Cupcake and I thought long and hard about writing this article and how to respond to the nearly eight years of diatribes by TWS volunteers and most recently, the owner(s). Without any help using Google© Analytics or other gimmicks to drive readership to my site, the original 2012 article has floated ever-upward in the rankings nearly to the top of the complaints about TWS. Why is that? I didn’t include any salacious details or gossip. I never insinuated the outfit is racist or a hotbed of white supremacy. I merely fumed about the relative difficulty in extricating myself personally from their financial clutches. Nothing more-nothing less. This morning, I read yet another armchair quarterback’s take on my literary shortcomings. David S. stated: ” ‘asknod’ comes accross[sic] as a perpetual complainer.” Well, after reading the comments sent in to the Better Business Bureau® over the last 9 years, I’ll take that as an unbridled compliment, David. Thank you.
Let’s review the history of this TWS outfit under the microscope of public opinion. Notwithstanding the numerous comments below the original article, my contemporaneous 2012 complaint has been echoed elsewhere continuously ever since- i.e., How in Sam Hill do I escape this TWS organization and why do they make it so dang difficult to find the yellow and black- striped ejection handle? Here’s a small sample (on Google® Search):
They billed me and took my money without permission this year. I didn’t want to stay in it. I joined last year since I am a Woman Marine and met someone at a business meeting who told me this was a great organization. This year they billed me for another year and I never gave them permission to do that. I complained to they about it and expected my money to be returned. I thought this was supposed to be an upfront organization. They just laughed about it and refused to return my money. I don’t want this to happen to anyone else so want to put in a complaint so other people can see the way this organization treat people. The fee was *******
We have been trying to cancel the service, but when we call the number we never get a call back, or even an e-mail response. We have no other information minus the phone number on our bill, and we try to call them and get no where.
RIPOFF-WON’T LET YOU CANCEL OR REFUSE RENEWAL. I JUST WANT TO CANCEL THIS SUBSCRIPTION AND MY MONEY BACK. DO NOT WANT IT RENEWED. I joined Together We Served in 2011 (approximately). When I joined the service was free. I never intended to purchased a membership. I have not used the site in the last few months. My account was automatically charged $19.95 at Together We Served and my credit card was not present. I was not aware and did not knowingly give Together We Served permission to debit my credit card for this annual membership and take funds automatically out of my bank account. I am very upset and blindsided by the charge. I sent a email complaint to Together We Served requesting that my subscription be canceled effective the date of my email and a full refund of my money. Together We Served staff were condescending and ultimately refused to return my money. I will not have not used Together We Served in years and did not intend on using the services or membership. Together We Served hides behind a ‘No Refund’ Policy in order to protect themselves from having to return the money. I urge all military members (active/veteran) to reconsider providing their bank account information to Together We Served. It is a ‘social media’ site for the military that has become irrelevant. My interaction with them was very negative, which surprised me, since they claim to support the US military community. If you decide to join, do it with caution, as their customer service is awful!
David’s recent rejoinder today in the comments section is the classic “We report. You decide.”/ shoot the messenger technique. Did I complain? Yes, but let’s put a ‘hmmm…’ in front of it in the proper context. I complained about my personal experience…9 years ago. The mere fact that my plaint has grown legs is not from its exposure or longevity. It’s that my experience seems to be very much ongoing and encountered by thousands of other similarly situated Veterans daily. The problem, if there is one, seems to originate in the business model Togetherweserved has chosen to run their company. Some might characterize it as ‘If they holler, let ’em go.’ I didn’t even get my $20 back.
In 2018, a member of the TWS team (I presume) left me a love letter explaining my ignorance on how to sign up. Bruce alleged he was a Pathfinder in the Army. Gee, it only took him six years to locate my diatribe. I sincerely hope that wasn’t a veiled testimonial as to his former military Pathfinder prowess.
Approximately a year later, another member, Monica, arrived and eviscerated me for my misspelling of ‘serve’ as in “Together we sever you from your $20.” It was a play on their spiel that escaped her in spite of her Masters degree. Scary, huh?
