Dear BofA,

By the time you read these lines, I’ll be gone.

Now that that song is effectively stuck in your head, allow me to continue. Bank of America, I’m breaking up with you. It’s not me. It’s you. Sure we had some good times. Lots of good times. Remember all those good times? You were my first bank when I opened my very first savings account in 1996. I thought I was big stuff then, all official with my bank book and everything. In 15 years, you were the only bank I used. Well, that’s not completely true. But I had to open up that local Comerica account so I could pay my bills while I was in college. They wouldn’t take an out-of-state check! You know this!

Things were going really well. I never had to worry about finding a BofA ATM because there was always one nearby. And I loved how you started the “Keep the Change” savings program because then it made it so much easier to balance my checkbook since I could just round up the numbers for all my debit card purchases, and there was a lot since I became too lazy to go to the ATM whenever I needed cash. Easy peasy. Oh, and did I mention the 8% interest rate I had on my credit card? You were, in a word: awesome.

But then, then you started to change. First, you raised the interest rate on my credit card. It was a slight increase, but one where you didn’t really give me much say in. Basically, I had to accept it or cancel my card. That was harsh, and I wasn’t pleased. Especially after you admitted I wasn’t the kind of customer you like because I paid my balance off every month and you didn’t make very much money off of me if any. You even said I shouldn’t worry about the increase because it’s really only a couple dollars worth of interest in the off chance that I do keep a balance.

But the principle! There was no real reason to increase my rate simply because other people were defaulting on their payments. I tried to fight it but eventually just accepted it. It took some time but we finally worked out our differences and moved on. And then, then you started charging my account without notifying me. For three months you charged an account fee without every once notifying me that I was no longer meeting the basic requirements of my free account and would be charged. It wasn’t until I noticed my checkbook wasn’t matching what my balance said online that I found out what was happening. I wasn’t able to recoup the fees but was able to switch my account type to hopefully avoid future fees. That was annoying.

And yet, I stayed. I was otherwise happy with you and the perks of being your customer. You made everything so simple.

Then this happened. Imagine my surprise and horror when I heard you would be charging me $5 a month to use my debit card. $5 a month? To spend my money? My own money?! That was outrageous. It was stupid. It was the last straw.

Bank of America, this is it. There’s not talking yourself out of this situation (trust me, one of your bankers already tried). I’m tired of being nickeled and dimed like this and having to take it. I know you think $5 a month is a nominal fee and I should just make sure to carry cash instead of reaching for the debit card, but why should I pay for the convenience of spending my money the way I want? Methinks I shouldn’t.

And you know what? I don’t have to accept this. You might not hear me complaining on Twitter or even on this blog, but I know how to reach you in a convincing way: I closed my accounts and joined a Credit Union. Not only can I now go to a branch to do my banking without incurring a fee (something I wasn’t able to do with my other account, though admittedly I can count on one hand the number of times I actually went to the bank in person), but I also have access to a whole network of Credit Union ATMs without any surcharges, and I get to use my debit card for free as well. Oh, and did I mention that I’m now earning interest on my checking account? Because I am. Isn’t that all kinds of awesome?

So thank you, Bank of America, for finally getting me to realize that I do have a say in how and with whom I choose to bank with. I don’t need to jump through a bunch of hoops and oh how wonderful this realization feels.

It was a great 15 years but every good thing must come to an end eventually right? Hope the $60 was worth losing another customer.

Smell you later forever,

Me

Dear Kotex,

Your recent marketing blitz for your newly redesigned product really caught my attention. I always appreciate the value of a rebranding campaign, as I am a little bit of a marketing nerd, and I love breaking them down but I must say that I almost fell for yours. Almost.

Your concerted effort to make your target market aware of the ridiculousness and almost cookie-cutter like propagated by other tampon commercials made me laugh, think, and notice these visual signatures in your competitors’ commercials. A bit of an a-ha moment.

But upon further investigation thanks to the promotional pack that was sent to me, I was disappointed to find that this slick rebranding effort resulted in nothing more than brightly colored packaging. And I love good packaging [hehe]. The product is obviously still the same: the liners worked like normal, I didn’t like the regular pads, and the little tampons that I was excited for because they were compact [great for secreting away into the bathroom] were very disappointing. If you slide the plunger even a millimeter too far, it falls completely out and then you’re left fumbling with the applicator. So in essence, the neon colors did not make up for the overall product dissatisfaction. Fail.

