Tuesday, December 13, 2005

The Way Things (Shouldn't) Work

Here's something I never thought I'd be homesick for: paying bills.

My utilities are not many, and they are not expensive, but they can be damn annoying. I've got water (well, sometimes), gas, internet, electricity, and garbage disposal. Garbage disposal consists of an old woman who supposedly walks up and down my unit stairs all day sweeping and taking out the trash that we, the tenants, throw into the hallway. Yes, that is the way we take out our trash, we just through it out the door into the hall. Its fun when youre drunk and or bored.

So where is my complaint? Well, look at the picture of my outer door above. You should see a good number of ripped off postings and these are my bills. At least some of them. Basically what happens is that, perhaps, I pay for electricity, maybe paying for how much I have recently used or maybe paying forward and establishing a credit, and then when the company decides it wants to collect a debt or my credit goes dry someone sticks a posting outside my door or outside my unit door. After they stick the bill on the door maybe you get three days to find a payment office and settle up.

I can't figure out how these collections are timed, all I know is that they are never timed conveniently. For instance, if the bill gets posted on Thursday I most likely won't have time to pay it before Monday due to my teaching schedule. That means I will probably wake up after the weekend to no electricity. Also, I can't pay these things myself, no matter how hard I try, so I also need to find some help, which is annoying.

Then there is the internet, which doesn't give any sort of warning, they just shut off my connection when my money runs dry.

The oddest of all has got to be the little old ladies who knock on my door and scream for payment. Water and garbage disposal get taken care of in this manner. Again, its somewhat, er, spastic in execution. I used to pay every other month for garbage, a decently regular schedule, but I havent seen that woman since perhaps September. As for water, I paid my first water bill last month. For nine months it totalled about US$2.

I've never paid for gas.

Sure, its all cheap, but its annoying. I long for the days of instant credit card payments, monthly statements, and warnings months in advance. I can understand when my electricity gets shut off because I'm broke or delinquent, but it drives me insane if its due to a flawed and lazy system.


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