In medieval times, people would throw salt over their shoulder for luck. The left shoulder is the correct one, in part because people are generally right handed, but in main because the devil always sneaks up on you from the sinistral side of the body. Best to simply hit him with a handful in the eye to ward off evil.
A few old nemesis similarly need exorcism, so a friend and I opened a window and a bottle of prosecco, airing our 2010 demons out of our lives.
- ANWB: This is a travel and road service agency, similar to AAA in the US. For two years, I have been trying to end my membership with them, first because I didn’t have a car, and then because insurance was included with the lease. Each Christmas, they send a notice saying that I was pre-renewed and asking 100 euro payment. I refused, thinking they would drop the subscription: instead they referred it to a collection agency. I have now pre-pre-quit for 2012.
- Residence Housing: This makelaar completely messed up my move last spring, so I withheld 1/3 of their payment until we could meet and they could complete what they were supposed to do. Instead, they deducted the rest of the fee from my rent payment as they processed it, brightly thanking me and saying it was now a problem between my landlord and I. All brokers are sharks, but these are the worst.
- ING: I have my business bank accounts with ING, one of the larger banks sprawled across the Low Countries. They went through a transformation from Old-ING to new-ING during the enforced Dutch bank reorganizations last fall. In November, this resulted in my being cut off from Internet Banking for four weeks while we navigated the proper procedure to get new passwords sent and activation from the local office. Now we are unable to make electronic payments for a month because the bank cannot send TAN-Codes, required for transfer approvals. ING argues that procedures must be followed; I’ve been unable to make payments for two months. One more week, then I close the accounts and start over elsewhere.
Other bogeymen, KPN, T-Mobile, and VGZ, have been very well behaved the past months, processing payments and delivering services with little fuss. So, it’s a good start to the new year to let go of the old battles and start the new year fresh.
Along with exercise, diet, more sleep, less stress, and a clean agenda. And a pinch of salt, tossed against the clear Dutch sky for luck.