The Gong Show

Somewhat ironic how I manage to keep the editorials coming while my parents are here, but as soon as they go away, I play truant. I blame some kind of post-traumatic stress syndrome. I wonder if I could claim relief under the laws here which prevent discrimination against anyone with a disability? I probably could, going by a couple of recent cases in the paper. One woman claimed that she should be allowed to keep her large dog in an apartment complex that didn’t allow them, because it helped her depression (she was a bit vague on why it had to be a large dog), while another woman, fired from her job for lateness due to excessive preening and time spent putting on her make-up, is now suing under the same law, claiming that she has obsessive-compulsive disorder.

Whatever happened to people taking responsibility for their own actions? Or even, it’s your problem, don’t expect us to deal with it? Sorry, mate: not allowed to do that any more, it’s always something else’s fault. And if you can’t find a syndrome to blame, feel free to make one up!

Speaking of excessive preening, there was an entire convention’s-worth of that going on last night, with it being the Oscars. It was my first experience of seeing them live; the time-lag meant that when I was in Britain, they were on in the middle of the night, and besides, the nominees were usually uninteresting anyway. This year was rather different, with both Gladiator and Crouching Tiger getting a sheaf of nominations, so I had something to cheer for.

Overall, it wasn’t as turgid as I feared – the most boring thing was the new Pepsi commercial featuring Britney Spears, which had lost even my interest half-way through the first time it was screened: yes, you’re saying “Drink Pepsi” – we get the point already! Though I confess that we were rarely sitting there in rapt attention: dinner was had, everything cleared away, orders were packed and much chatting was done, in between the actual envelope-opening. Steve Martin isn’t a person I have a great deal of time for, but he did a decent-enough job as host, whizzing through proceedings breezily enough [After one joke he made about Tom Hanks, Mr.H did not look pleased in the slightest, which is enough reason on its own to put Martin up in my estimation a notch or two]

Not all Oscars are equal, however – I noticed that short and long documentaries got cobbled together with one presenter (as did original and adapted screenplays, which tells you a great deal about the position of the writer on the Hollywood totem-pole). Not too bothered about that though, when it looked as if every feature-length documentary was about one repressed minority or other – the bleeding-heart agenda of Hollywood strikes again. I blame Steven Spielberg, myself.

The acceptance speeches were interesting; one of the Crouching Tiger winners seemed to want to name-check everyone in Far East individually, rattling them off with a speed which seemed more befitting dialogue from a Stephen Chow film. At the other end, Steven Soderbergh said he’d thank people later, and just gave a hearty “well done” to everyone who’s an artist. Gee, thanks, Steve! And then there was Julia Roberts in uber-flight; going by that performance, I’m not sure how much of the applause was her brain cells banging together. And finally, I noticed they’d made a point of ditching “And the winner is…” in favour of “And the Oscar goes to…”. Winning implies losing, and in modern America, there can be no such thing.

Or if you do lose, it’s surely just the fault of your obsessive-compulsive disorder. Now, who can you sue?

More on Why PayPal Sucks

Messages on

The following thread was copied from, because I don’t think it exists there any more, but it gives a good sense of how good PayPal Customer Service is i.e. not at all…

January 19, 2001 08:39 AM

Does anyone have any idea how to get in touch with PayPal, other than through their website fill in form (maybe by phone…)? I am desparate. I won a Yahoo! auction in October and the seller went defunct. I have tried relentlessly to contact PayPal and have filled out all their damn forms and sent all the appropriate materials, but they refuse to return my emails and I’m desparate to wrap up my claim. I have no idea what the status is and I’m owed $500! Please help in any way possible!!! Any ideas Geoff?

January 19, 2001 10:55 AM

I have had trouble with paypal also. I will never use them again. Someone tried to pay me with a stolen credit card, and my money was tied up for months. The only people at paypal that were any help were Todd, he is a CSR, and Amy, she is a supervisor. Ask for either of them, and don’t waste your time with the others. No one ever responded to the emails I sent them either.

January 19, 2001 08:40 PM

I too have had problems with them, they need to shape up or ship out. I too am waiting for 75.00 from them, its been 2mths. When I make a payment, I have to do it three or four times for it to go thru.

January 22, 2001 12:27 PM

PayPal’s customer service is ridiculous. I asked for a supervisor today, and this lady said she didn’t have one. Grrr. Had to call about 5 times, and my account is STILL RESTRICTED WRONGLY! GRRRRRRRR

January 22, 2001 01:38 PM

Paypal has also wrongly restricted my account, and i’ve been trying to get it unrestricted for a month now. It has nearly 500 dollars in it and I am astounded by this company’s lack of help. I have emailed probably 25 times and gotten 2 replies and calling isn’t any help either. Once I get my money from this place I will never use them again.

January 22, 2001 02:44 PM

Yup, the people at Paypal are a bunch of pretentious dolts. They have no idea of what customer service is. I’ve never had any of my problems resolved…they just kind of ignore you and treat you like an idiot. If it wasn’t free to use, I’d say the place would go belly up within weeks.

January 22, 2001 04:09 PM

Just hassle them daily non-stop. Ask to speak with a supervisor right away and tell them you emailed a zillion times and called a zillion times. I think today was my 10th call or something and they FINALLY unblocked my account. God, they are awful when it comes to customer service. I would advise to keep your money in there for umm, as less time as possible. i know someone personally that has had money taken back from their account for a transaction FOUR MONTHS ago. I hope they can prevent the real fraudulent people instead of hassling people that haven’t done anything wrong.

January 22, 2001 09:34 PM

I ordered $2700 worth of stuff from a seller (who took the money and ran) on Yahoo auctions in AUGUST, filled out all of the forms, and was only given back half of the money. It took the better part of 2 solid months of emails back and forth to finally get the rest of my money. At least I did finally get it back.

January 23, 2001 01:26 PM

Well, after a month of emailing and calling PayHELL they finally unrestricted my account today. I hope things go well for anyone else trying to get their account unrestricted.

January 23, 2001 03:53 PM

I have been hearing complaints about PAYPAL all the time. I am thinking about closing my account in fear that some of this might happen to me. I too have heard numerous stories about Paypal’s horrible customer service. Lets keep this thread going to inform everyone that PAYPAL isn’t the great company everyone thinks it is.

Why PayPal Sucks

PayPal is a brilliantly simple idea. Unfortunately, only half of that statement applies to PayPal Customer Service, who are without a doubt, the biggest bunch of useless tossers – not a word I use often, but in this case, even I can’t find a better one – on the Internet.

This started when I tried to open a personal account – we’ve got one here, for the Trash City jewellery business, but I wanted a separate one of my own. If I was buying Chris a birthday present, the last thing I wanted was for its purchase to turn up on our account! Already being a business member, this should be a piece of cake.

Or so I thought. And the first part was, indeed, plain sailing. But when I typed in the credit card details, it was rejected because, so they claimed, they could not verify the billing address. A call to PayPal Customer Services (or, to be more exact, an unanswered email, on February 8th, and a follow-up call – it’s nice to see PayPal supporting care in the community by employing the mentally retarded) revealed that I had to type it in exactly as it is on my credit card statement. This I did. Still no dice.

A further flurry of attempting to communicate with the dead followed. Here’s PayPal’s next letter to me, dated March 8th – a month down the line:

“I apologize for the inconvenience in not being able to add/use the credit card ending 1134 in the PayPal system. Since we are a non face-to-face transaction provider, our process for accepting cards is more stringent and complicated. This process helps prevent the use of stolen and unauthorized cards for making PayPal payments. Because this process is very complex, it does occasionally impact valid cards. The denial of this credit card is not reflective of your credit worthiness. In these instances where a good card fails these checks, we suggest you try another card in the system.”

