Throw the Underdog into the Kill-Shelter, Part 2

So, while doing my monthly check of the latest statement for my credit card, I noted the small amounts which inevitably create a sum that also doubles as a gestalt of financial disbelief, and I came upon the Microsoft charge from the debacle of last month (i.e., Part 1). After the immediate fit of vitriolic glossolalia had passed, I looked over the statement to find the refund which had been promised to me…and I did not find it. As incredulous as it was, after repeated scans over the statement, after multiple denials of the situation, it became clear that they had failed to do the one act of repentance for their stupidity. Knowing myself, I was not going to let this transgression pass without being challenged. I gritted my teeth as I prepared to face the bureaucratic nightmare that surely awaited me. So, I donned whatever armor that I could find, and it was once more unto the breach (of sanity), dear friends.

I started with the official number for Microsoft support, and I was immediately greeted with another voice recognition system that we have all come to despise. Usually, most systems will provide you with the unspoken, default option of pressing ‘0’ if you wish to bypass the monstrosity. Microsoft, though, will not let you off so easily; there’s less fun and amusement to be had without your active participation. After pressing ‘0’ and immediately being disconnected, I called back and proceeded to navigate the maze of options presented to me, much like a good mouse does in a maze…except, in this case, there is no cheese, but if you’re lucky, you may be returned a small sliver of your dignity. Upon completing the options and waiting for a few minutes, a polite woman greeted me, and she asked how she could help me. I briefly explained what had happened a few weeks ago, and I complained about the lack of the promised refund. She apologized to me, but she said that she could not help me. Instead, I would need to call the Microsoft Developer Network (i.e., MSDN) center. And all that I could think of was “And so it begins…”

So, upon being provided with the number for MSDN by the polite lady, I called them instead, and a “dude” (not “The Dude”, but perhaps a distant cousin) answered the phone, sounding as if he had been just woken from a nap. I again explained the situation and the lack of a promised refund. Sounding as if he had just celebrated the recent legalization measure in Washington, he reported to me that he could not help me either. As it turns out, the new Windows App Store initiative falls under the MSDN “umbrella”…but it actually exists as an autonomous entity. Feeling the bile once again percolating, I asked for the phone number of this mysterious shadow organization. Idiot that I happened to be for expecting one, he relayed that it had no phone number; instead, it only had a web site address. When I asked him to explain what was at this address, he verbally shrugged his shoulders.

Third time is the charm, right? Or it just a multiple of 3? I was prepared for either one, and following the provided URL, I made my way to the site of the Windows App Store, where I finally then found the support page of my quest. Strangely, though, there was no phone number, email address, or other suggested way of directly contacting them. Instead, I was allowed to provide a phone number, with which they would then call you. I realized that I was less at a support page and more at an altar, where I could summon spirits and demons with a phone number instead of a sacrificial dead animal. Placing my phone number on the altar, I prayed to the Gang of Four that they would hear my prayers, and after a few tense seconds, a call did come to me. I had made contact with the other world.

This man sounded like he had recovered well from the celebrations in Seattle, and he spoke to me with better clarity. Again, I explained the entire situation, and finally, he told me that I had found my salvation, for he could exorcise the demon that would not leave my credit card. After the kind spirit removed the financial blight from my card’s soul, I thanked him…but before he went back to his ethereal plane, though, he imparted one revelation: I should never have been charged in any case. It seems that if you already have a MSDN account (which I do), you were supposed to automatically receive a Windows App Store developer account, free of charge, as a benefit of being a MSDN member (which, as it turns out, is absolutely true). For some reason, at this point, I couldn’t stop laughing when he told me. This comedy of errors was something to which even Shakespeare would say “Come on, this shit can’t be real.” Yes, Bill…I’m afraid it is.

After disconnecting from my spiritual guide, I looked over my emails a few minutes later, and I discovered another recruiter email which had been sent via LinkedIn. Ever since joining and creating a profile on the LinkedIn site, I have received (along with undoubtedly many others) a steady stream of inquiries from recruiters, and after discovering that most of them are headhunting hacks (one asked me if “I was in the game”, which of course deserves no answer), I have the default reaction of deleting them. Occasionally, though, I will get one that deserves some attention due to being from a particular company or due to having a particular headline. This one, in particular, had both. It was an email from a Microsoft recruiter, and specifically, it asked if I would be interested in becoming a tech evangelist for the Windows App store. It had to be that my recently disconnected spirit had told some deities about what happened, and they had arranged for such an email of ridiculous timing. What else could explain this except for the intervention of gods who amuse themselves by tormenting mortals? So, I did what anybody with a penchant for passive-aggressive behavior would do: I replied along with the link to my first post here. As of yet, I have not received a response from him…and I would be inclined to believe that I never will.

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