It takes an amalgamation of the worst human tendencies to create a corporation.
There's a reason why scientists perform experiments on rats anytime they want to learn something new about human beings.
PayPal, for instance.
It may have begun with a single person whose outlook on life was: "Hey, I like computers!"
And this person may have joined forces with someone whose outlook on life was also: "Hey, I like computers!"
They're goal: "Let's help people who like buying stuff with computers!"
But power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely, and whatever number of years later, PayPal is a major appendage of online leviathan eBay.
How can we measure PayPal's success? Easy.
It's reached that rare pinnacle where it can treat its users with utter contempt.
PayPal's customer service is a void. It's silence from deepest space. Have a problem with PayPal?
Supplicating PayPal for help finding a resolution will yield the same result as praying to Gawd to end world hunger.
For more than a week, I've had no access to my PayPal account. Whenever I attempt to login, I'm directed to a page that asks me to update my information, choose a new password and verify my account by entering my entire bank account number.
The message on the page says: "We are currently performing regular maintenance of our security measures. Your account has been randomly selected for this maintenance, and you will now be taken through a series of identity verification pages."
OK, no problem.
Except, every time since I entered the necessary information, my subsequent login attempts are directed back to this page.
To date, I've updated this info at least half a dozen times. To no avail.
When dealing with an ordinary business, it'd be easy enough to send them an email or telephone them, get in touch with their support team and sort out this minor glitch.
But PayPal is a pillar of the Internet, so it would not besmirch its gawd-like stature by having a mere telephone number.
When I attempted emailing PayPal through the site, upon hitting the Submit button, I was transferred back to this page every time:
It's amazing how antagonistic that loop becomes after a few tries.
So, I have no access to my PayPal account, but PayPal has access to my bank account -- like a vampire with a juice-box straw punched into my left ventricle.
It was probably easier to appease the storm gods in pre-biblical times than it is to get back into the "good graces" of PayPal.
It's been obvious for years that the North American consumer public is becoming increasingly obsolete. Businesses tolerate us, they'll take our few pennies off us, but the days when customer service platitudes -- such as "We care!" "We Go The Extra Mile For You" "We Treat You Like Family" -- meant anything other than "Fuck off!" have long gone past.
Just as well.
As Jon Stewart recently pointed out when speaking of General Electric having paid no taxes in the past year -- and actually received a $3.2 billion "tax benefit" -- "You know, I know the Supreme Court ruled that corporations are people, but what I didn't realize is that those people are assholes."
In order to understand why corporate personages are such assholes, I believe we'll have to perform experiments on a galaxy of rats.
In the meantime, I have redesigned PayPal's "Contact Us" page so that it more accurately reflects reality: