Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/971229-Youve-Won-A-Free-Gift
Rated: E · Editorial · Comedy · #971229
I guess we've all been ripped off one time or another...
You've Won A Free Gift

You ever get rewards from credit card companies? You know, when they reward you for being such a good sport about going along with the scam they're running and charging you 50% interest on everything you buy with their card?

Well, guess what? Lucky me! I was one of the chosen! Promised FREE gifts just for being a dope and using their stupid credit card. I felt honored...thrilled...skeptical.

My hands shook ever so slightly while opening the letter, and then my eyes devoured the page:

Dear WD,
You are a valued customer who always pays his 'extremely-high-interest-rate' credit card bill on time. We would like to honor you with a promise of a free gift from Rip-You-Off Credit Card Company. The following is a list of the free gifts you have earned. BUT, you may choose only one:

         1. An almost durable luggage set.
         2. An imitation leather 'ladies wallet' with a handy-dandy built-in calculator.
         3. Seven DVDs from our very small list of ‘B’ movies that never really made it at the box office.

Your friends at Rip-You-Off Credit Card Company

Wow! I knew right away that this was going to be a difficult decision to make. I labored with it for almost a minute, sweat breaking out across my fevered brow. DVDs? Luggage? Yes! DVDs! They cost a lot and I love movies! Hell, everybody loves movies!

Let’s see what they have to offer.

I poured through the list of available films written forever upon shiny disks of silver that I dreamt would soon be sitting upon my shelf collecting a skin of dust.

Let’s see now, what have they got here, uh . . .
Crocodile Dundee 2--I never liked the first one...pass.
The Pianist--a war movie wannbe.
Fried Green Tomatoes--yuck, a chick flick!
As Good As It Gets--I like Jack, but this is one of his ‘I’m a wuss’ movies.
The Three Stooges--classic! I’m a definite Stooge fan (nyuck-nyuck).
The Last Unicorn--an animated fairy tale classic. Okay, I got kids, they’d like that.
Babe, Pig in the City--this one’s so old that I'm sure Babe’s gone to that bacon heaven in the sky.
The Panic Room--a movie about a bunch of stupid thieves trying to get Jodie Foster to come out of the closet. Good luck with that.*Sick*
The Family Man--a Christmas movie with Nicholas Cage. That’s right, when I think of Christmas movies, I think of Nicholas Cage.*Rolleyes*

The choices are definitely limited. Admittedly, these films are several years old, but let’s not forget, they’re absolutely 'FREE' and that’s all that really matters. So what have I got to lose?

I anxiously made my selections and stuck the reply card inside the conveniently provided monthly payment envelope. The envelope just also happened to be holding my huge check for the required minimum payment on my credit card.

And then, I waited with enthusiastic impatience. I felt like a kid that had just sent in his one thousand cereal box tops for a secret decoder ring.

The days dragged by.

And then, a box came.

I feverishly opened it.

Yes! All the DVDs I had ordered were inside. I was so proud of myself. I thought, the family will be amazed at the wonderful selection of new movies I’ve gotten for FREE.

But wait . . . .

There is also a correspondence inside the box. A nasty little green envelope that looks incredibly just like...a bill.

Slowly, I rip it open, my excitement beginning to waver.

My God, it IS a bill! A bill for $49.97!

There must be some mistake. Some idiot at the home office has made a terrible blunder and accidentally charged me for these free DVDs. What’s wrong with these people? Why can’t they hire good help?

I investigated further . . . .

It says...the cost of each DVD is . . . $0.00. Well, they got that part right. Shipping and handling . . . $49.97.

What? That can’t be right. Come on, I could send a cow through the mail for less money than that. This is a rip-off!

I found the 800 number and started calling. Of course, it’s one of those automated message menus. The kind that is so long that a woman could give natural child birth way before you could ever get a live person at the credit card company on the phone.

Finally . . . .

“Hello, this is Rip-You-Off Credit Card Company. May I have your fifty digit account number please?”

“Uh, yeah, sure, it’s 95093-72640-17429-48564-76329-849826574359186428735948-0.”

“Could you repeat that please?”

“You gotta be kidding me?”

“Could you repeat the last digit?”

“Yeah, it’s, uh . . . 0.”

“Oh, okay, your accounts coming up now. What can I do for you, WD?”

“Well, I’ve just received my box of FREE DVDs. But there’s a bill inside that says I owe fifty dollars for shipping and handling. What gives? Why does it cost so much?”

“Well, first of all, let me say congratulations on your reward. We’re dedicated to helping bring our customers the best service possible. According to our records your card has been billed for $49.97 by our Gifts and Awards Department, so you don’t have to pay it all at once. Oh, by the way, have you mailed in your monthly payment yet?”

“Yes, I have, but I’m not paying that amount for shipping and handling. You can have your DVDs back. I want you to credit my account and take that charge off of my bill.”

“Oh, I can’t do that. You’ll have to talk to a manager to do that.”

“All right, let me speak to the manager then.”

“One moment please, while I put you on hold.”

The phone hangs up.

The dial tone buzzes in my ear like a crop duster.

I calmly call again.

“Hello, this is Rip-You-Off Credit Card Company. May I have your fifty digit account number please?”

It’s the same girl.

“Yeah, hello. We got disconnected. You were getting the manager, remember?”

“Your account number please.”

“Look, I’m sending back these DVDs so take the charge off of my bill. This is a rip-off and you’re not going to get away with it.”

“Oh, here’s the manager now.”

“Hello, this is Dan, may I help you?”

“Yeah! I’m not paying fifty dollars for free DVDs!”


“Yeah, the one’s you sent me as an award for me using your credit card.”

“Oh, you want the ‘Free Gifts And Awards Department’. Let me transfer you.”

The phone went dead.


I called again.

Waded through the menu.

“Hello, this is Rip-You-Off Credit Card Company. May I have your fifty digit account number please?”

The same girl.

“Could I have the ‘Free Gifts and Awards Department’ please? I’d like to order something.”

“Sure. Lemme patch you right through.”

A short pause.

“Hello. This is Dan, may I help you?”

“Yeah, Dan. I’d like to send back your free DVDs.”

“Is there a problem with them?”

“Oh, just the fact that they cost fifty dollars, Dan, that’s all. I want to return them.”

“Are they defective?”

“No, I just don’t want them."

“Oh. Well, we’ve never had any complaints before. We usually just bill your account and you pay as you go along.”

“No. I want you to credit my account and just give me the address to send back your DVDs.”

“Oh. Well, that is a shame. Are you sure?”


“Look, instead of sending them back, why don’t you just keep them as a free gift from us. I promise to credit your account and you can keep the DVDs for nothing. How’s that sound?”

I was stunned. “Well, gee, Dan, that sounds great. Thank you--thank you very much.”

“No, problem. All right then, let’s see . . . I think I can take care of this little matter right now for you. Could you give me your fifty digit account number, please?”

My jaw hit the floor.

© Copyright 2005 W.D.Wilcox (billywilcox at Writing.Com). All rights reserved.
Writing.Com, its affiliates and syndicates have been granted non-exclusive rights to display this work.
Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/971229-Youve-Won-A-Free-Gift