To which I replied, that same day:

Unfortunately, trying “another card” is not possible. The credit card you rejected is my sole one, which I have held for over a decade – without, I might add, having ever exceeded my credit limit or abused it in any way.

While I accept that you need to be stringent about accepting cards, you are the first company to refuse to acknowledge it; other “non face-to-face transaction providers” (for example, Amazon) have been quite happy to accept it for on-line purchases. It would thus seem that the problem is with your system, rather than my card.

But even if an automated system refused to accept it, a single phone-call would surely be sufficient to confirm that the details I provided were accurate, and that the card is neither “stolen” nor “unauthorised”. But I want to work with you to solve the problem – although you have yet to explain what that actually *is*! If, as my original attempt suggested, it is an inability to verify my billing address, I am willing to supply copies (or even originals) of my statements, or whatever other evidence you require to verify the card.

My fiancee and I have been business members of PayPal in good standing for a significant length of time, with tens of thousands of dollars having been processed through us. Yet when I try to set up a simple personal PayPal account, you are unable to assist. This is unacceptable: it gives the impression of a company indifferent to customer satisfaction, and that goes totally against our own standards of practice. If we do not receive a satisfactory explanation, we will certainly have to reconsider our association with you – I am writing from the account associated with my business, to stress the seriousness of this matter.

Paypal’s response?

Your card was denied due to a difference in the address where you receive your monthly billing statements for this credit card and the billing address indicated on your PayPal account. Please check your credit card statement to make sure that the address where you receive your monthly billing statements for this credit card is exactly the same as the address on your account. This includes abbreviations, CAPs, punctuation, etc. Please also note that his declination of your card is not reflective of your credit or credit worthiness.

Can you spell F-O-R-M-L-E-T-T-E-R? Ironically, at the bottom of this response was a footnote: “We at PayPal would like to know how well this response accommodated your request…If this email did not meet your expectations:”. Needless to say, my next letter was copied to that address as well…

This is rapidly becoming a complete fiasco. Your email tells me nothing I did not learn the very FIRST TIME I emailed customer services… The email which I sent…follows AGAIN, because your reply above is obviously a stock response, sent without actually bothering to look at my email in any detail, and completely fails to address any of the issues I raised. Please *read* it this time!

You might also want to look and see how many people my fiancee and I have referred to PayPal through the business account detailed above; I think that, given this, we deserve better customer service than a standard email when we try to open a personal account. Once again, I look forward to hearing from you shortly – this time with a proper resolution of the problem.

Okay, so that last paragraph smacks of desperation a little bit. 🙂 But after the usual automated acknowledgement thanking me for my interest, and only three days later:

Thank you for contacting PayPal. We apologize for the delay in responding to your service request. We apologize for not meeting your expectations and for the difficulty you have had in trying to add this credit card.

Unfortunately, because of our security procedures, the website is not accepting the address that you are entering for your credit card. If you have checked your credit card billing statement and you are entering your address exactly the way it is seen on your billing statement and we still are not accepting it, you will need to obtain another card to add to this account. We do apologize for the frustration and inconvenience this is causing you. However, if the system will not accept it, there is nothing we can do.

So, they were suggesting that I should go to all the trouble of applying for and obtaining another credit card, purely to accomodate the deficiencies of their system! How nice of them! I even tried applying from an entirely separate email address – still, no luck. As for their “there is nothing we can do” comment, here are the suggestions I came up with for them:

  • 1) Explain why your system is rejecting a valid credit card. I am quite prepared to PROVE that I am supplying the correct address.
  • 2) Fix your system so that it works properly.
  • 3) Verify the credit card details manually.
  • 4) Activate the account manually? I will then transfer in money from the business account and charge my credit card with the amount. Oddly, OUR system – along with Amazon and, it seems, everyone else on the Internet apart from PayPal – is quite willing to accept my card as valid.
If you’re trying to
contact Customer Service,
you’d better…

To which they replied: “I would suggest you contact your credit card company and see what the correct mailing address would be, to use for a verification.” No: fuck you – I amn’t going to waste any more time trying to work around the inadequacies of your system. So there, for the moment, the matter rests: option 4 is exactly what I did anyway. They keep very quiet about it, but you don’t need a credit card or a bank account to use PayPal, just get someone who does to transfer money across. It thus doesn’t matter whether or not I hear again from PayPal Customer Service (a true oxymoron), but if I do, I’ll post it here.

