Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Famliarity Breeds Contempt

I have been debating whether to change cell phone carriers for a couple of months now. My current phone intermittently drops its signal, leaving me to interpret the things people are trying to tell me while losing about one word in eight. It's finally reaching a level of annoyance that I am no longer willing to tolerate (besides, I think it's time I got a smart phone). My current carrier however has other ideas on the situation. They won't discuss upgrading my POS (piece of shit) flip phone until the end of summer, unless of course I want to spend $500 for the purchase of a new phone. 

Interestingly enough, it seems that many of the other carriers out there will be all too glad to give me a new smart phone if I sign a new two-year agreement with them. Of course I will have to pay a $150 fee to cancel my existing contract, but the potential net effect of this transaction is a savings of $350. While the math is simple, the philosophy causing me to use it is counter-intuitive to me. 

It seems that some of these companies are far more interested in getting your business than keeping it over the long-term. In fact I was shocked to find out from a former employee of my present carrier that the reason I was sensing that employees of this company were less than enthusiastic about retaining my business was that they could care less about it. Getting customers was something that they are measured on and get credit for, retaining or losing existing customers was not. 

Now I worked for a company about a year ago on a sales program that was very much in the same vein. It's not that they didn't give a damn about customers who had signed up with them, but interest did seem to drop off rather quickly in the weeks following sign-up. They were OK with the idea that the shiny in this relationship with their new partner would wear off quickly, as long as it lasted long enough for the sales team to take credit for the sale. (My tenure in this position did not last long, as I found such thinking incompatible with keeping a clear conscience.) 

Even in the relationships between men and women, I have found that it's much harder to maintain a relationship than it was to begin one. And while I'm sure that all of us go into any new relationship with the best of intentions, familiarity soon begins to work its evil designs on this bond as well. 

Now having twice been divorced, I have some experience at this in my own life. I cared a great deal for each of the women I wed, and I carry a fair amount of guilt for both my actions and the lack thereof contributing to the ultimate demise of these relationships. While I would hesitate to say that contempt actually entered the picture (or so I like to believe in order to protect a rather fragile ego), I think it would be fair to say that in the end, "Absence made the heart grow fonder; and the longer I was absent, the fonder they became of it". 

The one that most seems to irk me the most lately however is that with our elected officials. (Yeah, big surprise, I know). Don't we often see much the same thing from politicians at every level? It certainly appears to me at any rate, that a number of them only seem to care whether we agree with what they are doing or want to do, in the days leading up to an election. Once safely in office, they become far too familiar with their jobs, and soon seem to lose interest in the will of mere voters. 

They tell us that instead, they are 'voting their conscience'. Of course the fact that their conscience seems to be in direct opposition to the will of said voters; and identical with the views of lobbyists and major contributors to their campaign is strictly a coincidence I'm sure. 

It does in fact seem that in many cases in our life, familiarity does breed contempt. Perhaps with the time I spend writing about politics these days, my own views are simply another example of the truth of this notion. There is after all, little doubt that the more familiar I become with politics and politicians, the more I hold them in contempt.

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