Bank of America: Masters of Spin

Shop Talk by Kitty Kaufman

National Grid supplies gas to the Boston area. Where we used to get a one-page bill, now we get two. Which isn't a big deal except the second page is a "duplicate payment coupon." Page two has all the same information from page one plus "messages." Here are May's messages: one, "off-peak rates are in effect through October" and two, "the gas supply charge is lower." Three, I was commended for "the prompt way you pay your bills." I hope Trans Union and Experian notice and since there are no secrets left, I'm sure they have.

Where are these guys, in a cave? Gas bills with messages?

At Bank of America you can opt for free checks. I bet this is the sole gratis item coming from the bank except for those bonuses. Although the checks get the job done, they're ugly. While you're paying bills you see how they ugly they are and the bank probably does it on purpose so you'll cough up for the ones that look, well, better. The ones you used to get were the bluish green standard issue checks and you can get them now if you pay. They look like you mean business and take life seriously.

Anyway, when I opened my first box of ugly checks I couldn't figure out why the check pad was so heavy. There was the usual check register. Had they sent a double order? No, that wasn't it; the pad weighs so much because there is a carbon copy following every single check. Of course.

Where are these guys, in a cave in Charlotte? With deposit fees, overdraft fees, and statement fees when you don't have what they think is enough money in your account, you'd think there'd be enough money to form a committee to seek out other vendors. Ah, masters of spin.

Yes, I know you can pay your bills on-line so you don't care what your checks look like. I know how long the line is to buy stamps. Still.

© June 15, 2010
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