Monday, November 14, 2005

Kiss My Ass, Cingular!

So it was a beautiful weekend out here in La La land, and I'm out in the streets lookin' all glam, runnin' errands and semi-flossin' and whatnot...and then suspiciously note that my cellie 'aint blowin' up like it usually is, and it's already 12 noon. The fuck? I mean, not like I'm gonna answer the damn thing anyway 'cause I'm a big-time screener and generally wait until I have like 567 messages before a sista ever thinks about checkin' in. Honestly, I just wanted my phone to ring so I could hear the new "Welcome To Jamrock" ringtone I downloaded. Anyway. So, I fake like I'm checking my voicemail, and oh, there goes that automated bullshit recording of 'Your service has been temporarily interrupted due to a past due balance on your account....'

Jesus fucking-A Christ, what the hell do these people want from me? Didn't I pay the bill like, two months ago? And how're they going to interrupt my cell phone service on the weekend, when all the calls are fucking free anyway? 'Aint that a bitch. They just do that shit to piss me off. Cingular can 'rollover' on my ass. Puh!

Here is Supa Sister's rant on bills:

Supa Sista Rant #356: I’ve Got Mail. How *%$# Exciting Is That?

I check that insipid steel box …what? Two, maybe three times a month? Personally, I view the practice of daily mailbox checking as a general scam carried out by the post office in the effort to make me share their workload. I mean, what’s the big deal? The royalty checks from my publisher (when I get one) come around quarterly. (Is that every three months, or four? I still don’t know.) So, unless my grandma gives me the heads up on some random newspaper clipping she’s mailed on 50 New Ways to Please Your Lover With Grape Jelly, I don’t even bother.

So why even go on with this rant, you ask? Because I’m way past belligerent, on account of all the crap that representative from the postal community keeps shovin’ in my box. What’s up with that carrier guy? Can’t he take a hint?

The ritual is, as follows: Week after week, I help build the muscle mass in his arms, by daring him to continually stuff an unreasonable amount of mail inside the barely 10 inch cubic space with my name and apartment number on it. Not to worry, he enjoys the challenge. It took him a year to discover that I wasn’t a globally known, best selling novelist perpetually out of town on mega-money making book tours, but just some grouchy local writer chick who doesn’t appreciate distinct and prevalent forms of paper harassment.

Oh, it’s not the junk mail. I love that stuff. All the nifty slogans on vivid paper, with their psychological subtleties, designed to sucker and sap rampant consumers like myself. I dig browsing over the latest menu from the 99 cent Thai fast food joint that claims they’ll deliver on my side of the block, as long as it’s before dusk. The advertisements from the carpet folks who’ll charge me half a grand to steam clean one room and a short hallway (stain removal is extra), and the sale ads highlighting all the useless paraphernalia from Pic and Save or the 99 cent store that I’ll end up buying and never use.

Are you kidding? The highpoint of most evenings comes from luxuriating on the can for 45 minutes as I scientifically work my way through endless mounds of colorful circulars. It’s like meditation. Really. Sometimes I’ll gather and toss the entire bunch of it in the air, and bask in the splendor of my advertisement confetti as it floats down around me. Hey, it’s the little things in life, right? Junk mail is so liberating, so delightfully excessive. And visually, it’s so….pretty. In a goofy kind of way.

No - my numero uno beef lies not with the fuschia postcards inviting me down for a free teeth cleaning ever other day – but instead with the bland, unoriginal white envelopes that seem to elbow for space alongside my coveted junk mail. What do they call those things? Bills?

Yeah, that’s it. Bills. Those silly, routine annoyances. Ever-y time I freak-in’ turn around, seems somebody’s trying to get me to pay for something. I mean, c’mon! Shouldn’t electricity be free? And water, what about that? There’s plenty of that stuff floating around next to the beach, I hear.

It’s all the same, month in, month out with those things. Boring me with mundane information about my life, like how many therms I’ve used up or how much airtime I’ve blathered away during the last billing cycle. Like I care.

Look, I’m an artist, for Pete’s sake. We revel in the abstractness of the universe; unconvention and variety and such. Those little notices are so creatively stifling, invading my space with their bland, trite, and to be honest - uncreative packaging. I mean, put a little punch into it - add a smiley face or riddle next to the ‘amount due’ box or something. At least inspire me to pay the darn thing. I tell ya, the monotony, the predictability, the lack of flavor and simple font selection on those “bill” thingies just ruin it for me.

It’s also highly insulting. I’ve become increasingly concerned about certain organizations that have such narrowly defined and ineffective marketing practices, which do nothing more than alienate the aesthetically-needy sector of their client base. So, I sent AT& T and Southern California Edison a list of suggestions, along with a glitzy promotional card and order form to purchase my book. Haven’t made one sale yet. So you know what I say.

Screw ‘ em. Let ‘em wait.

Heck, waiting is what I do best. When I finally grudgingly take that walk to the box, quite often it takes me and my two offspring to collect and haul the mail inside. Sometimes a neighbor or curious stranger will offer to help when we’re noticeably struggling.

Once inside, I immediately weed out the lackluster looking pieces from the good stuff. In a voice of pure disgust, I’ll mumble “who keeps sending me this junk!” then fling the pile of white envelopes across the room and into a corner. The act usually interrupts some poor spider’s nap.

“The Gas Company, Mommy!” The small girl of mine will proclaim, after picking up and reading from a random envelope. I’ll produce an uninterested shrug, which is her cue to toss it even further across the room, where it’ll land behind a chair or get stuck in a large plant. Smart kid, she is.

If you ask me (and you don’t have to, this is my rant) – bills are nothing more than improper paper consumption. Plain frivolous. They could at least spare me and those poor trees the drama and send a bill, like, once every forty five days, which is my standard paying practice anyway. As it stands, I get a regular bill every 30 days, and then a notice 15 days later to “remind” me that I haven’t paid (like I didn’t know that) and then a few days later here comes a bright pink or yellow paper saying I better pay or I’m gonna be sorry.

Now those I dig. Trendy colors, very in. When they arrive, I get the feeling I’m in big trouble with somebody somewhere.

How do I know? Well, because they call. Doesn’t bother me, but my theory is - wait until I finish paying off one month before you go harassing me about another. Really, I’ve got more important things to do, like remembering to feed my kids, scraping up enough snaps to buy a better laptop, and pimping unsuspecting friends and strangers for story ideas.

I pity the chumps who work for whatever company I owe. I speak to them like every other ill-fated telemarketer who stumbles across my number. Conversations usually go something like this:

“Ms. SS, we’re calling to see when we might receive a payment
for your cable service..”

“Gee, no thank you, I’m not interested.”

Days when I’m feeling more adventurous, the conversation might unfold like this:

“Ms. SS, we’re calling to see when we might receive a payment
for your cable service…”

“Tell me a story.”


“Tell me a story, and I’ll pay. Maybe. But it has to be good.”

“Ms. SS, perhaps I should connect you with my supervisor,
so we can…”

“Uuh, no thank you, not interested.”

Oh, I always pay. Eventually. Otherwise they’ll just keep calling and calling, interrupting your phone service and playing with the lights, and really - who needs this kind of pressure?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

word! my student loan is late because the payment stub is somewhere in the plastic box that the post office gives you when you put your mail on hold or when you forget over a period of a week or so to walk up the driveway and check the mail and now the box is overflowing. what us gonna do!

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