Now, I know the greater good is for “empowering girls and women to take control of their health and bodies” which is a noble and fantastic goal, especially so for the young girls who are beginning their periods and are completely awkward about the whole thing, but really? You couldn’t do this without the brightly colored wrapping paper? And did you focus so much on the packaging that you failed to make sure your product stood up to practical use?

Look, I understand the power in embracing being a woman and all that it entails and I know having my period every month is not a big deal. It happens, big whoop [it would be a bigger whoop if it didn't happen]. But that doesn’t mean I want to broadcast the fact that I’m on my period to the world every time I need to make a change. Seriously. Especially not as a teenager.

I was awkward enough dealing with the whole period thing in junior high and high school [yes, it took me a while to come to terms with it] and there is no way I would have wanted to use a product that draws attention to itself because it’s brightly wrapped like candy. It screams “Look at me! I’M ON MY PERIOD!! I’M BLEEEEEEEEEDING!” I don’t want that. I want to be able to discreetly handle my business. No need letting everyone else know. I’ve never been the type of person who openly complained about the effects of my period [mainly because I don't have many that are newsworthy] because why would I want people to know? Why would people want to know?

Wanna know what helped me? Going grocery shopping with boys in college. There was no way around it. I had to buy the stuff so I owned it. And it didn’t involve anything brightly colored. Thank goodness. But I don’t fully knock your effort. It’s definitely novel and gets us talking [look at me, I'm talking about my period on my blog! Say what?!] but the florescent colors are just not my style. I’d rather use a product I can trust that isn’t fantastically packaged than a smartly packaged mediocre product.

Sincerely,

Me

No, really, it’s in the mail!

I’m back in school for the spring quarter and it couldn’t have come at a better time. With everything going on following the funeral, I was really looking forward to having something keeping me busy during the day, to go back to some kind of normalcy that I was used to before my dad passed. And I tend to use school and/or work as a coping mechanism so not having either one was slightly stressing for me.

Adding to the stress of dealing with life was the fact that our spring break is only 2 weeks, the second shortest we have, and I was running out of time to purchase my books. I finally was able to buy my books after everything started to settle but that only left me a week before classes started so I was cutting it really close. This coming from the girl who usually purchases her books the first day of break.

Yeah, I’m an overachiever.

Anywho, I purchased my books from two separate stores, Amazon and through a seller in Alibris. The Alibris book was estimated to arrive the day before my class so I was seriously operating with no margin for error [and that was with expedited shipping!]. My Amazon book arrived later that week and I received a notice that my Alibris book shipped the Monday before classes started via USPS Priority Mail so I’m thinking it’ll show up by Friday since Alibris has been ensuring me that only a small percentage of shipments don’t arrive by the estimated date.

Friday came and went with no book. Now I’m worried and seriously hoping that they are right and the book would show up on Monday. Monday rolls around and still no book. And now I’m stressing out because if it doesn’t show up the next day, I’ll be stuck showing up to class unprepared. I never show up to class unprepared! Think Rory Gilmore and her insane need to be prepared. That’s me. Except I’m not as wonderfully verbose. The thought of showing up without my book freaked me out, to say the least. I held onto hope that it would magically appear.

This is the part of the story where I tell you that it did and all was well once again in the world. But you obviously are smart people so I won’t go further.

There I am, in class, sans book and feeling so incredibly horrible. I had to ask the professor if we had homework due for the next class and then tell him that I didn’t have my book. He had this look in his eyes that made my crazy mind go off into the inner recesses of my usually well-kept neurosis and suddenly I’m that girl who doesn’t have her book. And the entire time I’m screaming in my head, “BUT I’M USUALLY NOT THIS UNPREPARED! I USUALLY HAVE MY BOOK! I WOULD HAVE HAD IT IF IT WEREN’T FOR THAT MEDDLING ALIBRIS! IT’S NOT MY FAULT. I SWEAR!!” That was not the first impression I wanted to make.

Top that off, I didn’t even have my pencil and calculator. How on earth do I show up to a MATH-BASED class without a pencil and calculator? I have no idea where my mind was at but it certainly wasn’t where I needed it to be. And can I tell you one more thing? I mean, how much more of a poor schmuck can I manage to look on the first day of class? I don’t have a group for the group project.

I don’t know how it happened but I somehow became the last kid picked for dodgeball. And I rock at dodgeball. It’s two weeks in and I STILL don’t have a group. So there I was, first day of class, I have no book, no pencil or calculator and no group.

I felt like a winner.

But the story is thankfully far from over. My book finally decided to show up on Thursday, the same day my back up book from Amazon showed up [I ended up buying a second book in case my first one didn't show up in time for me to do my homework - I did get my shipping refunded for the trouble] and my pencil and calculator are permanently in my backpack, even though we pretty much use Excel for most of the calculations. I still don’t have an official group and I’m really not sure where I’m going to end up. I feel bad because the other groups have already started working on their projects.

I’m determined not to let the early set backs affect me in the end. I’m actually really enjoying this class and I’m totally understanding the calculations. I did an amortization table and I calculated everything correctly! I can probably create my own table for my future new car loan [more on that later]. Now if that’s not an ego boost, I don’t know what is. Go me.

How NOT to win a public fight

This was some kind of weekend. Mainly because I was waiting around on pins and needles for word on whether the threatened BART strike was actually going to go down.

Well, waiting around on Sunday afternoon that is. Saturday was spent blissfully as I turn off thoughts of work once I leave the office. There is no fretting over that once I’m out the doors. It helps keep me sane. Plus is the #1 indicator that I am stressed the mess out over the job.

Anywho, this proposed strike. So it would have been the first strike since 1997 and would have CRIPPLED the commute. With an average of 300,000 people taking BART everyday, can you imagine that many more people on the already congested roads heading to San Francisco? I wonder how fast we can get to nowhere. Traffic would be at a stand still. I had to mentally prepare myself to wake up earlier in hopes of getting to work on time. Thankfully, around 6:30pm Sunday evening, we all got word that the strike was off. That an agreement was made between management and the last union holdout, the Amalgamated Transit Union [ATU] Local 1555, and all was now right in the world. Well, depending on the actual union vote later next week.

Anywho, during this little tussle, what stood out to me was how the ATU didn’t stand a chance. Not one tiny iota.

First against them: the general state of the economy.

Sure in a time when money is falling out of the sky, standing firm in your demands for benefits and wage increases and better working conditions are supported but we’re at our financial worst at the moment. People are being furloughed, having their wages and benefits cut or frozen for the foreseeable future or, worse yet, losing their jobs. This is not the time to be upset that you’re being asked to consider a wage freeze, paying a little bit more for your benefits and paying into your retirement pension. Especially not when many of your members make more than the commuters who use your service [wanna see how your salary stacks up? Try it. It’s fun! If you consider getting punched in your stomach fun] and do less work.

Second against them: the other two unions

BART management was able to come to an agreement with the other two unions working with BART, the first and third largest unions in terms of membership. They agreed to management’s contract terms yet the ATU didn’t and continued to threaten a strike. And in a show of union solidarity, the other two unions would honor said strike.

So if the 900 members of the ATU called a strike, thousands of other union employees, who have already agreed to a contract, will be forced out of work. They’d have to take the much lower strike pay and suffer along because one group refused the offered contract. That doesn’t seem fair. And plays nicely for BART management. How you ask?

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You will take it and like it

I came home last night to some surprising news. Apparently Bank of America wants to increase the APR on my credit card. I currently enjoy a low, single-digit FIXED APR but the notice I received said that they were increasing it to a double-digit VARIABLE APR.

Excuse me what now?

Granted, it’s only a 5% point increase but that’s still insane considering that I have never been late on a payment or gone over my credit limit [they kept increasing my limit faster than I can spend – then again, I don’t spend that much either]. And according to the girl I spoke with last night, those things don’t even matter. Oh really? So Bank of America pretty much woke up sometime last week or so and decided that they were going to increase my APR just because it was, oh I don’t know, a Tuesday.