If anyone else is having PayPal problems, I’d like to hear from you. We are rapidly discovering that it has all the bureaucracy of a bank, with none of the safeguards. On the business side, we have noticed a steady increase in the numbers of people using Billpoint rather than PayPal – if I were you, I would certainly consider keeping as small a balance in there as you can…

It’s not just me who has an appalling opinion of their Customer Service.

Neil from Canada writes: “So I recently had a dealing with a fraudulent seller (purchased a software application that was bogus) on paypal, and when I contacted paypal regarding this they said “Yes, we are aware that you’ve gotten ripped off, but there’s nothing we can do, since the product you purchased is an intangible item. You are going to have to contact your credit card company.”

So I contacted my credit card company and the fraud investigations department investigated and found it a clear case of fraud and charged back the amount. What does Paypal do? They put a whole bunch of limitations on my account (limited my purchase amount to $100, from $1500) and dispute the verdict from the fraud department of my cc. I didn’t really want to be a buyer on Paypal anymore after this anyway but just for shits and giggles I emailed them asking why my account was limited. This was their response:

“Thank you for contacting PayPal with your concern. If a buyer goes outside of PayPal to dispute, we reserve the right to limit the account. This is dependent upon many factors.”

So basically “if a buyer” tries to resolve a dispute through the very means that PayPal in fact suggested since they weren’t going to do anything to help me, they will basically punish me by making sure I can’t buy anything of value anymore.

Session Wrestling

Session Wrestlers engage in Private Matches which are for commerce.  The girls are paid regardless of winning or losing.  No one will know and it will not affect their persona or their ring careers.  And, there are many pro wrestlers who do this….some on the list, some not.  A few are among the biggest names in the sport.  Some of them advertise, and others don’t. Because these are private and discreet matches, Session Wrestlers bring no harm to Pro Wrestling.

A Session Wrestler is a woman who wrestles an opponent for money in a private match out of pubic view.  The operative terms here are “money” and “private.” The location of the Session is usually a place where privacy and discretion can be assured.  This may be in a ring, but is more frequently in an apartment or a hotel suite. The Wrestler can be a professional (ring wrestler) or an amateur wrestler or a bodybuilder. The Match is generally mixed.  Usually there are no observers.

The nature of the match can be fantasy, semi-competitive, or competitive.  This is usually discussed and agreed to in the matchmaking stage.  Also, discussed at this stage is the fee paid to the Session Wrestler, the location, need for privacy and discretion, rules (pins, submissions, holds allowed and not allowed), duration, and attire. As you can see, these matches are engaged in by consenting adults.  The operative word is “consenting.”

You might be surprised to know that a good number of “professional women wrestlers” engage in these matches.  Be careful who you criticize as well as who you don’t criticize. They wrestle in Private Sessions and their privacy is respected.  What they do in private is their business and done for their reasons.  However, most of the women are doing it for the money (much better than what they get for a pro match) and not for any sexual thrill or to test their skill against a man.

Rules: neither wrestler wants to be injured or marked.  Therefore, tactics such as scratching, gouging, kicking, kneeing, punching are forbidden.  Tap outs are permitted.  This is not a matter of physical strength and superiority.  The man is usually, but not always, the stronger of the two.  But he may want to be dominated or wrestle down so that strength is not a determining factor in the match.  Pro moves such as bodyslams, monkeyflips, etc. are usually banned because (a) they must be executed by a trained professional and (b) these moves would be dangerous on a hard surface.

