Friday, January 18, 2008

Guess What: I Still Ain’t Paying

Yes, I’m still fighting with the gas company and here’s why:

On Tuesday morning I’m leaving my apartment to head to work and I see a man fiddling around with the gas meters outside of my apartment complex. I look around and see a gas company truck, so I feel comfortable enough to approach the man and ask him what is going on, considering my current woes with the company.

He tells me that he came out to respond to a call from an apartment two floors under me—complaining of no heat—and he found that despite turning the switch on for the line, the apartment still wasn’t getting heat. Anyway, he came back out and found that the meters had been SWITCHED between apartments. Damn right they weren’t getting any heat. I had maintenance shut that bitch off three days before. When I came out he was putting them back in their correct positions.

I knew something was wrong. I just had no idea it would be something as shady as that. Maybe I was in denial, but it’s become clear that I live in the ghetto. These muhfuk’n shiftless ass apartment dwellers disconnected the two meters, switched them around and was running up all kinds of therms at my expense. These bammas done charged up over $300 worth of gas on my account, while I’m trying to be conservative and use space heaters and dress in layers in my damn apartment. Oh hell no. I ain’t payin’ shit.

This mess has got to be illegal. Somebody, get my local Congressman on the phone. I need yall to mandate that the gas companies offer apartment dwellers some protections against this. It’s too damn easy to maneuver. I watched the employee. He had a simple wrench, unscrewed them and shifted them around. He told me he’s seen it done before, and wished me luck getting through to the customer service department. He then marked the lines made some notes for the company and checked the line up in my apartment to make sure that everything was ok.

You know when I got to work I got straight on the phone and called the company up. I told them what I had witnessed and they said that the technician’s story corroborated what I was telling them, but that they needed to open up an investigation into the matter to see how my billing issue would be resolved. Why is this not an open and shut case? I asked to speak to a manager, but of course I got the standard “they’re in a meeting” response. This agitates me. I say is that you’re protocol for whenever someone asks to speak to a manager for you to tell them that they’re in a meeting? Cuz I’ve called all times of day and have been told the same story and I don’t accept this. Even if this all blows over corporate is going to get an email from me on this.

My next call was to the property managers at my apartment complex. After being told that this was a gas company issue and that he could not offer me any protections against this, I’m peeved. He does however say that eviction proceedings would be carried out, if what I’m saying is corroborated by the gas company. Yes, please get rid of these trifling ass people, because I don’t have time to be sitting outside guarding my gas meter with a shot gun.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Point Blank: I Ain't Payin'

So I've been having some issues with my gas company. When I first moved into my apartment in June all was good with the world. For the first four months our relationship was great. My bills stayed under $20 and I was a happy camper. Little did I know one fateful December evening that our cordial relationship would be compromised.

That night after a long day of work, I open my mail and see what I can only assume is a fictitious bill from the gas company. In the thirty days of November, according to them, my gas usage spiked from six therms to 74, hiking my bill to more than $120. For a one bedroom apartment? And I didn't even turn on the heat? (It hadn't gotten bitterly cold yet, so I was squeaking by on space heaters.) You can't be serious. I called immejiately.

Mr. Customer Service Representative barely spoke English (that's a rant for another blog), but tried to convince me that it was reasonable to see a $100 difference in the span of one month. I did not agree and hung up to find a more reasonable representative. The next person to answer the phone Ms. Customer Service Representative, still didn't tell me what I wanted to hear, but offered me the option to dispute the charges and have a technician come out and check the meter. I went on vacation and didn't follow up until last Friday, when I got yet another bill this one insisting that I used 124 therms and now owe them $191.00 for December. Hell to the naw.

Again I get on the phone. I explain my situation to Ms. Customer Service Representative #2 and first she tells me there's no note that my meter issues had come to any resolution. She puts me on hold. She comes back and changed her story. Indeed a technician had come out to my property and certified that the meter was in perfect working order. I called bullshit. She puts me on hold again, comes back and tries to tell me that I was not charged between June and October and that these higher bills reflect a "catchup bill." No effin way. My bills say actual reading. So no I don't accept your weak ass argument. She puts me on hold again, and comes back and now says that the readings reflect actual usage. I tell her there's no way in hell a one bedroom apartment (where I don't pay for cooking gas or water heating) can consume 124 therms of gas in any 30-something day period. I asked to speak to the manager.