So here were the options she was able to provide me: a fixed rate that’s approximately 3% points higher than my current one [and still a double-digit] or a slightly lower [but still high] variable rate. Or! And this is my favorite part, or I can reject the increase all together BUT I CAN NO LONGER USE MY CARD, EVER AGAIN. Because once I do, it’ll be considered an acceptance of the new terms and then I’ll be charged at the higher rate.

These are “options?” Use it or lose it? How utterly fantastic! Way to stick it to your customers, Bank of America. Granted she said I could possibly work something out with the customer assistance department, who I plan on calling soon, but what kind of options are those? I know they don’t make a square red penny off my account, as I usually charge only what I can afford to pay in full at the end of every month [the only time I carried a balance on this particular card was when I bought my computer…and that was only for a month or two] so it’s not like they’re making any money from finance charges or anything.

But, I’m also a customer that pays their bill on time every month, so the chances of my account going into collections and risking my not paying are practically nil! There’s very low risk in this situation so why are they increasing my rate?

Here’s the rub for me, of course. If I can’t renegotiate my rate, because let’s be honest here, that increase is ridiculous no matter how you slice it, the only thing I could do is try to open another account through them, but what’s the point if I run the risk of having that rate increased? Because I’m not messing with a variable rate for anything in this world. Jesus couldn’t tell me to get a variable rate. I’m not falling into that trap and my credit is good enough that I don’t need to. I don’t want to close the account because my credit score will take a hit from it but I don’t want to keep it active if I’m not using it. That and if I keep it open and then open another line of credit, I run the risk of having TOO much credit [there is such a thing]. My utilization level would be ridiculously low but why have all that credit just available?

So I’ve pretty much been strapped across the barrel in this game. Thanks for nothing, Bank of America.

It’s all in the fine print

So this Kid Cudi dude. Apparently I’m late to his party but honestly, I don’t even know why I showed up.

I’ve heard his name from a couple of friends and wanted to know what the fuss was all about. Turns out I actually did know one of his songs, and wouldn’t you know it’s a song I always change whenever it comes on. I just never got into it.

But since everyone and their mom was fussing over him, I thought I’d give it an honest listen but then I felt that familiar anxious feeling I get when I’m doing something that annoys me [and kind of close to the anxious feeling I get when I see Quddus]. But I kept on even when I really wanted to change the station. And I came close, like twice.

But then, THEN it was completely over when I heard “lonely loner” uttered through the speaker. A lonely loner? Really? It didn’t help when Mel suggested that maybe it was the radio edit and the loner was a lame stand in for stoner but that isn’t the case because stoner gets play in the lyric before that. I know being lonely is not indicative of being a loner but still. It just sounds lazy. And I left that party with the quickness.

Oh but the fun doesn’t end there.

Then I heard some other song, I can’t for the life of me remember who sung it [but it was a weird name] or the title, but it’s one of those “I’m so sad we’re broken up, I want you back, you’re one in a million” type of song. You know which kind I’m talking about. Well the girl is lamenting a failed relationship and then slips in that she cheated. But she wants him to stop punishing her and take her back.

I mean, you say this in the same vein that this other person is “one in a million”? If it were me, I’d so keep ignoring this person. Obviously I wasn’t enough for you if you had to go get some on the side. Whatever dude, I’m not coming back. Ever.

But these are all just rants. I don’t know why I get all worked up and frothy at the mouth whenever I hear something stupid but I do. And then I deride it and refuse to listen to it ever again, unless I want to make fun of it all over again.

I’m kind of silly like that.

So that is how I decided I still didn’t care about Kid Cudi. Isn’t this the longest most inane story on how I still don’t care about some rapper? I’m reaching new limits here! New limits.

I’m really wondering where the point disappeared to.

Poof! Be gone, aight?!

I’m embroiled in a love-hate-really hate “relationship” thing with Twitter.

Usually I love Twitter. I love posting random tidbits and reading my friends’ random tidbits and spending an obscene amount of time refreshing the site to read more. Seriously, it’s crazy and should be committed. Like, my Facebook status updates have slowed to a screeching halt once I started actively twittering.

