I had realized that I got screwed yesterday. It turns out when you get a bill from a company you need to check it carefully and not just pay it off and forget about it. I paid my phone bill which was an astronomical $396 dollars and then started thinking. Why is it so high? I started looking at the numbers and realized a few things that I was paying that I didn’t need to pay.
1. I received a text message from a company called ClickGen that I ignored, but after contacting my phone company found out that the FCC actually allows this company to send text messages that if you don’t respond with OUT you get charged $9.99 a month. Lucky for me they reversed the charges.
2. We’re on the Universal Lifeline service because we don’t make money in the 1%’er range, yet we’re still charged tax for the people who receive Universal Lifeline service. That was fixed with the call.
3. The bill said I hadn’t paid last month’s bill so that was added in, but upon checking I had and I mentioned that I had proof that I had paid the previous bill. Upon hearing that they credited me $156.09 dollars which means my next bill will probably have to be paid in August.
Lots of us get bills and just pay them. Its a good time to look over every aspect of your bills because these companies while I won’t say a re totally unscrupulous don’t exactly have their act together because they let their computers do their thinking for them. Because of this they sometimes make mistakes, but they won’t admit that as long as you keep paying your bills.
Keep a good eye on the bills you receive. I get emails from GoDaddy almost monthly telling me that my domain is about to expire yet I’ve never registered a domain with GoDaddy. These are tactics that companies use to get you to hand over money to them that you don’t need to and if you complain they’ll just say it was a computer error to try and avoid admittance of fault on their behalf.
If you keep your eye on your bills you might find that you have more money in your pocket at the end of the month so do what I have done so you don’t get taken.
GARBAGE! The tainted word on the street. My mother always told me that if I didn’t get good grades I would end up as a garbage collector. As it turns out the garbage collectors make a better wage than I was making with my college degree for some years. Now I have to admit that with technology’s evolution garbage collection has gotten much better and our streets are cleaner, so I’m not going to totally blame Recology who collects our garbage problem, but they are a part of it.
In my unemployed times I spent my mornings at home getting up early and pretty much doing nothing in the mornings except look for work on craigslist. Come garbage collection day I would hear the trucks come by and the guy would haul the bins to the truck that would pick them up and dump their contents into the garbage or recycle areas where they would be crushed down a bit.
These were still open areas and just as we all know when you stomp down your garbage to fit more in it expands back a bit afterwards. The problem with this is as the trucks pick up speed some of the garbage blows out the side of the bins back onto the street. San Francisco being the windy city that it is causes the garbage to be blown back across our lawns, houses, sometimes into our entryways. Just yesterday I pulled a receipt out of my entryway that turns out came from cafe out in the Mission. After that I picked up the lid and straw from a McDonald’s cup that the closest one was a couple miles away.
This isn’t discards from people driving by, but they come from one of two places: Recology trucks that let some of their garbage fly off or from recycle raccoons. The second are the people that at night when you put out your bins go through them to find anything of value to take and sell back at the local recycle areas in the neighborhood. Maybe that lid from McDonald’s came out of our bin from our last trip there, but we didn’t throw it on our lawn, the recycle raccoons who go through our bins, some of which I’ve seen stop and wait for you to bring your bins out and even say thank you before raiding your bins have forgotten to put back.
These people are essentially stealing money from the city by foraging in your waste bins for aluminum and glass. They’ll pull out the bags of recycling you’ve deposited and go through them to find what they need and the nice ones put back what they don’t. Some on the other hand leave the bags outside to move on quickly, or just give it a toss back without bothering to pick up what falls out.
These tend to be elderly citizens looking to make an extra buck and I don’t necessarily blame them for looking to make an extra buck, but they need to either understand that their presence is making our neighborhoods look ugly or Recology needs to find a way to keep them from raiding the bins. PG&E has a system that if you have a gate on the front of your house that the meter readers have a key to get in to read the meters, so perhaps Recology could create locked bins that the collectors would have to unlock before dumping in the trucks. It would also be nice if the bins were made of a more sturdy trapezoidal shape that would keep them from blowing over in the wind dumping their contents on the street rather than the inverse trapezoid shape that makes them top heavy and bottom light that doesn’t work with our winds.
I love my neighborhood, but it really burns my ass [thank you Terry Baum for that phrase] some days when I see my neighbors hard work and money invested in making their front yard look nice only to see it littered with paper and twine wrapped around their eco-friendly, low water consumption, San Francisco values plants.
I was prompted to write today’s post by events of last night. Tuesday Morning is garbage pick up day for us and so we put our cans out Monday evening. I get preoccupied every Monday and I can put the cans out between 6pm and 10pm. The same thing happens every time I put them out. Within five minutes I hear a rustling outside to find the picture included with this post.
Now while you can’t exactly tell from this picture, the woman rifling through my recycling is an elderly Chinese woman. You can see them throughout the day traveling around with shopping carts filled with stolen recycling or rifling through public garbage cans on the street in commercial areas.
Here is where I have a couple of points I’d like to make:
- First off, you may not realize this, but this is technically theft. To go through the cans that are the property of the City and Country of San Francisco to retrieve material of value [i.e. aluminum cans and other recyclable material] you are robbing the City and County of San Francisco of money that could be used in the long run to reduce costs of garbage collection. I’ll admit that while they won’t get rich off of it, they have the trucks to process it more quickly than a person walking down the street with paper bags so they can get more bang for the buck than the average recycle raccoon going through your bin can.
- This is aimed at all the Tiger Mom’s and Dad’s out there. I understand that you want your children to make something of themselves in life, who wouldn’t? How does this make your kids feel when they are told to work hard, get a good job, build a good family so that when you are retirement age you retire and walk around in salvation army clothes digging through other people’s garbage in the dark of night? Do you really want these people to send that message to your kids?
These are not role models I want my daughter to learn and even though the people are nice when I encounter them saying thank you, they need to realize that I and other people in San Francisco don’t put out our recycling to support you. We put it out to support the city and help lower prices a bit. If you’re going to steal my recycling to cash in then I’m going to have to ask for a cut of your profit. After I’m finished with this article I am going to make a sign and put it on my recycling container that says, If you remove recycling from this container I expect to have a $20 bill dropped in my mailbox on the first of every month. If I do not receive $20 per month I will photograph you removing my property and turn it over to the police.
Let’s face it, if THEY’RE going to make a buck on me, then I’m going to make a buck on them.