Welcome to the computer age

Carl W. Spitzer IV 75313.2601 at COMPUSERVE.COM
Thu Feb 11 16:29:45 MST 1999

FROM:   INTERNET:BadBenski at aol.com, INTERNET:BadBenski at aol.com
DATE:   02/11/1999, 10:08 AM

In March 1992, a man living in Newtown, near Boston, Massachusetts,
received a bill for his as-yet-unused credit card stating that he owed
$0.00. He ignored it and threw it away.

In April, he received another and threw that one away too. The following
month the credit card company sent him a very nasty note stating they
were going to cancel his card if he didn't send them $0.00 by return post.

He called hem, talked to them, they said it was a computer error and
told him they'd take care of it.

The following month he decided that it was about time that he tried out
the troublesome credit card figuring that if there were purchases on his
account it would put an end to his ridiculous predicament. However, in
the first store that he produced his credit card in payment for his purchases
he found that his card had been cancelled. He called the credit card
company who apologized for the computer error once again and said
that they would take care of it.

The next day he got a bill for $0.00 stating that payment was now overdue.
Assuming that having spoken to the credit card company only the previous
day the latest bill was yet another mistake he ignored it, trusting that
the company would be as good as their word and sort the problem out.

The next month he got a bill for $0.00 stating that he had 10 days to pay
his account or the company would have to take steps to recover the debt.

Finally giving in he thought he would play the company at their own game
and mailed them a check for $0.00.  The computer duly processed his
account and returned a statement to the effect that he now owed the credit
card company nothing at all.

A week later, the man's bank called him asking him what he was doing
writing a check for $0.00.  After a lengthy explanation the bank replied
that the $0.00 check had caused their check processing software to fail.

The bank now could not process ANY checks from ANY of their customers
that day because the check for $0.00 was causing the computer to crash.
The following month the man received a letter from the credit card company
claiming that his check had bounced and that he now owed them $0.00 and
unless he sent a check by return of post they would be taking steps to
recover the debt.

The man, who had been considering buying his wife a computer for her
birthday, bought her a typewriter instead.

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