I am pretty much a professional quitter.
I should be, I have spent a considerable amount of my life dropping out of things. I’m not what you would call “good at follow through.”
I’ve joined gyms and quit. I think most people have. It may, in fact, be a requirement of adulthood.
“Do you currently or have you ever held a gym membership you have no intention of using?”
I tried out for drill team about one thousand years ago in high school just to prove to myself I could. Spoiler alert: I never actually took part in drill team.
They said something about practicing late into the evenings and on weekends and this girl, all lip gloss, sky-high hair and pressing plans to “hang out” on weekends, lost interest real quick.
I have quit diet plans like it was my job. I’ve opted out of clubs, lessons and more groups than I can count.
I am not a person who has a hard time saying “no thank you.” That is why it is such a mystery as to why I am suddenly having such a hard time quitting certain things.
Recently I realized I had an unused credit from one of those grocery subscription services that send food to your doorstep weekly.
It’s a pretty neat idea and one my mother has enjoyed. Her enjoyment, in fact, is what prompted me to recall that way back in 2017 I ended up with a credit for $79.80 on one of these that I needed to use up.
Never one to pass up free food, I dutifully logged on to the service provider (we will call them “Bowled,” to redeem my savings. I expected to use my credit and bow out without issue.
I was prompted to enter my credit card information while simultaneously assured I would not be charged. I could get my “free” food and then cancel immediately.
But wait, there’s more! Of course there is. There always is.
If you believe that’s how things went down, I’ve got a big old bridge in Brooklyn to sell you.
In a nutshell, I had a credit to use up. Then I canceled. Then they charged me anyway. So I called.
They said they were very sorry but there was nothing they could do to stop the current shipment (or charges). They did, however, offer me another credit.
Guess what happened at that point? Suffice to say it’s now less a food service subscription and more a hostage situation.
It’s annoying but on the other hand no one really offers too much pity when steaks keep showing up on the doorstep.
Breaking up with the cable company is also hard to do.
Over the past few years, our need for cable television channels and landline telephone has waned to the point. It’s like a middle school break up.
“You’ll learn to love me.”
“Give us another chance.”
Then, finally, “You’ll be sorry.”
To this day I’m pretty sure I have a telephone line we do not use because the cable company threatened to raise our rates if we cut it.
“I can’t quit you Cable Company.”
I am now leery of signing up on things. I have realized that once you are in their system, they are very reluctant to let you out.
There is really no excuse for me not realizing this sooner. I am a child of the 1970s and ’80s when record clubs were featured in every magazine on the shelves.
For the low price of a dime or even a penny, they would send you a pile of records or cassette tapes. Record clubs were forever “losing” the “please stop my subscription” cards and were notoriously difficult to quit.
They would send that monthly notification that you’d have to send back to avoid getting a KTel Album featuring Disco Duck in the return mail.
For all I know I still owe one of them for an Eddie Rabbit cassette I didn’t want in 1982.
I also grew up singing along to Hotel California — a song so ubiquitously tied to the summers of my youth that it is probably branded into the core of my DNA.
The Eagles sage advice to anyone considering signing up for almost anything that starts out fun still holds true today.
“You can check out anytime you like, but you can never leave.”