My Delinquent Bill


If I had access to some napalm, I would go to my shed and make a bomb. I would then take helicopter flying lessons at Heliventures in Concord, NC. I would then fly over Research Triangle Park, NC, and shove that bomb out of the window onto the Time Warner Cable headquarters building. I would do it at night so that the only person who was hurt was the automated woman who will not let you talk to people. I call her Helen.

She has to go.

Time Warner has changed the envelopes that they send the monthly bill in. Instead of a plain white envelope with their logo somewhere small on the front, they now have messages printed all over the outside. On the front, mine says:

Make any screen a TV with the TWC TV app


With your TV subscription

Download it today.

On the back, it tells me I can watch live TV on my computer anywhere in the world. Heck, if I could get a ride to Mars, with this new product, I could watch it there.

The envelope now looks an awful lot like the weekly Capital One VISA card offer I receive. Or the Fraternal Order of Police requesting that I help the families of brave officers. Or the monthly sales pitch from Pretty Tree Mountain that only has 470 lots left - Get Yours Today, They're Going Quick!

I'm guessing that their new snazzy envelope marketing strategy is why I didn't pay my bill last month. You see, as I walk to the house from the mailbox each day, I toss out the 15 credit card offers, the nonprofit requests I have no connection with and the flyers for 10% off of Kroger cantaloupes because that's not my grocery store. I walk right by the recycle bin on my way in the house. I figure, by the time I die, this strategy will save me three or four trips from the inside container to the outside bin. And carrying a large Tupperware box of newspapers down a flight of steps at age 87 has to be difficult.

I was surprised when I received an automated message from TWC telling me that I owed them nearly $400; my current bill which just arrived this week and the last one. And then, this robot who left the message informed me that he was headed over, what seemed like right that minute, to cut off my cable, phone service and internet access. I was frightened. It was like a Transformer was coming to steal my kids and wreck havoc on my house.

I paid the bill on-line immediately and called the next morning to clear things up. I don't like people thinking I don't pay my bills - I do. I've never carried over a balance on my VISA card. I don't want a blemish on my record. I don't want the employees at TWC talking bad about me. Although, I'm not sure they have employees.

As usual, I called and Helen asked me why I was bothering them.

"Do you want to add service to your existing plan? Do you have a question about your bill? Are you calling about the plan associated with the phone you're calling from? Do your ears swing low do they wobble to and fro?"

She asks the same questions EVERY TIME I CALL. You'd think by now our relationship would have developed to more interpersonal interactions - nope.

I'd decided I'd be nice today. It was a good morning. This wasn't Helen's fault, she was just doing her job.

But after she put me off for quite some time, I lost my cool and yelled at her.


I know, I'm a Christian. I really shouldn't yell like that. And it is just a recording. But I get so, so mad.

Finally, Helen shut up and put me on hold for the next available operator. Three times while I waited, Helen came back on and told me that she was sorry for making me wait and that customers were their top priority.

"Ya' lyin' sack of wheat."

To fill my wait time, a recording of a dude informed me that the first cabins were built in America in 1683 and that they didn't have TV or the Internet.

Why did he tell me that? I know they didn't have TV in the 1600's! Duh.

Just play me some good music Helen, don't send your friend in to try to be cute. I'm clearly not in the mood for fun and games after waiting 28 minutes to talk to someone who can actually talk back.

Finally, Teresa came on the line, and I believe her to be real. I apologized for not paying in August and asked her not to think poorly of me and to call the Transformer off. She said she'd take care of him.

I then told her about the envelope issue and wondered if she could pass my concerns on. She told me she didn't have anything to do with the envelopes and could not pass my suggestion on but that I was welcome to call the Customer Comments number listed on their website to express my concerns.

I did not.