Sing a Song of Amazon

I was checking my bank account the other day and noticed I had a deposit of $10 from Amazon. First, how does Amazon know which bank I use? I pay for all my Amazon purchases with a credit card. Second, of course they know. Amazon knows everything.

But why? Why did Amazon give me ten bucks? The deposit had a series of numbers and EDI PYMNTS written beside it. I quickly deduced that PYMNTS meant payments. I’m smart like that. So I googled Amazon EDI payments. Seems EDI payments are transfers of small amounts of money when a seller makes money on Amazon. Ok. So why did they think I made money on Amazon? I have a Vella site, but anytime I go there I have to wipe off the dust and cobwebs and the crickets are so loud I can hardly hear myself think. So no. No money there.

The EDI site had two handy little links for Amazon sellers and non-sellers. I clicked on the Amazon sellers link and it immediately told me I was NOT an Amazon seller. Maybe not, but they didn’t need to be so abrupt about it. Kinda hurt my feelings. So I clicked on the other link. And it was in German. A page full of German, and nothing that looked like a translate button.

So back to square one. I figured I would contact Amazon directly. Contacting Amazon is fraught with problems – mostly revolving around language. I usually opt for the “Chat”. I have found that it is frequently easier to tease out the meaning of pidgin English when written than when spoken. And no offense intended to the employees who I imagine have much better English skills than I have Hindi or Burmese skills, but face it, sometimes it seems like an impenetrable shield.

So I clicked on Chat. In a few moments Saba comes on. I do like that they seem to use their real names, rather than trying to make me think I’m conversing with ‘Bob’ or ‘Mack’. A Google search informed me that Saba is a typical Kuwaiti girl’s name, so I guess I was working with a Kuwaiti lady. She opened with asking how I was. I made nice and told her I was fine and hoped she was, also. She responded she was pleased I was well and hoped for my good health every day of the year. A bit over the top, but I’ll take good wishes as I can get them.

I explained that I had received the deposit and just wondered what it was for. She said she would check and get back to me. After a quite long wait she can back on and wanted to know if I had “any other Amazon.uk accounts”. UK? As in United Kingdom? I told her no, I only had the one account with Amazon.US. She thanked me and went away. A while later she asked if she could have my four-digit number. This was a poser. Did she mean the number I use to get money from the ATM, the number I use to turn off my house alarm, the last four of my social security number, the last four digits of my phone number, or the number I have to use to let the cable company know that the freaking cable is on the fritz again? A likely answer seemed to be my credit card number, but why did she need to ask me? See number two above. Amazon probably knows more about me than I know myself. They know my dad’s middle name, my mom’s maiden name, my first car, favorite pet, and that I like Christmas. Why get so cagey all of a sudden? I decided this had nothing to do with my credit card, so I offered her the number attached to the deposit. She thanked me and went away.

She came back a while later and thanked me for my patience. As a sign of their appreciation, they were going to give me another $10. I know Amazon is the most profitable company in the world, but you don’t usually get there by just throwing money around. But if this is the new company policy, maybe they should throw some at their employees. I thanked her for the money and then asked about the original $10. This is when it got weirder.

She said she had “just discovered this”, discovered what I don’t know, and that the $10 credit I was getting was taken off the price of an MP3 player I bought about four months ago. I had purchased a cheapo MP3 player from a Chinese company for about $39. It was a piece of crap that didn’t work as advertised; it barely worked at all. I had contacted the company for a replacement. They said they would only send me a replacement if I would first post a good rating of them on the Amazon site. WTF? No. I told them I would give them “a rating” after they made good on my purchase. No deal. I had to write the good review, or they wouldn’t participate. I stood by my principles and chalked it up to experience. I purchased an MP3 player on Ebay, instead (anyone need a marginal Chinese MP3 player cheap?). I never contacted Amazon about my problems with the Chinese company and I paid for the device when I purchased it. So why was Amazon bringing up something I bought long ago? I asked Saba. She seemed hurt and wondered why I wasn’t appreciative of their “gesture of goodwill”. I assured her that I was appreciative (she used ‘appreciative’ a lot). In the next word salad I got from her it appeared that they would refund the entire price of the MP3 player. I say it ‘appeared’ because, you know, word salad. She didn’t just mangle the English language; she left it broken and bloody on the floor.

After another abortive attempt to get information from Saba I decided it was time to go. I exchanged way too many parting pleasantries and made my escape.

So at the end of the day I have $10 in the bank, either a ten dollar or thirty-nine dollar credit with Amazon and still no idea what started the whole deal. Maybe I’ll try again with another chat person. They may have a better grasp of English. Or I may get even more credits. I’d like to get Amazon Prime for free. Maybe they can arrange that.

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