The quiet end to a long day. Work at home first and then a drawn out call to handle billing errors, changes in cell phone plans, confusion and poor customer service. Dealing with companies like AT&T has alway been one of my least favorite things to do. Thankfully, Rosanne — mustering all the Sicilian feeling she can — usually deals with these issues. Even she though has tired of endlessly explaining to company workers how their systems have screwed up — again. I can’t blame the folks on the other end of the phone line too much. I spent several years doing similar work and know that it can be extremely unpleasant, mind-numbing and poorly paid. Still, you can’t let the problem go unresolved so you lead them through the issue, pointing out misstep after misstep until you finally reach some solution. They’ll try to charge you extra fees for this or that. So you jump through Hoop A and over Hurdle B to prevent even more money coming out of your pocket.
I re-posted a tip earlier today about making sure that you regularly check all your household bills and bank statements for unknown or unwanted charges and other errors. In the large machinations of any company’s billing department, errors are going to happen and much of the time, you are the only one who is going to discover them. I once had a cable company charge me for months for a modem I had long returned. In the end, I had to dig up the return receipt to prove to them that they had indeed received it and failed to note it or risked having to pay for the device and more fees on top of that.
Attention must be paid to your life or you will suffer. This is a simple fact. If you don’t look out for yourself on a daily basis, little items like this will chop away at your finances (and sometimes your sanity!) I have a reminder scheduled every 3 months to set aside time to check each and every bill received during that month for any irregularities. Ideally, you should do it every month, but the reality is that you usually don’t have they time and/or energy to do that so quarterly is my compromise position.
Attention also must be paid to the infrastructure that surrounds you. In my house, kitchen faucets fail, bathroom valves start to leak, paint peels and doors squeak. Sure, I ignore it for a long time, but I know I can’t ignore it forever. The longer I wait the larger the problem grows, and usually, the more costly. I can do basic repairs and such, although for certain items I always call in the professional. I can guarantee you, though, that if you ignore a problem it will come back to bite you sooner or later. Give it the attention it needs or it will TAKE that attention when it fails.
So, tonight I can sleep the sleep of the righteous. I have fought the dragon and lived — at least for one more day. The trouble is, of course, that the dragons, large and small, will all be back tomorrow looking to have me for a snack. Attention must be paid. Don’t let the dragons eat you.
Previously on End of the Day: