to say heartless institutions! My word Charli, you could write a book on the inadequacies of service based organizations! I should have contacted you for you a synopsis of your story or a quote at the very least. Thanks for sharing in my rant and lingering with the music!

      Like

  4. Can I just say that I love your writing voice?! You are a natural storyteller. Also, I hate the DMV too. I’ve been meaning to update my out of state license for maybe 2 years now, and still haven’t for that reason. 🙍

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh my, thank you Shannon, I appreciate your kind words and our mutual frustration with the DMV! So you make an appointment at the Lakeport office, you’ll be in and out, and you can enjoy some time at the lake! All my best to you, Cheryl

      Liked by 1 person

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