Happy Prime Day. :|

scam alert letting text on black background

I got a very interesting call just now – a well crafted TTS message, using what seemed to be Amazon’s own Polly TTS service, told me that “This is Amazon. We’re reaching out to you regarding a charge of fourteen hundred and ninety nine dollars and ninety nine cents on your account for a Macbook Pro. If you didn’t make this purchase, please press 1 to speak to a customer service representative.”

By this point, I had opened my Amazon account and verified that there had been no such charge. So I cut the call.

But it was way too realistic. The only thing that prompted me to think it’s the call that’s spam and that my account wasn’t under fire was the prompt to talk to a rep instead of pressing 1 to confirm that the charge is valid. Next time, the spammers won’t make that mistake. (BTW, there was on more thing that alerted me, but I won’t list it here. Don’t want to give away ALL our secrets to scammers, do we?)

Now I’m left wondering if the idea was to verify my identity or whether a real person would come on the line and try to elicit my credit card details. I guess we’ll never know.

OR, we’ll find out next Prime Day.

Stay safe folks. Both Amazon and scammers want to steal your money.

Reverse Instant Gratification

More than a month ago, I subscribed my wife to some print magazines. We’ve never had those lying around at our home here (newspapers and magazines were common in India) and I just thought it might be a good addition to her media diet. Ever since, every few days, she asks me what the status of the magazines is. The problem is that print magazines have ridiculous starting dates for new subscriptions. The promised first set is not going to arrive till the end of April. This is just weird. I did some digging and found out that print magazines run on a thin budget for subscriptions and so the process to add someone to the list and publish specifically for them is a long-drawn out process. Or it’s just a scam so they can get you into the next year’s subscription for an exorbitant price. Whatever.

But a week ago, one of the magazines showed up. It was a special edition which was already in print. That was nice of them, I thought. Perhaps it was an additional copy and they decided to send it to people who’d recently signed up. It being a nice surprise, Jahanvi settled in to read it one evening. Within forty-five minutes, she was done. Most of the magazine was ads and the rest was fluff. Didn’t take her long to parse through.

The same evening, we were watching one of her favorite TV shows. It comes on Hulu and trickles down one episode at a time, on weeks they deign us viewers important enough to shower their little trinkets on us. After the episode finished and the end-advert rolled, what was left was a bad taste in the mouth, a hankering for more. In the world of Netflix, Plex Media Server, and Amazon Prime Video, we’re stuck with Hulu and real-time TV. Pathetic.

That’s when we started discussing this topic – reverse instant gratification. In an age of instant gratification, when we give our time and attention to something that doesn’t reciprocate in the same way, that thing is getting the gratification that we ought to be deriving from it. When the magazine came, it was read instantly and we have to now wait patiently for the next. When the episode aired, we devoured it, and were left smacking our lips at the aftertaste of that carefully crafted forty-one minute drama. We gave to those things, the Reverse Instant Gratification that we feel we deserve from them. The system is RIGged! 🙂

Such is the state of affairs. We, the consumers, the binge watchers, the devourers of CDNs, are sometimes left hat in hand, begging for morsels of things running too live for our taste. It’s unfair! It’s unjust! It’s a mockery of everything Netflix holds dear! Just putting that out there.