August 26th, 2013

Anna Seal

Left In the Wake of the 21st Century

Way back before the turn of the millennium, I called about phone service when I left the Armed Forces and moved to Philly. They waived my deposit because I had, at some point in the past, had service with them before, and paid on time every month.

The City of Anna didn't laugh at me when I suggested that was the purpose of a deposit, but did repeat that the deposit was $150 whether or not I'd paid on time for the seven years I lived there or not. Because, "...some people don't pay their last water bill when they leave and we need to cover that cost." Yes, those of us who do the right thing are often the bastions of governments who would exploit us.

I nearly spewed my drink on the keyboard when she said I could fax in the "online application." First, because I though only third-world countries or poor, backwater municipalities still used fax machines - Anna was supposed to have been known as Technology City by this point! And the only thing "online" about the application, was its accessibility - it has to be printed out on a dead tree and inked - I haven't used a writing instrument since 1999. She did say I could email it in, but that my deposit had to be snail-mailed in. After she repeated that they only accept cash, check, or money order for the third time, I asked why. "There's no way to accept credit cards online or over the phone."

"Really? Because I've doing it for FIFTEEN YEARS."

Up until that point we were still on speaking terms.