The Phone Bill

2 May

is due. Way past due, months. We’re at the two missed calls every hour stage; they come from different numbers. My phone number is 831, from Santa Cruz, and they mix it up lobbing calls at me from 408, San Jose. Their computer thinks I’m in Santa Cruz so therefore I would see a number from a neighboring county and think: that’s legit. I’ll answer, since it’s obviously a person and not a computer from the phone company looking for money. Maybe it’s a chick.

Of course, I’m in L.A. No one in San Jose would ever call me. And I know I owe the phone company money, and I want to pay them; I just don’t have it. Even if they hadn’t sent me emails and texts and paper bills with sternly worded warnings on the inside and IMPORTANT CONFIDENTIAL ACCOUNT INFORMATION on the outside to fool you into thinking there’s some contract change and it’s not just “give us money.” Even if I hadn’t had a previous round of missed calls from 800 numbers and weird area codes; I’m aware that the phone costs money you are supposed to pay every month. I paid them what I had. It wasn’t enough apparently.

The next step is you try to make a call and it doesn’t work. STOP. YOUR CALL IS BEING INTENTIONALLY REDIRECTED TO VERIZON WIRELESS. You can’t make calls again until you pay them off. I’m a little nervous about this, since: I don’t have the money. Unemployment doesn’t come until Monday. I had to pay the rent.

They called me again. I picked up this time. It was a human being, from Verizon Wireless. An American. They need the money that bad; they’ll pay an American minimum wage to hassle it from me. That’s like bringing in a tank to stop a jaywalker. They are committed. Think of the cash flow problems they must have to do this shit. Hassle and hassle and hassle you until you pay.

All corporate management is just one guy standing next to a big knob. The knob controls how fast the conveyor belt goes as people inspect pickles, how often an autodialer connects some kid in Mumbai or some diabetic woman in Scottsdale to a delinquent account holder. We’re having a cash flow problem, the board tells management. Revenue projections are falling short, the anticipated rate of growth of the rate of growth is on a slightly less steep upward trajectory than analysts projected. I don’t need to tell you how serious this is. I have an idea, says the manager. I’ll turn up the knob! The pickles fly by faster; one in ten thousand more of them has an ugly piece of twig stuck to the end but they still sell. The delinquent accounts get more calls, five or six a day from different spoof numbers. Some drunk finally takes his coffee can of change to the Coinstar and pays off his bill. Revenue ticks up. Johnson, you are a genius.

6 Responses to “The Phone Bill”

  1. nikolhasler May 2, 2013 at 11:40 am #

    Love this very much. I love the way your brain works, and the shit you write. Let’s get drunk with money we don’t have this weekend.

    • Meanwhile, Nikol’s kid makes a mustard sandwich for lunch.

      Allow me to play Dr. Phil here for a second:

      You should ask yourself why you encourage the self-destructive behavior of someone you profess to care for, Nikol. The advice you give him is tantamount to him telling you to forego your chemotherapy treatment for carrot juice enemas. Even worse – it’s like if he would’ve told you to just let the cancer metastasize until it killed you, to embrace it. Why is that? You afraid of losing a drinking buddy? Or is it something much more psychologically deep rooted? You seem to have a horribly codependent relationship with DT, constantly feeding his narcissistic supply.

      Do you think if his family knew he was an alcoholic they would encourage his drinking? I’m guessing they would tell him to go get some fucking help, because they’re not laboring under the delusion that he’s some kind of mythical Bukowski-like anti-hero. But not you. You’re like two drowning people clinging to each other desperately trying to stay afloat.

  2. yjohn May 2, 2013 at 11:53 am #

    Great post! Yeah, collections is insane and almost all companies have picked up the pace. Verizon has always been brutal tho.

  3. Bronan the Barbarian! May 3, 2013 at 4:32 pm #

    You need an obamaphone.

  4. Stephen May 4, 2013 at 3:48 pm #

    I still don’t get how motherfuckers live in LA with no money. How does someone work in a coffee shop making like 25k a year or some shit and pay bills?


  1. Daily Linkage – May 3, 2013 | The Second Estate - May 3, 2013

    […] The Phone Bill | delicioustacos […]

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