Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Blowing Smoke Up My Ass

Here is another Blog that I had started to write but never finished. The file was last modified on March 20, 2009 at 2339 hours. It was a follow up to a Blog that I had written three weeks before titled Up in Smoke. I’ve revised and added to it.

Earlier that day (March 20th) I had called 1-800-Marlboro (the last o is superfluous, but most people dial it anyway). I had made several calls the day before to ascertain why the cost of cigarettes increased before the 62 cents per pack added Federal Tax due on April first.

Let me preface this by saying that I have smoked Philip Morris cigarettes for more than forty years. I started with regular Marlboros but switched to Merit 100’s (lower tar and nicotine) in the 1980’s and continued to smoke Merits until Marlboro Light 100’s became discounted ($6 less per carton) in 2001.

I have smoked as many as three and one half packs per day. But that was back in the days when they cost less than $20 per carton. Even at that price I had a $2500 per year habit. But I always rationalized that if I had been doing a drug besides nicotine, I would have been spending much more money. An addicts thinking is usually askew.

On the 18th I found out that my cigarettes (Marlboro Light 100’s) had gone up by five dollars per carton; nearly two weeks before the Federal tax increase. Why?

The next day I called the local Gas station (cheapest cigarettes in town) that had raised the price. The manager told me that their distributor had increased the cost to them by the same amount as they were charging me. I asked for the distributor’s telephone number and was accommodated.

Next I called the distributor and they told me that Philip Morris had increase the price, by the same amount of their increase to the retailers, on all of their products. At this point in time I am emotionally festering and I decide to call Philip Morris. Fortunately, for them, they kept me on hold for more than 10 minutes (over my limit of listening to bad music, a message that tells me that all of their representives are busy and listening to their commercials for their products), so I decided to call them back when I was in a more balanced frame of mind.

I approach telephone conversations with a company (business) in one of two directions. Usually I am a sweetheart with the milk of human kindness running through my veins. But then again, I can be a real SOB when I don’t get appropriate answers to my questions or if they give me the run around.

When I got through to Philip Morris the next day I spoke to a sweet young lady named Vanessa. I asked about the price increase prior to Tax increase. She suggested that I call my Congressmen to complain. She knew nothing (just a person who had stock answers to questions that might be asked).

Therefore I didn’t vent my frustrations and asked if she could connect me to her supervisor. She told me that I would have to hold and listen to more bad music. This didn’t deter me so I said OK.

Finally I got through to the “Supervisor”. Her voice reminded me of Rosa Klebb from the James Bond movie “From Russia with Love”. “Sir, how may I help you?” I could hear the daggers in her shoes through her voice. I decided to go on the offensive.

“Why did you raise your cigarettes by five dollars a carton in Florida?” Klebb sez “Because of the Federal Tax increase.” I sez “but today is March 20th and the increase doesn’t go into go into effect until April 1st.” She sez “The tax will be on the current (as of April first) inventories at the manufacturer and distributor’s level.” At this point I am getting irate. So I sez “So let me get this straight, you are raising the price of cigarettes before the tax takes effect so we can get used to the tax increase.” A long silence! Then I sez “Isn’t this profit taking to make up for the probably decrease in sales after April 1st. Another silence and then she sez “It’s not us, you should call your congressmen.”

I then told her that I had and that I had also sent an email to President Obama (I received an email response from one of his staff members) about the unjust Tax. She half-heartedly thanked me for my call and concern. I hung up and said to myself – bitch you have just lost a customer.

Last week on April 22nd I received a letter from Marlboro (Philip Morris):
Dear George
Thanks for taking the time to call us. It was great to hear from you. Please enjoy these coupons on the Marlboro cigarette of your choice. We really appreciate your loyalty.
Your friends at Marlboro

I had discontinued smoking Marlboros some weeks before – I’ll pass the coupons on to someone else.

The Beach Bum



Anonymous Anonymous said...

You should switch to those candy cigarettes that you 'smoked' when your were a kid! :)

The Admiral

Wed Apr 29, 09:11:00 PM  
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