In this particular case I woke up jonesing a for a vacation, just a tremendous desire to get away. So I thought that I'd conduct a little investigation of potential getaways. As the cashflow is a little tight right now I decided that I might as well consider using some of the frequent flyer mileage I have accrued.
Sounds simple enough, doesn't it.
Well, don't let that simple sound fool you because the customer oriented airlines have made this into a complex exercise that is better suited as an entrance exam to some secret society. You see in order to determine if I have earned enough miles to qualify for free airfare and hotels I went to their website to review the terms.
The experience rather reminded me of the contract scene in a Night At The Opera. Here is a very brief excerpt of that. If you want to read the whole thing you can find it here.
Driftwood: All right, fine. Now here are the contracts. You just put his name at the top and you sign at the bottom. There's no need of you reading that because these are duplicates.I am sure that you get the picture. I spent a good twenty minutes reviewing it and in no time at all I realized that I didn't learn a single thing at all other than frequent fliers can redeem their mileage for free tickets. Free being the operative word because we all know that these tickets aren't really free.
Fiorello: Yeah, they's a duplicates.
Driftwood: I say they're duplicates.
Fiorello: Why sure they's a duplicates...
Driftwood: Don't you know what duplicates are?
Fiorello: Sure. There's five kids up in Canada.
Driftwood: Well, I wouldn't know about that. I haven't been to Canada in years. Well go ahead and read it.
Fiorello: What does it say?
Driftwood: Well, go on and read it!
Fiorello: You read it.
Driftwood: All right, I'll read it to ya. Can you hear?
Fiorello: I haven't heard anything yet. Did you say anything?
Driftwood: Well, I haven't said anything worth hearing.
Fiorello: Well, that's why I didn't hear anything.
Driftwood: Well, that's why I didn't say anything.
Fiorello: Can you read?
Driftwood (struggling to read the fine print): I can read but I can't see it. I don't seem to have it in focus here. If my arms were a little longer, I could read it. You haven't got a baboon in your pocket, have ya? Here, here, here we are. Now I've got it. Now pay particular attention to this first clause because it's most important. It says the, uh, "The party of the first part shall be known in this contract as the party of the first part." How do you like that? That's pretty neat, eh?
Fiorello: No, it's no good.
Driftwood: What's the matter with it?
Fiorello: I don't know. Let's hear it again.
Driftwood: It says the, uh, "The party of the first part shall be known in this contract as the party of the first part."
Fiorello: (pausing) That sounds a little better this time.
Driftwood: Well, it grows on ya. Would you like to hear it once more?
Fiorello: Uh, just the first part.
Driftwood: What do you mean? The party of the first part?
Fiorello: No, the first part of the party of the first part.
Driftwood: All right. It says the, uh, "The first part of the party of the first part shall be known in this contract as the first part of the party of the first part shall be known in this contract" - look, why should we quarrel about a thing like this? We'll take it right out, eh?
Fiorello: Yeah, it's a too long, anyhow. (They both tear off the tops of their contracts.) Now, what do we got left?
Driftwood: Well, I got about a foot and a half. Now, it says, uh, "The party of the second part shall be known in this contract as the party of the second part."
So you try and determine what zone your desired destination is in. Then you have to compare the zone to the time of year because that impacts how many miles you need, not to mention what type of ticket you want.
All I know is that by the time this exercise in futility was done I was ready to take a slide rule and use it to smack some sense into the skull of whatever demented individual devised this fercockteh plan. But that is not going to happen because the complaint department is located in lower cleveland and I am just not willing to suffer the indignity of walking through that shantytown.
But enough of this. Onto bigger and better posts.