Which is, on a side note, a great name for the site because that’s essentially what you’re doing, twittering. Twittering, as in the descriptive word for quick chatter. You know like in the books there were always a gaggle of women in the background all a twitter about the town’s latest gossip? Exactly like that. Except modern and technologically based. As is practically everything these days.

Including said books.

But for the past few weeks I’ve noticed that a lot of my tweets have begun to disappear. Actually, it’s been since the end of February since I waited a few days before finally reporting it, to no avail. It’s frustrating to say the least. And I’m glad to know that I’m not the only one going through this mess but that doesn’t help get my tweets to stay online.

I submitted my request back on March 2nd and they deemed it closed and fixed as of March 9th…with no real solution offered and unfortunately, no way for me to reopen that request to follow up on it.

Yes I know they’re working on things but there doesn’t seem to be any improvement, especially in terms of my own page. I counted upwards of 10 missing tweets as of Monday before I finally lost count and got bored of keeping track. So now I’m regulated to using Twitter search to find my missing tweets and any replies I may have missed. Which is to say: SUPER ANNOYING AND RIDICULOUS.

I know this is a free service so it’s not like I’m spending any kind of money on this thing, but my time is valuable and that’s what I’m wasting checking to see if things where they’re supposed to be. Instead of a quick one minute update, it takes longer with additional steps. I’m the last one to tell you how to fix something techy like this but I like my things to be in working shape, and if they’re not, I like them to be fixed as quickly and correctly as possible. Just do something other than try to distract me with shallow empty promises and answering questions I never asked.

Ultimately it comes down to this: if the problem isn’t fixed, I’ll have to abandon my account. Because what’s the use in twittering if your tweets keep disappearing?

All we need is love, sweet love…

With Valentine’s Day literally just around the corner [seriously, its tomorrow] I’m looking forward to one thing: the moment people STOP complaining about Valentine’s Day.

Every year, like clockwork [or shall I say, like Cubs’ fans] people start griping about Valentine’s Day and how the greeting cards created it to sell the idea of showing our affection by buying things [but isn’t that the American way?] and forcing us to show our love for each other on one day when we should be doing it everyday.

Well, that’s nice and all but sometimes people don’t even do that! And never mind the fact that Corporate America didn’t create the holiday, just took advantage of it. But what I don’t get is how hard people push against it. Look, just because some suit is trying to tell you that you HAVE to buy your girl some jewelry to show her that you love her does not mean YOU HAVE to follow through. Just do what you think is appropriate to do. We’re Americans for goodness sake, when was the last time we did something because someone told us too?

Buy a card, make a card, go out to dinner, make dinner, stay home and watch movies all night, wander around outside [weather permitting]; whatever it is you want to do. There’s no one way to celebrate this day. Just stop being so stubborn.

And for the singles. Sigh, my heart is with you, seriously, but come on now, this one day is the only day you’re reminded of your singleness? Really? Why not stop wallowing for a second and make the day what you want it to be. Want to watch horror flicks? Go right on ahead. Want to watch RomComs [like I always do] then watch until you fall asleep on the couch [like I always do]. Want to make cheesy valentine’s cards for your friends? Do that too. Or don’t do anything. It’s all okay. Just don’t try to say that you’re being forced because you totally aren’t.

But remember, the thing is Valentine’s Day is not about romantic love, but about love in all its incarnations.

So relax and quit complaining.

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Now with 50% less hype!

Today is picture day here at the office for our new badges. We switch them out every year for security reasons – we have a lot of day of event staff turnover so to keep them from keeping their old badges and getting in free later on, we change the layout every year. Anywho, it’s always reminds me of picture day at school because everyone wears their nicest shirt, makes sure their hair is perfect, and looks so put together. It amuses me to no end.

It’s also raining here in the Bay Area. FINALLY. While I was enjoying the unusual summer-like temperature the past two weeks, it’s kind of scary the way the weather’s been. It’s below freezing back east while we’re walking around in shorts out west. In San Francisco no less! In January! But to be honest, I had been praying for rain, not just because we need it, but also because I really want to go snowboarding. I don’t know if I will be going at all this season but I’d like that option.

Which means I need to go shopping for a new jacket since I always just borrowed Lindsey’s.