Finally, this year, on March 28th, President Brian Foster, the self-acknowledged owner/operator of TWS, arrived to cleanse the air. As always, I encourage folks to come here and comment without casting aspersions on their motives or ideals. Everyone gets to pull up a soapbox and have their say. Unlike other media outlets, I don’t censor those I take umbrage with. Never. Well, never until Monica came flatass unglued and had a meltdown. Considering this has festered like an open wound for nigh on 9 years, and numerous TWS lackeys have arrived trying to put out the negative press fires that you, the readership, have submitted (complained of?), I find it incongruous that it took Mr. Foster so long to inveigh (and patiently mansplain) on this perceived inability to extricate oneself from a pay-to-play social media site. Actually, if you read his comment, nowhere can there be found an explanation as to why quitting TWS is virtually impossible. It’s like the Hotel California. You can check out anytime you like but we’ll keep on pestering you. His argument appears to be ‘Why would anyone ever want to leave?’ We have a Help Desk manned twelve hours per day, seven days a week. Seems that help desk would be the go-to fix for those seeking help on how to join the other dearly departed TWS souls.
In my miniature world view, a good website, a good gardening tool, or even a useful book on how-to __________ is a godsend. I wrote a book in 2012 on how to win your VA compensation claims. Over one thousand of you personally wrote me an email back stating the book was instrumental in helping you attain service connection. Many succeeded in attaining the highest levels at TDIU or 100% schedular. I had no experience as an author. I wrote from the heart. I provided it virtually free of charge if you purchased the Kindle e-book version. Coincidentally, up until the most recent diatribe with the TWS hired help last year, the Amazon reviews (64) were running 4½ stars. A new “review” arrived from one “MattK” shortly after my verbal sparring with Sgt. Monica which I capture here:
Check it out. I still got one star. Maybe MattK found some redeeming info.
Again, let me put my complaints theory out for all of you to examine. Some may recall a certain outfit, now a Congressionally chartered Veterans Service Organization, who was exhorting folks to donate $19.95 a month to ‘help’ Veterans. I use the term ‘help’ loosely. I’m sure many of you saw their almost-constant barrage of commercials asking for funds to help Vets. As I am forbidden to mention their name under threat of them resuming their lawsuit against me for slander, I will refrain. Yes. Boy howdy did I complain. Turns out my complaints had a kernel of truth. CBS investigated and the overseers of the site were excommunicated a year or so later for appropriating large sums of baksheesh for their own pursuits. They, too, ignored me until it began to cut into their bottom line. As they say in Texas, all them Exs ain’t driving a Lexus no mo’.
I no longer complain about these types of people who attempt to inveigle Veterans into paying for their yachts or limousines. Mind you, for the record, I am not implying any nefarious aspersions on TWS. Perish the thought. My battles now are strictly with the Department of Veterans Affairs. Having become accredited as a VA representative, I find my time limited to publish articles here on asknod. Personally, I find it humorous that anyone with that much time to spare would waste it on a website akin to FacePlace™ that charges you admission like a theatre. Ah, yes. Monica and Bruce et al. I concede it is free if all you seek to accomplish is to publish your former military exploits. Unfortunately, in order to read about others’ exploits who may have something in common, you have to pass through increasing pay walls to access them. Again. No complaints. I call them ‘observations’.
Mr. Foster has provided a website, albeit complicated to exit (according to others), which purports they have an invaluable service. I have no complaints about that in 2021. President Foster has also aligned himself with what I now consider a formerly great insurance company for military officers. That has segued into something extremely similar to Geico© and now accepts all military-both enlisted and officers. I was forced to take my bundled policy elsewhere due to their ever-increasingly expensive homeowner’s policy costs. Again, I am not complaining. I merely voted with my feet and moved on to greener (cheaper) pastures with far better service.
As for David S.’ comments that ” I think your time is better served trying to be an influencer for good in the world. And no, the above is not what I call being a good influence.”, I have this rejoinder. Thank you for sharing your personal thoughts, David. I have no desire to be an influencer for “good” in this world. I’ll leave that to all the existing professional influencers who abound at every turn of the road. They sure seem to be doing a bang-up job quelling all those “protests” in Portland during the last year. My desires are far more mundane. Perforce, to coin a term, I have what is called “Starfish Disease”. Well, that and an insane humor streak. If the reference to the disease confuses you, scroll down the widget above called “About the author”.
