Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek.
When large companies get invaded by hackers, they tend not to tell customers.
When the bad news finally emerges, they try and play it down.
It's only much later when the companies might, just might, admit the full extent of the breach.
It's only when the whole thing is quite ludicrous that you might be offered compensation.
Perhaps you were one of those who cheerily signed on to receive $125 in compensation from the Equifax breach this week.
Perhaps you dreamed of the clean T-shirts or single pair of sneakers you could buy.
Perhaps the money could afford you a night's parking at the new Golden State Warriors arena.
Yes, you were offered the option of free credit monitoring, but perhaps you have it anyway, and cash is, last time you looked, still cash.
I should have warned you there was going to be an unhappy ending.
You see, the Federal Trade Commission has just confessed that, oh, no one is very likely to get $125.
In a pithy, painful note, the FTC says there's only $31 million in the $125 compensation kitty, so the aggrieved can expect "nowhere near the $125 they could have gotten if there hadn't been such an enormous number of claims filed."
What, I hear you cry, did they expect?
That people would hear about the $125 and say: "Nah, the economy's great right now. I don't need your money and, anyway, that free credit monitoring sounds really cool!"?
Or, perhaps, that people wouldn't hear about it at all?
One hundred forty-seven million Americans were affected. This made it somewhat newsy.
Did the authorities really think that most people would plump for the non-cash money option?
Now, the FTC wants to sell you hard on the free credit monitoring:
The free credit monitoring provides a much better value, and everyone whose information was exposed can take advantage of it. If your information was exposed in the data breach, and you file a valid claim before the deadline, you are guaranteed at least four years of free monitoring at all three credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion) and $1,000,000 of identity theft insurance, among other benefits. The market value of this product is hundreds of dollars per year.
Yes, it really did use those bold letters.
You may have been (slightly) excited at the prospect of at least a token recognition of the breach's vastness.
Instead, the FTC now declares:
You can still choose the cash option on the claim form, but you will be disappointed with the amount you receive and you won't get the free credit monitoring.
It's odd how so many of these hacks end only in customer disappointment.