I just left in my wake a small swath of discomfiture at a major American corporation that will remain nameless to protect the guilty. You see, after my final bill for cell phone service, said corporation said I still owed them $1.99. I thought about not paying it, but I did.

So today I receive an adjusted final bill that showed said corporation owing me a credit of $1.77. I call to request a refund and am told variously, by four different employees moving higher up the organizational chart, that $1.77 is not enough to warrant a refund, writing the check would cost the corporation more than it was worth, and they only issue refunds for $4.50 or more.

My blood boiled. I announced, quite clearly, that I was not angry with the person on the phone but the corporation. . . . Well, let’s say that’s a different matter and that my conversation was sprinkled with “petty larceny on a corporate scale” and “class-action lawsuits” and “who gave you the right to decide how much of my money you get to keep?” Each time I was told no, I said, “I want to speak to your supervisor.”

Finally I got a young woman who as much as intimated she was breaking the rules by authorizing a refund for such a little amount, “but because you’re so upset,” she would do it. When I cash the check, I’m planning on sending back a note of thanks and saying that while I appreciate the corporation’s belated sensitivity to my upset feelings, refunding the money because it wasn’t theirs to keep in the first place would have been a much more satisfactory solution.

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