This is random, I know, but I feel like it should be said. Who are the people responsible for nominating movies for Oscars and such? Because The Curious Case of Benjamin Button going up for 13 awards? Really? Especially as “Motion Picture of the Year?” Really? Because I saw that and I just don’t get the hullabaloo. It was an okay movie [obviously it’s opinion based] but I just didn’t see anything Oscar worthy about it. Sure, individual performances but overall, not so grand. The movie was very slowly paced…it took 3 LONG HOURS for it to finally wind it’s way down. There’s really only so much Brad Pitt I can take when he’s not involved in some cheeky scheme to bust a casino. And there was A LOT of Brad in this movie. Like, more Brad than I needed. Ever.

Which is kind of hard to avoid considering it was his movie. But at one point I wished it would hurry up and be Brad and then sat and wondered how much longer Brad could possibly still be in the movie? It was that long and draggy.

Sure I laughed out loud at parts and it was sad in a tragic kind of way and I did tear up at the end, but I’m a sap. I cried during Wall-E remember? I’ll cry at just about every death scene if I don’t hate the character. I cried at the end of the Bucket List and I KNEW they were going to die.

Is it because it’s Brad Pitt? Is that why it’s being considered for Best Motion Picture? Or am I completely missing the point of the movie?

Dear State of California,

I love you. A lot. I spent the majority of my life here and I’ve been very blessed, to say the least. I ski your slopes, surf your waves, cruise your highways and byways, and relish the warm, balmy weather. And because I love you so much, I feel like I can tell you this honestly, even though it hurts to say.

But this whole budget thing that you’ve managed to tangle yourself into is really…I can’t even come up with the words for it. I’m upset that the collective feet of the legislature has been dragging for years; that the people keep electing you fools [yes, myself included – I really need to pay more attention to the voter’s guide] every year, that instead of trimming the fat from the top [yeah, YOU] you go for the bottom and take money that is definitely needed more than anything else from those who can’t afford to lose a single penny. You refuse to make reasonable concessions and instead of humbling yourselves in a time of great financial distress, you play chicken with each other. Except instead of you staring down that quickly approaching train of doom you put the people in there in your place.

I know there is no single quick fix that will fix the mess that we’re in; it will be a combination of things but let’s start with the simplest: reduce spending. See, whenever I run into a budget issue I stop spending on the luxuries. It works quite splendidly. Gotta make my student loan payment? Stop going to the movies for a little bit, hold on the Starbucks runs, bringing lunch instead of buying. I do what I can. But you? You call for everyone to make sacrifices: for state workers to take a few days off without pay so you can avoid the cost of having an office open, for students to be crammed into even tighter classrooms with even less available resources, for the elderly and disabled to stand going a couple days without access to valuable health and social services all the while you go cruising the streets in your state-financed cars and your reimbursed expenses. What sacrifices are you making? It’s time that you take on some of the work you’ve been asking the rest of us to handle.

Enough with the ego trips. Get in there and find a way to agree on something other than “the budget needs to be fixed or we’re screwed.” Quit pointing fingers at each other and start working with each other. Make some creative moves that don’t require you keep taking from the poor. Leave them alone, they’re always disproportionately affected more than anyone else. Do something substantial and real. The state needs stitches but you keep bringing us band-aids.

We have great sources of industry. People will kill for the chance to live here. And we pay one of the highest state income tax rates but there’s no money in the coffers? And you want to tax us more? For what? You’ve cut back everything to the bare minimum even in good times and then ask for more money. And now, in effort to slow the fall into statewide insolvency, there are rumors that the state may withhold paying state tax refunds until later. I mean come on now, you already take a lot and now you won’t give me the small percentage that you pay back? Sure it’s usually only $30 but still. THAT’S MY THIRTY BUCKS.

Sigh, but honestly State of California, if anything, you’re making it really hard for me to plead your case for the bf to come and live here. Don’t you want me here anymore? Don’t you want to keep me from moving to Texas?! Yes, I don’t know that I’m moving there for sure but it’s probably looking better with you in shambles the way you are.

Please, State of California, I don’t ask for much, besides a reasonable tax rate and affordable housing, but I’m begging you. Please don’t make me move to Texas.