Upstream Amazon, but now with a paddle, finally

I wrote about my (now) 3-week ordeal when a tech over at Amazon.uk (Vishnu, you should be fired) for cancelling BOTH my UK and US account when I asked him to leave the US one alone. Three times.

My 5th attempt I tried using some ALL CAPS while writing in the chat with the support tech person. When the final result was another promise to email me with the login details, 4 times before without results, I asked who the boss was, and got a name. THIS time, I actually DID receive and email. But it directed me back to support. I click on the link, and I am back at square one. I go through the same process with the new tech, hoping this time something different would happen. Nope. SO I START YELLING FOR THE BOSS, FLIPPING OUT and pointing out this was my sixth attempt. The tech finally put me in contact with his boss, who discovered the problem and had my old account reinstated in less than 3 minutes.

The lesson from all this? I am going to find a way to save all my Kindle books locally, so I am not dependant on Amazon su- su- su- sucky support. Also, I am downloading all my highlights from books past. You never know how much you depend on something until you lose it. I was fortunate to get it back.

Amazon has me by the Books

I have had a frightening experience with Amazon over the new year vacation, and extending into the year, that has opened my eyes about the power relationship between seller (Amazon) and “buyer” (me) in digital commerce. I have ignored Cory Doctorow and EFF and their warnings about how buying hundreds of books (I have 320) at Amazon, they have power over you. For all of its daunted reputation, Amazon depends on having the power in the relationship. I cannot walk away. That leaves me begging for Customer Support. Long story below, I will try to get through it as quick as possible so you can see the effect. But this could happen at iTunes with your music. Google is a bit different because you can back up your content locally, so is more beholden.

Time for a Digital Bill of Rights.

Initial Question: I want to close my amazon.co.uk account because I have not lived there in years. I want to keep my amazon.com and my amazon.co.jp accounts open. 

01:57 AM GMT Vishn)u(Amazon): Thank you for contacting Amazon.co.uk. My name is Vishnu.
Am I chatting with Kevin Ryan?
01:57 AM GMT Kevin Ryan:, I am Kevin Ryan
01:58 AM GMT Vishnu: Hello Kevin ,hope you are doing good,I do understand your concern regarding the account close I will be very glad to help you with this.
01:59 AM GMT Kevin Ryan: Thank you, I wanted to make sure that will not affect the other two amazon accounts I have. 
02:01 AM GMT Vishnu: I have successfully closed your account 
02:02 AM GMT Kevin Ryan: Thank you. I can still use my other two accounts, correct?
02:02 AM GMT Vishnu: yes

Chat with Amazon.co.uk support Dec 28, 2018 (Excerpted)

OK, so then

10:51 PM PST Justin(Amazon): Hello, my name is Justin. I’m here to help you today.
10:52 PM PST Kevin Ryan: I recently closed my account at Amazon.co.uk and Vishnu, the tech, assured me that would not affect my Amazon.com account.
10:53 PM PST Kevin Ryan: But now I cannot access. The address is my@address.com
Here is the chat transcript
(Copy of Visnu’s transcript)

10:55 PM PST Justin: So you cannot access your Amazon.com account?
10:55 PM PST Kevin Ryan: That is correct.
11:01 PM PST Kevin Ryan: You there?
11:01 PM PST Josephine(Amazon): Hello, my name is Josephine. I’m sorry your previous chat disconnected.
11:04 PM PST Kevin Ryan: Visnu, when he disconnected my.co.uk account, also must have closed my main account at .com
11:06 PM PST Josephine: Yes, Kevin. Upon checking I see that your prime account in Amazon.com is closed.
11:07 PM PST Kevin Ryan: My main Amazon.com account is almost 20 years old, Prime, with about 320 books.
If you could resurrect it, please. 
11:09 PM PST Josephine: I understand your concern, Kevin. 
In this case, I’ll submit the form to our Account close team. 
11:10 PM PST Josephine: They will contact you within 24 hours
And respond to the E-mail.
11:10 PM PST Kevin Ryan: OK…Does that mean it will take some time over the holidays?
OK, I will be on the lookout for the email. 
11:11 PM PST Josephine: Thanks for your understanding, Kevin.
11:12 PM PST Josephine: Before that for security reasons, 
Could you please confirm …..(security check)
11:22 PM PST Josephine: I’m really sorry for any inconvenience this has caused for you, Kevin.
11:22 PM PST Kevin Ryan: As long as we can get it fixed.
11:22 PM PST Josephine: I’ve successfully submitted the account reopen form on behalf of you.
11:22 PM PST Kevin Ryan: OK. 
11:22 PM PST Josephine: You’ll receive an E-mail from our team within 24 hours.​

Amazon.com Customer Support with Justin (then Josephine, after line was dropped). December 31, 2018

We’re sorry that the Amazon US account was cancelled mistakenly by the previous associate.
We’ve submitted the Account Reinstatement Form regarding this matter and an Account Specialist /Escalation Specialist will get in touch with you
via email within 2-3 business days from now.

After phone support session with Amazon.com with Joe. Jan 2, 2019

Initial Question: My content and devices have disappeared.

02:04 PM PST Joel(Amazon): Hello, my name is Joel. I’m here to help you today.
02:10 PM PST Kevin Ryan: Long story. (recounts history)
Chat logs available. 
02:12 PM PST Joel: I am really sorry for the inconvenience caused. 
02:14 PM PST Joel: In this case I will forward this issue to our account specialist team. They will check and help you with this issue.
You will receive an email within 24 hours regarding the account issue. 
hope this works for you?
02:15 PM PST Kevin Ryan: This is the third time I have heard this message. 
02:15 PM PST Joel: There is no need for any concern.
02:16 PM PST Kevin Ryan: Right. Third time is a charm? I guess I will have to wait. Again. Thank you. 

Amazon.com Support chat January 10, 2019

The saga continues. I contacted Andrea by phone on January 11. I thought maybe being upset and angry might work–I’ve tried polite. I was gruff and impolite, just short of swearing–although I did say this whole scenario “scared the shit out of me”. I went through the whole process again.

Andrea: I relayed your information to the team trained to handle this scenario. You should hear back from them in the next 1-2 business days.
If you have any concern you can give us a callback at anytime.

And nada, nyet, nothing. Again. Time to consider legal action. Amazon just stole 320 of my books, and thousands of my highlights, which I often use for research and work.

New Weakly Post

Instead of posting so much on Facebook, I am going to collect ideas here. Each week, I plan to publish on the weekend a set of new stuff that I find each week. See the new stuff from this week. (And yes, I know I misspelled it. Makes it easier to search for.)

No more Nutella

Got this for Christmas. I don’t eat that much Nutella, but now I can’t at all. This is sooo good. Did you know that Nutella and this spread are made from chocolate and hazelnuts? And hazelnuts are grown in Turkey (1) and Italy (2) and consumed mostly in Italy. Nutella uses about half of all hazelnuts.

In Politics, we see that the detention camp in Tornillo Texas is slated to close down. Also note that since its opening in June, it has cost $144 million. That is $400/day/child. They could have been housed in the Presidential Suite of most hotels for that. Also note that the word “tornillo” in Spanish means screw or bolt, as in the phrase “tighten the screws.” Midieval.

Watch this 20-minute video on a group of activists against animal abuse as part of corporate meat manufacturing. They may face decades in prison, yet continue. Sounds almost as crazy as the laws the companies were able to get passed in corrupt state governments. Another symptom of end-stage capitalism.

EdTech: Audrey Watters used to write a series of articles at the end of the year about trends in EdTech. I read all 30,000+ words religiously each year. This year, she is working on a book, so only wrote one article, and it is a doozy.