Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Money For Nothing

Because of some issues I'm having with my phone company, I started thinking today about all the ways we hand over hard-earned cash.

The phone company wants me to pay $3 a month to block a single irksome caller. It's a call that has no remedy as the call just rings one and a half times and that's it. Nobody is ever there when you pick up. I also know, because I asked on Facebook, that many others are receiving this call. But the phone company won't block the number unless I add call blocking to my phone. I refuse to pay for something I think the phone company should rectify. Ultimately, they are going to lose even more of my business because I'm going to get rid of voice mail and go back to an answering machine, and I'm also going to look into something other than their DSL for Internet. They stand to lose $100 a month over $3, if I can get it all sorted out.

Anyway, this brought to mind numerous other items that I pay for with minimal return. A head of lettuce is one. I buy lettuce because I'm supposed to eat healthy salads, but I haven't found a way to "process" lettuce so that it keeps for any period of time and is convenient. I find making a salad inconvenient as I am forced to spend 20 minutes making a healthy dish that I eat in 5 minutes. I may as well simply walk into a grocery store and say, here's $10, this is my "salad allotment" for the month, and walk out with nothing. Ultimately the salad fixings end up in the trash.

AOL also brought this to mind today because they've changed their log-in screen or something, and now I am having to log in with a password every time and I have three accounts. This is frustrating. I remember when AOL was the only access to the Internet for me, and so I paid for dial-up through it. Then after I was able to obtain dial-up through my local phone company, I no longer paid for AOL (by that time it had switched to a free version). I ignore the advertisements and use the email. However, I have a friend who still pays whatever she was paying for dial-up with AOL from way back when. I have suggested multiple times that she is paying for something she doesn't use, but to my knowledge she still pays it. I don't know how that keeps happening as credit cards expire but whatever.

This is why I dislike allowing companies to charge for things on your credit card automatically. It is too easy for a person to ignore the charge and for the company to simply take money. I had signed up for a trial run of a Zazzle Black account during the holiday season so I would get free shipping, and I forgot to cancel it within the one month period. I was dinged for the $9.95. That was my bad so I ate it.

Norton (virus protection) always wants to do its automatic charge and I turn that off, too. They charge the full price for automatic renewal, but you can always find a better deal and get it that way and save yourself $20 or more.

My mother-in-law was paying the phone company for a rotary dial phone rental - a phone that they had long since tossed. I finally convinced her to call and get the charge off of the bill. I wonder how many older folks are paying that fee on their phone bills when they haven't actually rented a phone from the phone company since 1965.

DirecTV is going up $5 on its charge on January 21, so we will once again be looking at our programming and trying to figure out how to deal with that. Here too there is a possibility we may simply pull out and take our business elsewhere.

Now we are trading money for air. Video games with "in game" purchases are raking in money in $0.99 increments. Every time someone gets stuck and pays the little $0.99 to move ahead, they are literally paying for their lack of patience. All of these games are winnable if people take the time to play them (sometimes over and over, but still, you are putting out your own time and not money). I personally prefer to pay for a full game up front and be done with it. I do not pay for in-game purchases but I know a lot of people do. I am playing one game that I bet people have paid $1,000 for in order to progress, based on the outrageous charges the company asks for the "diamonds" one needs to move forward quickly.

My point - and I do have one - is that we all need to be more careful in our purchases and watch our credit cards and bills. If you see something on a bill that you don't understand, call and ask about it. You may find out you're being charged for something you shouldn't be.

It's a crazy world we live in. Your job is to hold on to what you can make and hope it is enough to live on, and it's everyone else's job to try to take it away from you, apparently. That's capitalism for you. I hate it but I know it appeals to the innate greed of human nature.

Nothing to do but hang tight to my quarters and dimes, I guess.


  1. I almost hate downloading any kind of app to my phone because of the “extra charges.” Which by the way, I never pay. If I can’t buy a whole product why bother buying it at all! I work hard for what I have and don’t mind spending on things I want, need or enjoy but don’t “ sucker” me or try to cheat me into buying something. You will lose my business every time and possibly anyone else I can tell about your business practices or products. Hope you are feeling better?

  2. I dropped Lumos/Intellos, at an average of $70 month,and put in the $20 Home deal with Verizon. Kept my home number and everything. Still have a land line set up, just not tied to the land.

  3. I agree, so much dead word paying and they raise utilities and such several times a year


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