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.