A couple days ago a $200 charge appeared on my credit card without my approval. It was for a National Association of Professional Women membership renewal. The charge appeared more than a month in advance of the renewal date.
I called immediately and told them my intention was not to renew and to cancel the membership and refund my money. The representative told me ALL members know their auto-renew policy, and they wouldn't refund my money.
While trying to keep my cool, I told her I did not know this policy, and the practice shows a lack of integrity. I asked her to cancel my membership and refund my money, again.
The representative spoke with her "supervisor" and returned to tell me they would reduce my membership by $100, and I could still take advantage of all the "perks" for another 13 months.
Astonishing! I was clear with my instructions, and she was refusing! She would still charge me $100, without my approval, for something I did not want.
I asked her if she would charge me this fee for a service I did not want if she knew I would share this injustice with every person I know, or if she would do the right thing and honor the customer, me. Again she stepped away to speak to her "supervisor" and returned telling me they would further reduce my membership to $50. And, I would still have full access to the "perks!"
At this point, my son was standing next to me, curious about the cause of my raised voice and threats. (Silver lining: this is not a familiar occurrence.)
I made it clear to the representative that I expect a full refund and a canceled membership. Still, she would not grant my request.
At that moment, I became a disgruntled member of an organization I disdain.
I went for a run.
I wanted to gain perspective. I wanted to see my part in this interaction gone wrong.
It is easy to stand in judgment and blame — the representative is likely doing the same. (Or maybe not, I'm small fish in a big pond.)
These things are true:
I feel appalled by the dishonest and misleading business practices of the National Association of Professional Women. Their lack of integrity overshadows any potential benefit.
Also true; injustice was fueling my anger.
Beneath my outrage at their unscrupulous business practices was a disappointment in myself. When I joined last year, I felt wary of their sales representative. Rather than listening to my internal voice, I told myself to have an open mind and to try it out. I didn't trust my intuition.
Now, digging below my blame is remorse. For it is ME I need to trust, not organizations making big promises.
The next time you find yourself making excuses or blaming someone for your misfortune, anger, fear, failure, hurt, embarrassment, humiliation, or loneliness, dig deeper. Go beneath what you're telling yourself. Go against your nature. Resist externalizing your experiences and locate the true home of your feelings and reactions.
Then sit with the discomfort that comes with taking personal responsibility. Unease is the impetus for change.
Few are strong enough for this work.
What are you telling yourself right now?
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