I had full intentions of posting another blog yesterday, to make up for not posting Thursday, I even had a topic.  By time I was done dealing with the Washington Gas (a.k.a Skynet), got some grocery shopping done, ate and wrote a letter of complaint to Washington Gas and the Virginia State Corporation Commission, it was just after midnight and I had no idea what I was going to blog about and I was still irate.

I have two problems with Washington Gas, one problem is compounding the other.  The first is an excessive deposit on our account that they are asking for that we are slowly paying off.  The deposit is almost triple our highest bill at the coldest part of winter.  They decided that we needed to pay this because, before we moved the account was closed rather than transferred.  So much for noting anything in their computers that our account was illegally closed by our old bat-shit crazy landlord trying to get us to move out when we refused because he was terminating our lease illegally.  He also tried to break into the house on numerous occasions.  The guy was a complete nutter and we spent more time at the police station and court house than we did at home.  The worst part of it was we were told we couldn’t bring charges against him for attempted breaking and entering because he was the landlord.  How jacked up is that?  We were told that it would turn into one of those “he said, she said” things.  The man even tried to get CPS to take our kids from us because we wouldn’t give him his way.

So his attempt in shutting off our utilities is still causing us some issues.  See, the gas company can’t shut off our account for non-payment of a security deposit.  Despite this they send us a shut off notice every month over it.  We are left either spending time on the phone with them every month when the notice arrives, if it arrives, or we try to sort out what is owed when on our own.  Now, another small problem we have is that our street number is 4301.  We live in one of those neighborhoods that there is only one way in and one way out and there is a 4301 on another street around the corner from us.  We get their mail on occasion, more often if there is a vacation relief for our normal mail carrier, and they get our mail.  The problem is, when they get our mail they hold onto until they have a large stack of it then bring it over.  Doesn’t matter if there is something in there important, like a gas bill.  Because of this there are utility bills that we get the day before they are due, which means they end up being late, or we get the bill and the shut off notice at the same time the day before our utility is going to be cut off, which means a call to whatever utility.  Now, most utility companies will give us a 7 day extension which solves our problem, but it should not be necessary.

Enter Washington Gas with their sentient computers where employees don’t have to have any knowledge of company policy because the computers do everything…randomly.  Yes, I said randomly.  In fact, I was told “It’s random” is their company policy.  Last I knew the only place with sentient computers was Skynet.  Here I was worried about the Zombie Apocalypse when I should be worried about The Rise of the Machines.  I guess this means that I can stop learning how to make chain mail, after all it’s the SCA members who can make chain mail and their friends who get the chain mail that are going to survive when the zombies come since I seriously doubt that zombies can eat through it.  Let’s not forget that they are also going to be able to create things like bows and arrows to protect themselves.  I have no theories who is going to survive The Rise of the Machines.  At the moment I am leaning toward The Amish but once I give that some thought I am sure I am going to find a huge hole in that theory.

I called Washington Gas asking them what their company policy is regarding how many days after something is due is a disconnect notice generated.  I think that is a legitimate question, and a question that most people have about the majority of their bills, be it their credit cards or their utilities.  If they don’t have it they can find out.  Want to know what I was told?  “It’s random.”

Excuse me?

Can anyone else name a company on this planet, or on some other planet, where the company policy is RANDOM?

This is not an answer that I am going to accept.  It’s an answer that I shouldn’t be expected to accept.  It’s an answer that no one should be expected to accept.

After I said, “Are you serious?  You are telling me that your company policy is random?” the customer service person I was dealing with decided it was okay to cut me off or talk over me every time I started to say something. then told me there was no reason for me to get nasty?  So, it’s okay for customer service employees to be rude,  make comments like “Just pay your bill” but it’s unacceptable when people get irate over it.  I even told her that I would be raising my voice if she didn’t attempt to talk over me or cut me off any time I said something.  Seriously, if I didn’t know better I would say that their employees bait people to get pissed off where they can terminate the call and not deal with them.  The first person I ended up talking to I tripped off line at because he was doing nothing but being argumentative.  Washington Gas seriously needs to retrain their employees on what is acceptable and what isn’t.  I used to work in tech support and if I had treated people like I was treated last night I would have been fired.  No questions asked.  I believe me, I had to deal with some real idiots.  That’s a blog for another time though.

I even explained to Ms. Rudeness that every company has a policy as to when they send out disconnect notices.  Some places it’s two weeks, some it’s 90 days.  It just depends on the company and what the service is.  She stood by, “It’s random”.  “So,” I asked her, “What you are telling me is that depending on the moon phase and aliment of the stars that if my bill was due on the 12th of every month that, theoretically if I didn’t pay it by the 12th, that a disconnect notice could be generated on the 13th but the following month it could be generated on the 28th?”

“That is correct.” She answered. “It’s random whenever the computer decides to spit it out.”

HOLY AI, BATMAN!

The computer decides when to spit it out?  The computer decides?  When the hell did we get sentient computers and why don’t I have one?  I figured Alienware would be right on top of that since they already have a 3D computer available, the M17x R3.  I promise not to do evil things with it.  I figure I could invite it to play Dungeons and Dragons or Magic the Gathering with us.  I promise to play with it and love it, take it out for walks, feed it and keep it’s battery charged.

I ended up writing a letter in complaint about the rudeness of the employees, their failure to transfer me to a supervisor, telling me they didn’t have to, their lack of knowing what company policy was, and that if company policy was indeed random that it was unacceptable.  I also felt that I needed to explain that computers weren’t sentient and that someone had to program them.  The letter went off to both Washington Gas and the Division of Energy at the Va State Corporation Commission with a second letter of explanation and request that they get involved to expedite a logical, reasonable and acceptable resolution to the situation.  I am hopetimistic (a word that I stole from Spin City and have been using for years – it means hopeful and optimistic) that they will look into the “it’s random” policy as well as Washington Gas allowing our landlord to terminate our original gas account, especially since I can provide legal documentation about the situation.  Hopefully someone’s cage will be rattled over at Skynet Washington Gas.

And this is how I spent my Friday Night.  I didn’t even get to work on my machinima that I planned.  I got as far as creating the Sims for it and making sure they had the money to purchase all the video props.

Prior to the grocery store I did also make it over to Game Parlor to pick up sleeves and two deck boxes for two Magic decks.  My dragon deck is finally in a deck box instead of a Worldwake Fat Pack box with all it’s tokens and I have a deck box and sleeves at the ready for my squirrel deck.  As the last of the cards arrive I can sleeve them and put them in the box.  When I was telling Chris at Game Parlor about my Squirrel deck he smiled, shook my hand and said “May they serve you well.”  Why squirrels when I can have an army of mythical creatures at my disposal?  Because it’s funny.  Because flavor text like “Suffer the little creatures for they may yet rise up and beat you senseless.” and “An army of squirrels is still an army.” and “Gnawed to death.  Bad way to go.” amuses me.  My only complaint about my squirrel deck is that I have to print out proxies of the squirrel tokens since they are almost $4.00 a shot and no one has any in stock.

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