This is where things get ridiculous. I go through the conversation I had with her underling and Ms. Customer Service Manager tells me that there's nothing else I can do to dispute this and that I need to accept the terms of a 6-month payment plan that she's offering me. I continue to tell her that I'm going to do no such thing because that would be acknowledging that I consumed those therms when I know I didn't. She said some ish about how she was trying to be lenient with me and would have stretched out the payments for a year, but I can't even certify that my appliances are in working order. I'm all about paying what you owe, but I didn't benefit from those therms so I ain't payin.

We go back and forth about it and I tell her that she needs to tell me what the next step is. This heffa says to me, "The next step is to pay your bill." *RECORD SCRATCH* No this bitch didn't. See this is where a less civilized version of myself would have had a Nigga moment, and cursed the bitch out and called her anything but a child of God. Lawd, how I wished I could reach through the phone and strangle her bitch ass. But no, I keep my cool and tell her that is not good customer service and I know that they trained you better.

Congress has a million customer bill of rights floating around, where's the one that mandates that representatives can't talk out the side of their necks at their customers. Oh wait that's supposed to be common fucking sense. Still, I need my local Congressman to get on that.

I insisted that I needed to speak with someone else above her. But its damn near 9 o'clock we've been on the phone for more than an hour and I just can't fight anymore. I resolve to calling back in the morning.

I didn't call back, but instead went to my rental office to see what if anything they could do about this. My maintenance guy shut off the gas flow in my apartment and said he would monitor the meter. He called back the next day to say that despite the gas flow being shut off the meter was still registering "usage." He said he shut the meter off too.

Moral of the story: I ain't use it so I ain't paying--bitches.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Random Negro Stories File: Part One

Happy New Year Everybody! I know I took two months off from the blog scene. I’d like to say it was because I was traumatized by the collection of random Negro stories that I’m about to share with you, but really it’s just cuz I was lazy. Still enjoy and feel free to write your local Congressman to demand blogger work requirements. I know I would. (Insert smile here)

And now off to the random Negro stories:

Pre-Game Fiance: Around mid-October I met this guy at a lounge at a Wednesday night happy hour. He seemed cool enough, so I gave him the digits. We emailed and talked on the phone a few times but a couple days into our “talking” he sends me a text at like 9 o’clock on a Saturday morning asking me to make him pancakes. When I declined he wrote back asking me to marry him and move to Africa, so long as we could get back to D.C. in time to see the Redskins on Sunday. UMMMM WOW!!!

The Sixth Heartbeat: Every time I put a new pic up on myspace, the random Negro friend requests increase three-fold. One of the more interesting requests came from a guy that kept referring to himself as “Eddie King.” Yes the fictitious 60s singer from the Robert Townsend flick. Old boy was asking me when I was gonna be “ready to come hang with old eddie king and show him what u workin an twurkin with sometime.” I humored him for a few messages, but once he said, “you can’t hang with Eddie King” I decided that he meant the Eddie King after the crack addiction and kept it moving.

Keep it in the Family: So apparently TGI Fridays is becoming one of my favorite spots. This random Negro story is brought to you by an escapade happened at the one in Laurel So I’m with my girl and there are two guys and a girl seat not too far down the bar from us. Somehow we end up taking shots of tequila with them (on their dime). We find out that they’re Howard Alum, but from waaaay back in the day. So of course you know that means that one of them wanted to talk to me, b/c the only men that try to holla at me are either A. Old, B. African, or C. have two or more kids. It turns out that this guy is two out of the three. Still we end up at some other bar, where they are playing music and what not. I politely tell him that he’s too old for me and focus my attention elsewhere. Later on my friend tells me that he told her that he wanted to hook me up with his son who is actually my age. Yea….interesting.

Little Jack Horner: So I was in ATL kicking it with my family for the holidays. One of my boys hits me up about going to a party a dude we knew from high school was throwing Christmas night. I end up dragging my friend, who drove up to spend the holiday with me and my crazy family, along. We got there way too early and the party was dead. It started to get a lil better as the night wore on and our goose and cranberry started to settle in. Tell me why there was this dude dressed like Tyrone Biggums who was trying to dance with me. I wasn’t in the mood. I just wanted to chill and not sweat my perm out. This bamma hooks his finger into the belt loop on the back of my jeans trying to pull me closer to him. When I move to unhook him from me, he’s like come on shawty..why you gotta be like that…at least I didn’t grab yo ass. I’m like gee so you apparently because he put in his thumb, but didn’t pulled out a plum (i.e. my ass) I was supposed to say oh what a good boy. Thanks for clearing that up.