Monday, July 14, 2014


No offense, but every “customer service representative” – male or female – should be named Ben Dover because this is what you’ll have to do when you call Verizon, Comcast, or any utility company.  These poor kids give you a fake name anyway so it might as well reflect what they’re about to do to the next hapless consumer.  Bend over, honey, Comcast is coming.

My cable went out for some reason so I called Ben Dover from Comcast this morning and he miraculously made it work by doing cable voodoo in Kansas.  When I asked to be transferred to Billing, “Carl” said, “Oh that’s me too.”  How convenient.  

“Hey Carl,” I asked politely.  I always feel kinda sorry for these people, “So in 2009 my monthly cable bill was $73.24 and now for some reason it’s $156.32.  Nothing has changed but I’m paying a lot more.  Can you help?”

I’ll paraphrase, but basically here’s what “Carl” said:

“Well, we just continue to f--- you over until you call to complain.”

Honest.  That’s what happens.  Oh, “Carl” put it nicely, something to do with “yearly promotions” and “non-contractual benefits” but basically he said that they just keep freaking piling on the charges until you cry “Uncle.”

Bank managers (Mr. or Mrs. Ben Dover) at Wells Fargo have taken exotic vacations courtesy of my son, Joe, and the roughly $17 million in bank fees he’s had to pay, poor kid, every time his $25 balance dipped into the negative digits for that fleeting moment (you know how the kids do it:  they stand at the ATM, praying to the Balance Gods that they can have that last $20 without paying another $50).  Comcast, Verizon, the electric company, the banks, “waste management” – you name it, we’re getting screwed left and right.

When I call Ben Dover at Verizon to discuss my mutant bill (uncontrolled growth) he gives me a migraine talking about “waivers, taxes, and local fees” and how I am “contractually bound” for another 16 months to my damn phone.  Jesus, it’s like being in cell phone prison.  In fact, I may chuck Verizon one of these days and start getting those throw away Wal-Mart phones like the criminals use. Maybe I’ll go on the lam while I’m at it.

There’s really not much you can do to keep up with the rising tide of insane prices on everything. In Jersey when the electric company doesn’t want to read your meter because there was – God forbid – a little snow on the ground, they’ll send you an “estimated bill.”  I had a friend who would pick one of those absurd numbers out of the air, say $67.43, and write a check, noting in the memo that it was his “estimated payment.”  Estimate this, Mr. Utility Company.

I just got back from City Market where I roamed the aisles like a bag lady with Tourrette’s, barking and cursing about food prices.  You cannot buy ANYTHING in the grocery store for under that arbitrary $3.99.  A can of beans, a roll of toilet paper – whatever it is whether you use it for fiber or to wipe your ass, it’s gonna cost you $4.00.  A pound of coffee is $10.37 for the love of God!  I heard a rumor that there were these insidious bugs in Hawaii eating the beans but you know what the freaking truth is?  Juan Valdez decided he wanted to milk us coffee addicts for all we’re worth, that’s all.  No bugs.  Just Ben Dover.

And it’s not just retail crap and modified hormone-fed food that’s out of control. Did you know tuition at Cornell is like $70,000???  WTF?  What are they doing to these kids, gilding them in gold?  No, it’s the same thing as when I went to college for $3000 a year:  drink, make fart noises, and try to get laid.  Geezus.  And parents will be working at Blockbuster when they’re freaking 87 years old so little Susie can go to an Ivy League college and never call.

We rant.  We pay.  Thank you sir, can I have another?  NO, I WILL NOT PAY $6.00 FOR A PLASTIC BEAR JAR OF HONEY.  NO NO NO.  And from the “insult to injury” category, after I spend $135 to feed two people for a week the nice lady at the supermarket checkout says: “Because of your super customer card you saved $38.00!”  Even she knows that’s bullshit.  The store manager – Ben Dover – just jacks up the price of everything and then puts a $4.33 box of rice “on sale” for $3.33.  What a bargain.  Thank you sir, can I have another?

Some days I feel like Joe Pesci in Lethal Weapon 4.  If you’ve never seen him and Chris Rock do this routine, please, for your own mental health, take a minute and watch: .   Ah, so. We rant. We pay. We live to rant another day.  As my Grandopop Coletta used to say, “whadda yu gunna do?”  Eat, drink, be merry, and bend over. 

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