How Zeller's Club Z Ruined My Life
Back when I was in my late 20s, I noticed all my 30something
unmarried women coworkers were bitter and resentful. After a lot of
questioning, I discovered they were bitter and resentful because the life
plan they envisioned when they were 21 never came to pass. They had this idea
that by 30 they would be partners in a CA firm, they would have a husband, a
house, and they would be starting on their first child. And here they were
32, no husband, no child, and they were working for a tax software company.
As a final indignity, they had to work with geeks like me (Are you sure
you don't want to come to my
It never occurred to me I should have a life plan. Life just generally turns out pretty decently all the time. I'm never overly frustrated how the course of my life is going. Glitches happen but things smooth out. Anyway, peer pressure being what it is, I figured I needed an unrealistic life plan. I had to pick some arbitrary numerical marker and then a set of unrealistic goals... all with the understanding that if I did not reach these milestones, I could -- guilt free -- slip into the easy and rewarding life of a bitter and resentful thirty year old. I decided my life plan would be of the following:
Get married by the time I collected 500,000 Club Z points.
I had 370,000 and figured I'd easily pass the half mil mark by thirty. While seemingly arbitrary, it was seemingly a romantic thing too. Here's how I envisioned it. I'm down on one knee, I ask my beloved if she'll marry me, she says "Oh yes, Karl, yes... this is the happiest day of my life." Or so she thinks. It's only going to get better. I then say to her "Cheryl, I have a confession, something I've not told you for all these years we've been dating, I have 500,000 Club Z points and they are all yours to spend on a Deacon's Bench or some pot holders or whatever."
Alas, I hit the 500K mark, found myself UNMARRIED and now I'm bitter and resentful.
Club Z: The after math
A few years later I met that horrible horrible Lisa person. She left me with the distinct feeling that I may well be single for the rest of my life. Marriage was no longer something assured. I guess I mostly assumed if I waited around long enough someone would marry me. It was entirely possible that I was simply unlovable! I took another look at my Club Z points (now over 600,000) and began to toy with the idea that since I might never meet the woman who truly deserves those points, I should cash them in and get a 7-piece copper cookware set (899,000 points) or a Bissell Spotlifter (569,000 points).
Upon that harder squint, I noticed a funny thing. My Club Z points were no longer over 600K. They had slipped below 600K. This was certainly no mistake on my part. At any given moment, I could cite to you how many Club Z points I have with an accuracy of 500 points. No worries, I thought, some strange computer glitch and it will sort itself out. A week later my Club Z point total was below 400K! This was no mere glitch. Someone must have got a number transposed and they were cashing in my points. I called Club Z's customer service number. I gave them my Club Z account information and asked them why my total was declining. The woman clicked some keys.
"Oh, it's not your Club Z card. Your card is a companion card. The owner of the card is a Mary Anne Mamer."
My own mother!
I hung up. I was stunned. For years I had been collecting
these points under the impression they were mine! I thought back to that
early summer day when I was sitting in bed, eating cookies, and watching
I shouted "I have no mother!"
As it turned out my mother never really paid too close attention to her point total. Not like her prissy son. One day she looked and discovered, "wow I've racked up 600,000 points!" She started cashing them in to buy things for my nephew.
I never once worked a nephew into my life equation or my Club Z point life plan. But I realized, while no woman might ever deserve the points I could bestow upon her, this beautiful innocent life, this little boy that calls me "Uncle Karl", deserved the lot of them.
-- Karl Mamer