As published first in the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle:
As next published in our local ad rag, two days later:
As much as we like to have fun with Village Fair, it is well known for the quality of the meat that is sold there, and it truly is freshly cut, and is priced reasonably for a place that is not much bigger than a hole-in-the-wall. People come from a wide surrounding area, even the people with real money who live in the Town of Pittsford, to avail themselves of the three butchers who barely have room to sqeeze past each other. If you ever pass through the small town of East Rochester, drive down the main drag and look to the north to spot it. Then stop in and get yourself some mighty good meat. Tell 'em Malcolm sent ya.
YES, aol, THIS IS A BONA FIDE ADVERTISEMENT, NOT SOME OBNOXIOUS PROMOTION THAT CLUTTERS UP OUR JOURNAL AND OFFENDS THE EYE.
Now for something completely different, yet eerily reminiscent. We received in the mail a notice from Time Warner Cable (companion corporate scum of aol) that a settlement in a lawsuit is pending (it's been going on since 1998 and NO ONE EVER TOLD US SUBSCRIBERS UNTIL NOW) in regard to the fact that Time Warner was selling subscriber information without our knowledge or consent.
Now that a settlement is near, we are finally informed that we can either -
Submit a Claim Form
Go to a Hearing (Yeah. Right.)
Do Nothing (Oh yeah. This is an option.)
And of course there is a deadline.
We could object by writing to the Court (actually, the Court plus a Class Counsel plus a Defense Counsel.) Do you suppose this would get us anywhere at all?
We could exclude ourselves from the settlement, hire a lawyer, and rapidly expend our small competence, thereby putting ourselves in peril of penury. This option is made more difficult in that we must actively "opt out" by letter, by a deadline.
What do we, the aggrieved consumers receive in return for the sale of our private information?
One free month of any Time Warner Cable service that we don't already have, or two free Movies on Demand.
Either option forces us to upgrade to their set-top rental box and pay extra for the privilege. We begin to see a similarity between the business attitudes and practices of the sister companies - in short, screw the consumer.
Meanwhile, what do the lawyers, guardians of our precious rights receive? O lucky lawyers! Attorneys' fees and expenses in the amount of $5,000,000, plus $2500 each for two Class Representatives, AND the costs of administering the settlement. After 7 years spent in litigation, the very idea reeks of rank bribery.
We have finally discovered a position on which we and George W. Bush can totally agree. Pursue tort reform rapidly and vigorously. (Whatever happened to tort reform, anyway?)
Ah well. Peace.