May 15, 2009

Pay The Man

Today is the 15th of the month, which means it's "bill day". Although this only happens twice a month on a regular basis, it is still almost as tiresome as "cleaning day". Neither days are very happy times.  But I guess they are for the happy couple I've pictured on the right.  Beaver Boy seems to be having the time of his life as he sits in his yuppie condo in some hip urban city, wearing his one-size-too-small polo shirt, grinning buck-toothedly at his almost Stepford Wife who obviously had her right arm severed in some horrid accident and it was reattached backwards by some hack surgeon.

Anyway, good for them.  I usually day-dream of two things while I'm sorting through the bill pile.  I look at the amount of each bill, and imagine what I could have bought with that particular money instead. This only works for bills like electricity, water/sewer and similar items.  If you look at a credit card bill for something that you bought because you wanted it, you're kind of at cross-purposes with yourself and get caught in a weird loop that's difficult to break.  The other thing I daydream about is what if I had all the money that I had spent on bills since the day I turned 21 just given to me in one big-assed cashiers check?  Wouldn't that be awesome?

I pay all of my bills on line through my local bank, "Lumberman's State Bank of the Ponds", or something like that.  Actually, it is one of those banks that starts with an "A", like amalgamated, associated, affiliated, androgynous ... you know, one of those words that's supposed to instill confidence.  And really, they don't do an awful job, except when they don't pay the bills I tell them to pay.

I'll explain.  Several months ago, I received a late payment charge from one of my credit card accounts.  Even though I'm as anal-retentive as they come about paying bills, I copped to it being my fault.  And then I got another one.  And another one!  Okay, I thought, enough of this shit, I'm calling customer service at the bank.

Now, paying on-line with my bank is pretty straight forward.  You pick the account, type in the amount and hit "pay".  If the payment goes through, you get a "success" tag.  If it doesn't, you get an "error" tag. Anyway, I talk to this gal at the bank and explain my problem:

Me:  Your computer isn't paying my bills.

Bank Lady:  Can you tell me which bills?

Me:  Visa and Mastercard.

Bank Lady:  Just a minute.  Hmm.  I don't show those bills being paid.

Me:  Exactly.  I paid the bill, the computer said "Success", and I moved on.

Bank Lady:  Oh, the "Success" message doesn't always mean the bill is paid.

Me:  Huh?

Bank Lady:  The "Success" message doesn't necessarily mean the bill will be paid.  You have to go to the "confirmation" window to see if it's going to be paid.

Me:  So ... if the computer is having a bad day, it can just say "Success" if it wants to, but it's really just fucking with me.

Bank Lady:  Pardon me?

Me:  Your computer has a wicked keen sense of humor.  It says "Success" when it doesn't mean it.  How do I know it's not fucking with me in the "confirmation" window too?

Bank Lady:  Sir, I'm going to terminate this conversation if you don't change your tone of voice.

Me:  I'll terminate it for you.  Just tell your Commodore 64 to pay my bills.

A couple of months have passed now with no late charges, so maybe my mini-tirade did some good.  And, just last week, my bank completely overhauled their on-line banking system.  I'd like to think that I was a small part in the change, but I sincerely doubt it.  

And if things don't change ...  well I'll just find out what bank happy-go-lucky Bucky and his mate up there in the corner do business with and make the switch.

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