February 8th, 2009

krazy koati

It's all tax-deductible, we're fairly incorruptible

I'm beginning to lose my love for automatic payment schemes. I didn't really have any before moving to Singapore, where the power company had me signed up for Giro deductions before I knew what was going on. Giro schemes work out pretty well, though: every month they'd send me a bill, and if I didn't contest the amount then on the specified date they take the appropriate amount out of the designated account. That was lovely. It was all the important things about paying bills without the fuss of having to actually keep track of what's paid or what's due or what's in waiting yet. I liked living with as few bills as possible to have to pay, and was soon converted to things like leaving my student loan payments on automated schedules.

Well, I set my car insurance to be paid automatically, once a month, which matched their expectation of monthly payments. And this was working fine, and while they sent me bills every month I didn't pay attention to them since they were actually paid by the time the bills arrived. All was well, though. My student loan people even send me monthly announcements that my Sisyphean efforts to pay off graduate school continue.

Until. I got a letter from my insurers telling me they were cancelling my policy for non-payment. A quick phone call later and it turned out my bank for no obvious reason decided to not send the November payment (which would have finished my bills for the year), and didn't think that was worth telling me about. I got that straightened out quickly, with just one twenty-minute wait while the insurance company was looking for an appropriate agent who would call me back ``in five minutes'' (they called back just as I had decided I'd attempt calling again), but I am irritated that I have this trouble in the first place.

Trivia: The patent for Thomas Edison's quadruplex telegraph was filed jointly with Western Union chief engineer George B Prescott, though Prescott contributed little to the development of the technology. Source: Edison: A Biography, Matthew Josephson.

Currently Reading: The Age Of Gold: The California Gold Rush And The New American Dream, H W Brands.