Monday, October 26, 2009

To Pay or Not to Pay

That's the question all right.

The Hubs and I recently switched cell phone carriers. We had one phone left under contract with our old carrier, so we decided to just let the contract run out, rather than pay the $250 cancellation fee--since we'd save a lot of money that way.

Our contract expired on the 7th, so I called the carrier and told them I want to cancel and close the account. No problem, right? Should be easy enough. Well, you know, idiots thrive in this world, and cell phone carriers are no exception. They tell me that they will close my account...at the end of my billing cycle date, which is the 22nd. So basically, I have to keep my account, for a phone I haven't used in about three months, for another 2 weeks. OK. Fine, I tell them. And I figured we were done. But,  no.

First they want to share with me all the great offers I should take advantage of, now that my phone is paid off. I should get the pay-as-you-go plan, so that I can use the phone as a back up, if I need to. Or I should get a new monthly calling package and just start fresh with them. Well, um, "I already have a phone with another carrier," I say. I don't want to pay to have a "back up" phone,  nor do I wish to start over with them, thank you very much.  (Do they even live in the same economy that I do?!) So fine, they say that I'll get my final bill soon after my regular billing cycle ends.

So yesterday I get the bill via email. And how much is it for? .01. That's right, ONE CENT! And this is where I'm thinking, are you freaking kidding me? They are sending me a bill for a penny? WTH? Well, after much consideration, I've decided I have 3 options.

1. Print out the payment page, tape a penny to it, and mail them the bill with a carefully worded letter about the inanity of sending someone a bill for one cent. But you know, that would cost me .44 cents, not to mention I'd have to print out the bill and waste an envelope. This economy has taught me to be quite cheap frugal, if nothing else, so this is a less than ideal choice.

2. Ignore the bill all together, and wait to see how long it takes them to turn me over to collections FOR ONE CENT! You know they'd do it, right? They sooo would! This is America, after all, land of the free-for-alls and home of the seedy bill collectors. This is actually a plausible option though, if you think about it. When you send someone to collections, the collections agency gets at least half the money you are due, so basically the cell phone carrier would end up with about half of a cent. I'd love that! But not at the expense of my credit report, I don't think.  So probably not worth it.

3. Use my online banking to send them a payment of  .02 cents. And why  .02 cents? Because if I send them .02 cents, they will have to refund me the overpayment, which would be .01 cent.  And since the cost of postage is .44 cents, they will actually lose money by sending me a refund check.  I'll get my .01 cent overpayment back, but they will have just spent .44 cents to send it to me.

So yeah, I'm gonna go with option 3. They'll get their one cent, but it's gonna cost them to get it.  Just a little vindication for all the dropped calls, out-of-service times, and lack of carryover minutes we endured over the course of the last 4 years!

Sometimes, revenge is truly sweet.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Can You Hear Me Now, From Aisle 5?

Is it just me, or is there a new breed of shoppers at the local grocery store? You know the ones I mean, right? They're pushing their cart, they're grabbing some Funyuns, they're changing their mind about their bologna, and shoving it onto a shelf next to the paper plates while making sure no one is watching...all the while chatting incessantly to their BFF...on their cell phone.

Since when did talking on the phone while grocery shopping become the chic  thing to do?! As if dealing with self-involved shoppers who drive their cart down the aisle like they're the only ones in the entire store isn't bad enough, no no. Now we have to put up with them screeching and hollering into their cell phone to boot. And are they blocking your access to the Pop Tarts? Well, uh, sorry, you're going to have to hope and pray for a dropped call before it would even occur to them to get out of your way.

Whatever happened to the good old days, when going to the grocery store meant that the rudest thing you had to put up with was someone who was willing to arm wrestle you for the very last package of Buy One Get One Free 12 Roll Packs of toilet paper? Those days are long gone, my friend. Yesiree. Now they'll not only arm wrestle you, but they'll give the play-by-play of the whole scene to that BFF on the other end of the phone call, and they'll be referring to you in less than flattering terms, as if you aren't even standing just twelve inches away from them while they do it.

Don't get me wrong, I think cell phones are great. And I will admit to having called the Hubs a time or two from the grocery store, asking if we need one gallon of milk or two. But I sure as heck don't spend countless minutes chattering on and on about mindless drivel, completely oblivious to my own volume level, and all at the expense and annoyance of the rest of the shoppers, who clearly just want to get their groceries and go home.

Seriously. What is wrong with people? This is one of those things I really don't understand. If you want to chat up your best friend while shopping, here's an idea: bring them with you! Get in some real, quality, one-on-one face time, and get your shopping done all at the same time.  {They call that multi-tasking, I believe.} And then the real bonus is, the rest of us won't have to hear you yelling into your cell phone, to your BFF, "Can you hear me now, from aisle 5?!"