I have never in my LIFE had such a hard time giving away money as I have in paying off a simple bank loan. I’m like “Hi! I’d like to give you money” and they are all “please send three forms, faxed in triplicate, then call again on Monday and maybe then we will take your money. Probably. Maybe not.”
People it’s 2012. I should not have to fax anything (hello, 1987, how I’ve missed you!) nor should it require snail mail. It’s called the Internet. It’s like magical. They can wire money and everything now. Y’all should try it.
Last week when I wasn’t trying to convince this bank to let me give them a big gob of money, I was begging the electric company to pretty please send me a bill.
I knew something was up when our electric bills were only of the “sell a kidney” level as opposed, say, to “sell a kid.” We don’t even have electric heating and cooling yet somehow, inexplicably, our monthly electric bills rival the national debt. I think it’s leaking out somewhere.
Being an ethical person, when the fourth month in a row of an unusually low bill, I knew something was amiss. I did not want to wake up one day owing the electric company $18,000 in back billing.
I called them twice a week for three weeks straight trying in vain to get someone to come out and read our meter. First they said the reason they hadn’t actually read our meter was, and I quote, “weather related.” Ohio has had one of the warmest winters on record. Was it too balmy and mild for them to come out?
The next reason offered was “something is blocking it.” The meter is on the side of our house with nary a hint of shrubbery or tree in sight (not that I’m proud of that). What could be blocking it? A random passer-by bear?
Firm plans were made to definitely have the meter read Thursday. So willing am I to shoulder the cause of getting an accurate — albeit certainly higher — electric bill, I willingly took the entire day to sit home. This was mainly to ensure the meter reader never showed up at all. I know. I checked. Repeatedly.
My next called netted the explanation that the order to have the meter read was entered incorrectly into The System. If you are not yet familiar with The System, let me explain. The System exists mainly to blame things upon. Errors, miscalculations, general mishaps? Blame The System.
If you don’t have a System, you should definitely get one. They make excellent scapegoats. The System probably does useful things too but I’m really not familiar with that aspect of its work. In my experience, The System exists simply to muck things up.
In that vein, I tried taking care of business the new fashioned way by entering my own meter reading on the company’s website but The System was having none of that. Every time I tried, The System rejected my reading with an ominous message that my reading was significantly higher than current estimates. Translation: This is going to hurt.
Never one to be beaten I gamely signed up for another round of “hide the meter.” On our second “date,” the meter reader never showed up that I saw, but the electric company later claimed he or she had been here. As near as I can figure, they must have rappelled in from the trees nearby under cover of darkness. Still no bill was received.
It took three telephone calls, two “dates” and no less than four distinctly separate bills (received simultaneously in my email inbox for that extra hint of utter confusion).
In the end I owed the utility company amounts ranging from a credit of $37 to a back total of $186. We all know which one of those it really was, right?
I suggested that they go ahead and take the $186 out electronically just as soon as possible. Tomorrow even. Their suggestion? You guessed it. They needed to wait at least 10 days to take my money.
That’s fine, I like my money. That said I like a paid in full zero balance, too.
Meanwhile, I think I’ve figured out why the economy still needs a little work. No one wants to take our money anymore.
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