I focus what little time I have left on earth to help other Veterans attain what took me 30 years to accomplish. I wrote a book and gave away the proceeds to the poor. It wasn’t enough. VA is known to legally pursue any who serve Veterans without credentials. I decided to seek VA accreditation to help Veterans-something any of you can do if you weren’t so busy trying to find fault with others and cancel their causes. Giving advice to others is a double-edged sword. You have to walk the walk before you can stand on the high ground and criticize others for your myopic, superficial perceptions of their shortcomings. Most of us learn this by fourth grade.
I have taught (or helped) several others seek and attain accreditation before the VA and for that I can die happy. Similarly, if I only helped one Vet with my book, then I succeeded. This isn’t, and never will be be, about TWS and me. It’s not about the VA and me. It most certainly was never about me and the Wounded Wallet krewe. It’s about the Veteran. I get into heated discussions with VA employees who attempt to deprive my clients of that to which they are rightfully entitled. Often, it devolves ever downward into a donnybrook over the rater viewing this as a pissing match between him/her and me. I have to constantly steer the conversation back to the Veteran. That’s our job-both theirs and mine. I’m merely the ‘A’ in VA’s much-vaunted ICARE”. That’s where I want to be-complaining to VA and providing the repair order.
I reckon all this sounds like a bunch of sour apples. Nothing could be farther from the truth. I don’t wish to demean David’s observations. Complaints are useful to inform others of their errors. That’s why they invented Complaint Boxes. Complaints can be instrumental in changing the way people act or accomplish their work. Complaints can be productive-but only if they influence the complainee and induce him or her to change for the better. The present victim culture that currently abounds in America of bitch bitch bitch is actually counterproductive. It would appear TWS subscribes to this technique when ostracized. A dead giveaway is the liberal use of the exclamation point (!). When folks resort to that or using the Caps Lock, they have lost the argument and are conceding defeat. Screaming in print form lacks that je ne sais quoi needed to convey the emotion. There are two types of people who complain. Those who complain and those who, having voiced the gist of the complaint, act to resolve the complaint.
Last but not least, I wish to point out the glaring incongruity of those who come here to complain as David has. I use WordPress as my platform for my blog. While I have to pay for my site due to it’s ever-increasing content, it is actually-hold onto your hat here- free. Yes. You read that right. You, too, can have your very own website here at WordPress absolutely free. You can complain to your heart’s delight about all the inequities in the world and try to influence others to do good. The only problem I see is you can’t call it asknod. Unlike my site, you will be able to advertise Russian wives for sale or cheap Viagra from India. The sky is the limit. I chose to forego advertising even though it would be an extremely lucrative sideline to my incessant complaining.
Asknod is about Veterans. Live Veterans. Dead Veterans. Dead Veterans’ surviving spouses who still have a complaint about what VA did to their husbands (or wives). Veterans who got screwed over by some other who took advantage of their naivety. Asknod is about an intelligent discussion on how to help other Veterans-not complain about the inequities of life or self-betterment at the Veterans’ expense. Asknod began because there was a dearth of information on how to win your VA claims. All I did was expose the Rosetta Stone to my brethren. Now, there’s a new Vets’ site or self-help book coming out every other day purporting to either help you win, do it for you or teach you how. They all charge money for this help. I don’t. I publish as much as I can on the subject to help-not to complain. Chances are you the reader are a Vet if you found this site. I’m sure you didn’t come here to read about what pisses me off about TWS or any other Vet sites. And in spite of how much I rail about the ignorance of VSOs, they, too, serve and mean well. And as for the humor, if it offendeth thee, pluck out thy eyeballs. I’m the victim here. I was born on April 1.
I find I no longer need to complain. I don’t sit idly by the wayside throwing rocks at every passing discussion. I chose to fix it as best I can-one Veteran at a time. Allow me to reiterate-this is not about you (David, Brian, Monica, Bruce) and me. It’s about the Veteran. Try not to lose sight of the objective. We don’t do politics here. We don’t subscribe to denigrating you for your religious preferences, your sexual preferences or your stance pro or con vis-a vis critical race theory. Actually, as my daddy once said, you have the right to remain stupid. Nothing you say can be held against you. We might make fun of you but we’re laughing with you-certainly not at you.