A fool and my parting money
Maybe it’s the heat, but lately I’ve been finding myself a bit short-tempered, especially when random salespeople call me to infer that, financially speaking, I must be a moron.
They always start with telling me how much money I can save by increasing my monthly cable and Internet bill, and it ticks me off.
In fact, every time I see a commercial advertising some new bundle that comes with cheap rates, no contracts, free babysitting, and a no-obligation Volkswagen as a signing bonus, I immediately get infuriated.
You see, I’ve tried to find myself better deals, but they never seem to apply to me.
Me: Hello, giant cable and Internet mega-conglomerate? I’ve been a customer for sixteen years and have never missed a payment. I just saw one of your ads that said new clients can get one-hundred-and-sixteen high-definition channels for only eight dollars per month, plus they get a free supercomputer as a signing bonus. I currently get a total of six channels, two of which are in French and another is that one with nothing on but parliamentary debates, and I pay eighteen-gazillion dollars each month, so I was wondering…”
Cable Company: Are you a new client?
Me: Um, no, but…
Cable Company: Then stop phoning us.
That might not be verbatim, but it’s pretty close. Then they have the nerve to have their telemarketers phone me once a week to offer me “free” additional services with a hidden catch that will somehow make my monthly bill even BIGGER.
Unfortunately, the real underlying problem – and I know it must be hard for you to believe judging from my stylish $14.99 haircut – is that I’m not independently wealthy. I don’t have a Roman numeral after my name, I don’t have a fully-crewed yacht in the Caribbean, nor do I lament the annual inflationary increase in the cost of my country club membership dues.
What this means, then, is that whenever someone wants to tell me a new way of saving a bunch of money I don’t have, I always end up feeling like the perennially elected mayor of Fiscal Incompetence City.
I get the same feeling any time I flip on the television and see one of those talk shows with some money-management expert fielding calls:
Caller: “Hello, Bill? This is Albert calling from our weekend home. Reception isn’t always that good out here on our private island, but my wife and I love your show. Our problem is that we’re 28 years old, semi-retired with no kids, we have a combined household annual income of $414,000 and we have $635,000 in accrued investments and matured bonds becoming liquid next week, and we’re not sure exactly what to do.”
I don’t know about you, but whenever I hear someone talk about a “problem” like that, I sigh heavily and flip the channel to a program that’s showing videos of people falling down stairs and getting hit in the privates a lot.
Dealing with my banks is just as hard. I think I’m the only person left in the world who keeps his money in one of those accounts that pays interest in such a way that my money actually gets smaller and is always on the verge of disappearing because the bank keeps taking out ridiculous monthly “service charges,” as if a teller has to take my money out for daily walks or something.
Still, stupid as I am with money, I guess it’s a bad idea to complain about these big companies. After all, you never know when one of them might be, say, monitoring my Internet and decide that if I say too many bad things about them, they should just go ahead and, without warning, cut off my serv....
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