Businesses don't want my money!

Boy, these companies really don't want my money! Let me recall my story about trying to purchase an expensive electronic device and how difficult it was to do so. I'll start from the beginning. Every tax season, I sift through mountains of papers, statements, receipts and other documents. Every year, I curse the whole process and ponder better methods of storing my necessary information. This year, I decided that I must do something to eliminate hundreds (or even thousands of documents) to restore much-needed physical storage space; it's out of control! 

My first consideration was to find a service to digitize my older documents and restore at least one storage cabinet of space. I would pick a few hundred paper documents that were still required in case of an audit, but are of an age that their importance is greatly diminished. This would free up enough space to solve my storage problems for a couple of years. Two important problems with this solution are:

1) Expense. I tried to find prices online, but since this is a difficult service to define in a concise way and to give a price for such a service, I couldn't find much information. Do you charge for number of sheets? What if there are staples, folds or tears? What if they're faded? Do you charge per hour? That may not be a fair way to charge either since much of the task is probably automated. Anyway, for what I required, I expected the cost to be at least five hundred dollars. 

2) Lack of permanence. At best, this solution would buy me a couple of years. Whatever storage I freed, would quickly fill up again over the next year or two. Any price that I pay today to free up space, will need to be paid again at a future date. 

After thinking through the issues, I decided to do the digitization myself. This would allow me to digitize more than just my older documents and give my a longer-term solution. The problem is that with my current flatbed scanner, the process would take an unfeasible amount of time. So, I need to purchase a faster, sheet-fed scanner to do the job. 

After researching, reading reviews and deciding which options are most important to me, I chose a scanner and decided that I would purchase it at Future Shop yesterday since I would be right next to it in a nearby town. When I got to the plaza where the Future Shop was, I looked and looked and could not find the store. Since it wasn't a location I was that familiar with, I thought I misremembered where it was located. I got out my smartphone and checked for the nearest Future Shop location. It was 9 km from my current spot. The old store at this location was now closed. Okay, no big deal. There is a Best Buy just down the street, I checked their website on my smartphone to verify that they had the scanner. Sure enough, they did! I headed over there and discovered that the scanner was not an in-store item. Argh! 

Okay, my wife was at Costco with her PSW (private support worker). I messaged the PSW to check if Costco had the scanner. No luck.

Well, after getting home I decided to check Future Shop's website to see if another location had the scanner in stock. That's when I noticed that this item was online only! Argh!

Okay, I'm convinced I need the scanner, so I'll just purchase it online. I bought it, clicked "Check Out" and was prompted for my userid and password. After trying a few combinations (of userids and passwords), I decided to just reset my password. Doing this on the Future Shop website hides all previous orders from your history until you can provide a previous order number - a definite inconvenience, but not a deal-breaker. After completing this, I went back to the order, completed it and hit the button to finish it. At this point, I was prompted by a "Verified by Visa" form for verification. Argh! Again, trying different combinations of passwords, I decided to reset this password as well. Okay, let's pick a new password - #1 - rejected (used previously), #2 - rejected (same reason), #3 - rejected, #4  - success! Back to the "Verified by Visa" screen, hit "submit" - status message of "Checking..." does not go away. So, I called Visa to fix the problem and had some other difficulties over the phone. 

After all this, I've confirmed two things:
1) These companies make it very difficult for me to give them money
2) My accounts are protected but most likely only from me. If an identity thief has as much difficulty as me, I'm safe, but I'm doubtful that is the case. 

Ironically, I read David Pogue's article in Scientific American yesterday about this very issue - Technology's Friction Problem
Submitted  4/28/2012 11:09:58 AM
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