Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Paperless billing: Low on postage, high on anxiety

If you've met Jeffrey, my husband, you are then fully aware that he can get a little, er, tense.

For example, the Arizona Bar Exam, many many months away, is already giving him nightmares. Many would say, "Hey, that's understandable, it's a really big test."

Yes. Yes it is.

However, most students probably are worried about it, have some anxiety about it, and can move on. In fact, many students should have this level of anxiety about it as they are about as smart as our poodle but have thumbs and lucked out and filled in the right bubbles on the Scantron sheet.

Jeffrey, despite his demonstrated exceptional intelligence, continues to grimly prepare me for my potential future living in a cardboard box. (I just tell him we'll try to raid the Lowe's recycling area for a Sub Zero box so he'll fit. I'm very supportive.)

So today when I opened our cell phone bill and it was erroneously reporting that we owed the carrier one bajillion dollars, my panic wasn't that we actually owed one bajillion dollars (we don't), it was that I needed to hide it before Jeffrey got home. Or maybe more adult-like, call customer service and get it squared away. Before. The. Freakout.

It isn't enough to Big Lebowski him with a hearty Walter "Nothing is fucked here," but I knew that if I didn't call immediately, he'd spend the rest of the evening worrying that not only did we owe the money, but that checking the bank balance would show the money had been deducted. (Of course not evidence of payment, but that they had our money and they didn't know it and we couldn't prove it thus pitching us into some kind of e-billing black hole of despair.)

Where does this anxiety stem from! Paperless billing? Something even my mom got a handle on several years ago? Still freaks the shit out of him.

Point out that this is as unscientific as his father's fear of ATMs taking his card and never giving it back (and thus he will not use the ever-so-reliable-been-used-for-years-so-calm-the-hell-down machines or his defiance in using seat belts and allowing the warning bing to slowly drive everyone in the car to the brink of insanity).

Going electronic was supposed to alleviate the worry of having to remember to pay stuff. It was supposed to save us a stamp and reduce the anxiety of the monthly bill pay. Instead, it's just one more thing that can potentially go wrong and take us one step closer to our corrugated cardboard home.


  1. On the bright side, yours would be the best decorated cardboard box on the block.

  2. I'm with Jeff. I still refuse to do paperless billing and dutifully sit down twice a month to pay bills the old-fashioned way. (Though I do pay most of them online now to save on stamps.) Somehow, if I do the paperwork it registers in my head that the bills are paid and money has left the account. I still keep a register that I track to the penny (though it hasn't been accurate since I went to England in college. NOTE to others, parents suck at keeping track of money not their own). I will probably never join the ranks of folks who rely solely on their online register to keep up with their accounts.

  3. The ATMs that suck your card in DO usually keep it and why would I take the chance when the swipers are more reliable and quicker. And I haven't heard any dinging for a very long time--are you sure you're OK(ie get used to it!!!). And villette 1 is right on for all those reasons and you better hope lifelock works for you because you won't be able to prove you're you real soon. And let us know how long it takes to get that CusServ rep in S. Waziristan to fix the bill. The Luddites were right!! Throw a shoe!!

  4. We are NOT tense; we are INTENSE.