Discussions of Mormons and Mormon life, Book of Mormon issues and evidences, and other Latter-day Saint (LDS) topics.

Friday, March 31, 2006

One More Way to Help Missionaries Prepare: Cancel XBox Live and Other Accounts

Unfortunately, a lot of young people sign up for services like XBox Live that offer a free trial period, followed by endless annual charges. In the case of XBox Live from Microsoft, customer service insists that the only way to cancel is for the user to call - they won't accept a letter asking for cancellation. If someone goes on a mission and forgets to cancel first, they'll get a couple years of charges before they get back, and parents won't be able to cancel, unless they get a power of attorney document faxed in and make the call themselves, or unless the missionary calls directly (which may not always be possible).

I'm not saying that I know any parents who wasted time in vain trying to cancel this ridiculous and wasteful service that some current missionaries tried out before they went on missions, nor am I saying that there is anything wrong with making it difficult for people to get out of ridiculous and wasteful services, nor am I saying that XBox Live is a ridiculous, wasteful, and overpriced service that young people should flee from.

I'm just trying to say two things: Point #1: A good way to help young people be fully prepared for missions is to make sure that they don't have surprise charges that will show up on their credit cards while on missions. And Point #2: If you translate "XBox Live" into Sanskrit and add up the characters with numeric meaning, I'm confident that you'll get 666. Or at least something close to that or the square root. In any case, it's clearly evil. (Oh my goodness - I see it! Roman numerals! Look at the letters in "XBOX LIVE". There are 3 Roman 6's present: VI VI VI = 666! The first is the upper half of the first "X", followed by the straight line of "B". The next is the upper half of the second "X" followed by the vertical line of the "L". The last is the "V" itself followed by the straight line of the "E". Wow, and all this time I thought that 666 was Bill Gates. I owe him an apology.)

Back to reality: Make sure your kids clearly go over their finances and pending bills that might be difficult to clear up on a mission. In general, I think it's wise for all of us to avoid services that begin with a free trial followed by automatic renewals through billing to your credit card. It's easy to forget about some of these or to cancel too late.

3 comments:

Generic said...

Hahaha, oh brother. I can appreciate your concern for unexpected expendatures, but really Xbox Live isn't so bad. It's a nice way to have fun and stay connected with distant friends aside from simple emailing. Considering its only like $80 (Canadian) a year, I'd say its pretty low on the list of wasteful spending...

John said...

I, personally, see video game playing as a more pressing time management than financial issue. While there are minor benefits to playing games (such as developing logic/problem-solving skills), let nobody fool you into thinking they are playing computer games for any other reason than light entertainment (which is definately not a bad thing--I just always laugh when people point to the "real" reasons they play). Computer game playing has a tendency to become an addictive behavior, eating away hours upon hours of precious time--time that could be used reading a book, studying the scriptures, playing sports, developing social and conversation skills amongst real humans, ect. For someone preparing to serve a mission, this type self-indulgent wastefulness would be a good item in which to regain control. I don't see anything inherently evil about x-box live in particular (other than that microsoft is behind it) or in many of the other avenues for gaming, so long as there is balance and control from the user.

Back closer to topic, I completely agree about carefully and completely setting our financial affairs in order before departing for our missions. My younger brother forgot to cancel his cell phone service and a gym membership, both of which required him to personally call in to discontinue billing. What a needless mess that created. Both eventually got resolved, but only after several annoying months of frustrating effort and hundreds of wasted dollars. It was a headache for my parents and an effective distraction for my proselyting brother, all because he didn't bother to think beforehand. When he got home, I gave him a good shot to the arm for that one.

Bookslinger said...

"I'm not saying that I know any parents who wasted time ..... nor am I saying that there is anything wrong with making it difficult .... , nor am I saying that XBox Live is a ridiculous, ...."

That reminds me. Pres Hinckley said at a past conference "I'm not saying Katrina was punishment from God.