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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About the Author

Troy Berg, a.k.a. Ad-libbed, is a deceivingly ordinary fellow living in Kelowna who writes, rants, muses, and occasionally extemporizes on his blog at ad-libbed.com. Somewhere along the way, someone made the mistake of confusing him for someone funny and it may have gone to his head. He is 26%  husband, 31%  father, 24% humorist, 43% guy responsible for picking up the dog poop in the backyard, and 87% guy who never really understood how percentages work. He is tolerated by his wife, two teenage daughters, and the indefatigable Superdog.

Ad-libbed has an opinion about everything and writes about any topic that suits him. Every gripping adventure contained herein is completely riveting in his own mind, and he’d be incredibly rich and famous if it weren’t for the fact that he isn’t. He is gainfully employed as a professional computer geek and is the proud owner of his own fully-paid-for hardcover thesaurus. Encouraging comments, positive karma rays and substantial gifts of cash may be sent via his email at [email protected].

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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