Fantasy match: these tend to be more erotic.  Attire might include topless for the woman but does not include overt sex.  However, face sitting and breast smothering may be preferred tactics.  Pro women wrestlers don’t engage in these matches.  These are reserved for amateurs and bodybuilders.  Many bodybuilders are very free with exploiting their ample physiques and crave the adulation of the male species.  These women might also include “body worship” which is the flexing of their muscles and allowing their opponents to feel those muscles.  Amateurs are in this for the rolling around, contact, and sexual overtone aspects of fantasy sessions.  Also, there is a tendency to include domination in this category.

Semi-competitive match: no nudity or sex.  This is a fun match in which either wrestler may win a pin or a submission.  Who wins the most falls is unimportant.  Most professional women wrestlers fall into this category because strength is not a primary determinant and there is a low risk of injury.  Generally, patrons request the women to wear their ring regalia, i.e. boots, tights, etc.

Competitive: this match requires a definitive winner.  Skill, strength, agility, speed, stamina, etc., are significant factors.  Only the strongest professional women wrestlers  take on competitive matches; and some do quite successfully. More commonly, female bodybuilders gravitate to this type of match.  Holds are applied with such force that submissions are frequent and immediate or opponents can be held and “tortured.”

I hope this clarifies the term “Session Wrestling.”  Again, many pros you don’t think of as session wrestlers are, in fact, session wrestlers.  And, they do it for the money.

Submitted by an interested fan…

Doggy Style

One morning early last week, I was awoken at some ungodly hour by a strange noise. It sounded somewhere between the rasping of sandpaper, and a drain being unblocked; after a few minutes lying dazedly in bed, wondering whether it was going to stop, I finally decided to track down the source. It was coming from the floor of the room and after tracking down my glasses, I leaned over the side of the bed to be greeted with the disturbing sight of one of our dogs, Max, enthusiastically slurping away on his own genitals.

This was disturbing for a number of reasons. Max is old – in canine terms, he’s got a few years on the Queen Mother, so it was a bit like seeing said Royal in a split-beaver shot. It was undeniably an impressive feat, given that it takes Max longer to get to his feet than it takes a super-tanker to pull a handbrake turn, but it’s really not something I want to see, least of all first thing in the morning on an empty stomach. The sad part is, Max was thoroughly neutered well over a dozen years ago – it may be simply that he hasn’t actually noticed the absence of his testicles yet.

For, let’s face it, dogs are stupid. Loyal and obedient they may bem, but so are most members of HM Customs and Excise – I rest my case. Here, there’s hardly an hour goes past without another doggie-related sound, best summarised thus:
We can break this down into stages. The first barks are in response to any life-threatening occurrence – such as a postman – and are given while Cleo and Cody charge down the corridor as if in fear of their life. The slide-thump-scrabble occurs when they fail to make it through the tricky chicane outside our bedroom; they then forget all about the fractures, and charge off down the straightaway once more.

Even an earthworm is capable of learning the right way through a maze, given enough electrical shocks. Cleo and Cody are clearly lower on the evolutionary scale, having failed to learn that right-angled turns on freshly-cleaned tiles do not work, despite having taken (or rather, failed to take) that curve several thousand times in their short, moist-nosed lives.

One might like to compare and contrast the feline approach – while just as keen on reaching the parts us primates can’t reach, and equally vulnerable to newly-mopped floors (albeit with a greater aversion to water in general), there is a major difference to their approach:First, look around to see if anyone witnessed your humiliationIf they did, look at them with a face which implies “I meant to do that”.Remember: “When in doubt — wash”.Make a furry mental note not to go down that corridor ever again, even if it means starving to death.

For a cat, self-respect is just too important to be forgotten about – the worst thing you can do to is laugh at them. But here, I live in hope that one day, the second set of woofs from Cleo and Cody will be muffled because they have driven their heads clean through the wall. Of course, it could just be that the concussions have taken their toll, and we are now sharing the house with the canine equivalents of Muhammad Ali. Anyone know if he has a fondness for licking his own genitals too?