Thursday, November 20, 2008

Monopolies

I hate Monopolies. Hate is a strong word but yes, I hate them. Both the City of Raleigh and the power company provide services that we are forced to accept. Let me tell you two stories.

Story 1: Power Company
The problem with a monopoly on something like power is that they can do whatever they want to you and you have no other choice on the matter. CP&L took around $100 out of my account but didn't apply it to my bill. By doing that, they effectively stole from me. I spent an hour every day for over a week with both the bank and CP&L trying to prove that my account was $100 lighter because they took out the money. Around seven hours (spead over several days) of talk time later, they finally accepted the fact that I was right and credited my account. That was annoying but instead of apologizing for their mistake, they penalized me. Since my payment was "late" due to their mistake, they said they couldn't trust that I would pay my bill on time and would need to start paying in cash or by a cashiers check. To do that, I would have to make an extra trip out to one of their billing stations and pay my bill as well as the charges for cutting the special check. Combine that with gas prices at the time and you can see why I was pretty annoyed with them. I suggested that we use what any other company who is trying to stay competitive in a free market economy and pay with my debit card. They were more then happy to do that but said it would be a $5 fee for that service. Finally, we found a solution which sort of worked for both of us, automatic draft. Great, "I'd like it to be taken out on the 15th of each month please" was my response. Their response was "haha, no." Seriously, they laughed and said they would take the money out on the 29th. Granted its normally no more then $100 so its not a huge deal but that's one day before pay day. The whole problem started because they thought I didn't have the money to pay them so the day before 99% of working folks get paid isn't the best day to be taking the funds.

I lament the situation and realize that there is nothing I can do. Socialism is quickly becoming part of our economy and this is the sort of thing I will have to get used to. Free market not only drives down prices but forces companies to treat their customers with respect. Hello Obama, goodbye customer service.

Story 2: Trash
Every month, the City of Raleigh is charging me $20.60 for both solid waste and recycling. I called them to get rid of my recycling service because I feel they should pay me to recycle, not the other way around. Their response, "tough." Yep, since this is a government run program, I have to pay for it even if I don't use it. I can not cancel water, trash, or recycle even if I wanted to. Hello Obama, goodbye freedom of choice.

This may sound like I'm down on one man. No, I think he'll do some good things and we need a change but he strongly believes in big government. He thinks the government can be more fair and kind therefore we should all pay for every service he believes in. That means my tax or bill money will be forced to pay for things like abortion for teens.

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