I try to keep my blog lite. Funny and trivially informative. I try to steer clear of religion, politics, and social issues. They are boring for the most part anyway. I am not saying they are not important or relevant because they are important and relevant to us all. The discussion of such issues is what I generally find boring and there are plenty of better forums for those issues than my blog.
However today whilst paying the bills, I noticed something that has me incensed and I must speak to it if for no other reason than to vent my anger and rant. First let me say that I have never not paid a bill owed by me. I have never incurred a late fee of any kind. (no not even at Blockbuster!) Nor have I ever bounced a check, or reported any fraudulent information on my taxes. I always pay off my loans ahead of schedule. Not that I am without sin, I seem to be signing my checks with a pen that somehow managed to migrate from the desk at my office to my desk at home. And if I fall to hard times and get laid off from my current job, I may indeed begin to bounce checks left and right and perhaps fall behind on payments, but for now I remain ever diligent toward my responsibilities and obligations.
Do I say all this to boast? To brag? To insinuate that I am somehow better than those who open new credit card accounts to pay off old ones? Not at all, I simply build the case that I am a responsible and contributing member of society and that I pay what I owe when I owe it.
It is because of this that I find myself vilified by the company in charge of supplying fresh, crisp, sparkling clean H2O to my place of residence. I was preparing to pay them this month's accord, a sum of thirty-four American dollars and twenty-six cents. An average water bill by any account and finding no fault in their service am happy to pay it. It was then I noticed something I had not realized they added this year. This year they redesigned their bill as companies oft do in an effort to make it more readable for their CUSTOMERS.
I saw the usual late fee penalty listed there for your convenience. While this alone is a bit stand-offish and causes my nose to crinkle I can understand having a system that encourages prompt payment. (apparently this was not enough incentive do read on). Currently were my check to reach their coffers on April 2, rather than the due date of April 1, I would be assessed a penalty of three American dollars and forty-three cents. Bringing my total bill to thirty seven dollars and sixty-nine cents. A sum I plan not to pay as my check should arrive on time if any faith can be placed in the United States Postal Service.
Then I noticed a new item that I had missed on the previous two bills. An item listed as the DISCONNECT DATE. Yes, if the earth rotates six times and I have failed to send them any form of acceptable payment Hallsdale-Powell Utility District will promptly and without further notice, shut off my water! No showers, no flushing toilets, no baths for my children, much less their Koolaide. No candle lit bubble baths for hiding from aforementioned offspring while reading David Baldacci's Split Second and listening to Antonio Vivaldi!
These callous Mafia wannabees have the audacity to assess a service charge of forty bucks (yes I said bucks) on the day they chose to cut you off from the life giving agua. A fee that must be paid in addition to the bill in question that allegedly hasn't been paid. And don't forget the almighty late fee that would surely be applied to a delinquent account. Extortionists!
I am certainly not naive enough not to know there are plenty of people "out there" that when facing the decision to buy crack, methane, another month of Everquest, a Bud Light, or pay the water bill, they often chose from the former list. These people have the right to chose their fates and in these cases I cannot fault the Utility for being harsh.
What infuriates me however, is that Hallsdale-Powell would just simply place me on equal footing with them. (Didn't I say earlier in the post that I wasn't saying I was better than those who can't seem to pay on time? I lied). I pay my bills every month on time and in full! I deserve some respect as a paying customer. The only way they can get by with running their company like a Nazi concentration camp (yes it really happened President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, you moron) is that I have no choice in whom I get my water from. Short of digging a well in my back yard, they are the only supplier of liquid life to my house. My only hope is that the city will annex my neighborhood and I can pay KUB for my drinking water and not have to give another penny to the tyrants. There is no disconnect date on KUB's water bill.
What happens if I go off for a two week or like my boss, a month's vacation. The day I leave the bill arrives and is buried in a stack of papers and bills which I try to attend to promptly on my return but due to circumstances beyond my control, gasp and horror, I miss the disconnect date by an hour and four minutes! What if there's a death in the family? What if I, the chief accountant and payer of all things labeled bill (who came up with that term btw?), die? What if there's a wedding? My lord and heaven forbid what if the unthinkable happens and the bill is....LOST in the MAIL?!?!?!?!
Well they have a little fine print to address that as well. And I quote: "Failure to receive a bill will not release customer from payment obligation." Aren't these compassionate and charming people? If once in my entire and impeccable business affairs with this company, I am overly tardy in my remittance will they kindly pick up the phone as to inquire as to the state of my affairs? NO. Will they perhaps send a small note as to remind me that my account has fallen past due and that I should take corrective action so as to not experience any disruption in my service? Not a chance. I will simply wake up, have my morning constitution, not noticing it has failed to submerge to the sewers below, turn on the shower and watch in wonder as it belches out a cold last breath. At that moment I will scratch my head in puzzlement, and then realization will slowly creep over me at the same rate the stench from my toilet crawls up my nose.
"If bill is not paid on or before due date, your service is subject to disconnection without further notice."