Who do I hate?

I hate the phone companies, but I need a new phone. I hate having to pay the same rate that someone getting a subsidized phone pays, even if I buy an unlocked phone. I hate that there are locked phones. I hate the obligatory contracts. I hate the ignorant, conniving, pushy salespeople in the phone stores. I hate calling customer support. My phone hasn’t worked for weeks. I haven’t gotten a new one because I hate AT&T. I wish they would go bankrupt, or be regulated out of existence in any meaningful way. I wish we had an open, competitive mobile communications marketplace, with low barriers to entry for new carriers, and an open platform encouraging new hardware manufacturers to make innovative handsets, and encouraging writers of software to create innovative mobile applications. But we don’t. Mobile phones suck. The industry sucks. The FCC sucks. Mobile computing sucks. It’s horribly broken, and they all want to keep it that way.

I hate health insurance companies, but I need to go to the dentist. I have coverage – in theory, I could find a dentist that takes Blue Cross, go in, make a small co-payment, and get my teeth cleaned and checked out, every 6 months. But it doesn’t actually work that way. They’ll force me to sign something saying I’ll pay the bill if my insurance company refuses. And my insurance company will refuse. Or feign ignorance. Or lose the paperwork. Or pay the wrong amount. Or claim the fact that I changed my name after I signed up with them nullifies my coverage altogether. And they won’t return my calls, or my e-mails. They’ll say I need to talk to the dentist. The dentist will say I need to talk to the insurance company. It will be 6 months before it’s all settled, and then I’ll have to go to the dentist again, and the whole process will start all over. Even good medical insurance sucks. They can advertise all the wonderful features they want in the glossy brochures, but in reality, their business model is built around making sure you can’t take advantage of any of them.

I hate the IRS, but they took my money, and I want to get it back. They failed to notice the $291 that they withdrew directly from my bank account on April 10th, and fastidiously deducted that amount, plus interest, from my economic stimulus package (not that I support the idea of the economic stimulus packages – I don’t – but if they’re spending my tax money on it, I damn well want my slice of the pork pot pie). Their phone center doesn’t work. It connects me to a static generating machine. I hangs up on me. It doesn’t offer me any option pertaining to my plight. It infuriatingly notes that I have a payment which is being processed, in the amount of $291, from April 10th. They have not acknowledged the fact that I sent them a letter and documentation attesting to the fact that they double-taxed me. And what will happen if I withhold $300 from my taxes next year in compensation? Probably bad things.

That’s who I hate today. We’ll see about tomorrow.

By Zane Selvans

A former space explorer, now marooned on a beautiful, dying world.

One reply on “Who do I hate?”

All the things you write about the phone companies, in addition to my own budget, are reasons why I still have never owned a cell phone. I sympathize with your IRS plight and the feeling of helplessness that comes with it.

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