PROLOGUE: on an evening on July 16th (I think) I went online to sign up for unemployment. Googling unemployment, I clicked the first site I saw, a clean looking site called File For Unemployment. I recognized the site was a "step to the desired step" type of operation which always costs money, and soon figured out that it was a publishers sweepstakes type of scam. But when I saw I could get a gift card for Whole Foods if I walked through their maze of signups and questions, I did what every broke and curious soul would at least consider doing, if not do.
I tried for the third time in a week to complete my unemployment application. I was using the phone this time, but riding on the train was making it difficult to hear. The processing was not going well. My other line rang and with not a thought I flashed over. I was offered a free trial for selling stuff online for kids and pets. I told the woman I didn't want to waste her time, that I had a use for the EBay kit I signed for, but this pet thing was too much.
"You're contacting me though the unemployment scam I went through to get free food," I told the woman. "Now you're calling me with free offers and I haven't even filled out my unemployment application yet. I don't have time for your free trial. I would get it, not use it, forget to send it back, and you'll charge me for it."
"But Raymond," said the woman. "I thought the point was that you needed to make money."
Can telemarketers be penalized for psychological harassment? Even, swift, and clean as a blade I replied to the woman and said, "I have designs for the EBay kit - and the colon cleanse I signed up for. But there is no place in my life for pet supplies and kids toys."
I thought of Traci hearing those words, laughing, and then getting a little sad. A few nights earlier she had sat and watched me do the online questionnaire.
"You will get to the end and they'll tell you you don't qualify and then they'll have your information," she'd said.
I didn't care. I was scared for our needs. also but playing around with Dimitri, Brian's scam buddy had given me a shot of fearlessness. I was out of body like a Camus character. I'd been worried since I lost my passport that someone was already playing around with my identity. Thinking back on it all, I'd say that at that point, I was ready to give it all back and start over.
Sometimes I think about people who would steal an identity only to make constructive changes for the people who's name they borrow. Fix their credit report, make a donation to a local cause the original person doesn't have time to do. Answer e-mails from O.P.'s family, register for more free stuff on the internet...
I stand on my head upon a thin thread these days. If Traci and I had action taken against us for non-payment or poor scam choices, there are places we could land securely. There have been many a great moment lately when we realize life could maybe be better, but that the present is a great place to be. The financial losses we face now are mostly healthy ones that wrere taken with the risks firmly noted. We have our tails between our legs about a few things, and wish our credit wasn't a mess, but we pay as we can. I'm doing the best work of my life.
Traci sat on the bed and I at my t.v. tray desk and we went over bills. in the course of things the phone rang. It was Macy's. We made a plan to pay in the store on August 12th. The next call was the Student Loan Servicing Center. This is not my favorite bill to be late on, especially after missing our first payment post-forbearance. The third caller said he was with publishing something, or EBay publishing. Another result of my participation with fileforunemployment.net
"Will you be using the E Bay professionally," he asked.
"I'm not sure I understand the question."
"You want to use it to make money, don't you?"
"Will you be using it for your primary source of income?"
"I am hoping it can suppliment my income if that's what you mean."
"Will you be selling your own stuff or other people's things?"
"My own stuff. I don't really know EBay," I said. "I am sure once I understand how to use it I may get some ideas."
"Thank you for your honesty," said the man, who wished me a good day and got off the phone.
These people already got my credit card purchases (under 10.00 for E Bay package and 30 day colon cleanse!). But the payment is not the half of it. They are after information. The more this unemployment scam goes on, I realize that The Royal Scam in the Obama age is a strong one, utilizing the dream of goodwill in the lower income class. A strong front in the war of the soul which came in full technicolor to me on 9-11.
I always wanted to try a colon cleanse. And learn how to sell on EBay. I still have not been able to finish my unemployment application.
I finished my unemployment application yesterday on the phone. My attempts to file the claim had a few glitches. Apparently I said I was handicapped.
"You must have been filling it out quickly and made a mistake," the kind woman said.
Macy's has started calling again. I answer today for the first time and tell the caller no. No I will not pay today because I already made arrangements. We get off the phone. The next time it rings a woman answers. I take the offensive. "Hello, Macy's," I say before she can introduce herself. I already feel bad for her.
"Your business is terrible, " I say. "I already made arrangements with your company and you are still calling which means your records or something is not consistent with my last conversation. What do I need to do to get this straight? My credit is bad enough as it is." I go on.
I am told again that it is being recorded in the computer that I will make an in-store payment on the 12th. " can hold off the calls until the 9th," she tells me.
"Then you will call to remind me about the 12th," I confirm.
"Yes," she says. While we'd been on the phone I had logged into our bank account to see if there might be 15 dollars to squeeze out for Macy's prior to Aug. 12th. I see that our account was 85 dollars over drawn. A purchase had been made of 79.00. For a colon cleanse.
"Anything else I can help you with today,' the Macy's woman asked.