Rural America – another reason to love “Flyover Country”.

So I’m working on my taxes and I wanted to know how much I paid for electricity last year.
I could go through the file and add up all the monthly bills but I tried something else.  I called the electric company.
A nice young lady by the name of Mandy answered the phone and transferred me to the billing  department.
Here’s how the conversation went.
“Good morning, this is Doris.”  This nice Midwestern voice says to me.
“Good morning Doris, this is Rick Skorupski, how are you on this lovely day?”,  I replied.
“Good, the sun is shining and the snow is melting. What can I do for you this morning?”  She says, steering me back to the business at hand.
“I am hoping that, with a few keystrokes you can answer a question for me and save me an hour of digging.  Can you tell me how much I spent on electricity last year?”, I asked with my fingers crossed.
Doris said,  “Hold on one second ……. You spent $—.– in 2008.”
Elated, I replied,  “Thank you so much, you saved me a bunch of time.”
I heard the smile in her voice when she said,  “No problem Rick.”

Notice what is missing?

She did not ask for an account number, she did not ask for an address. She did not even ask me to spell my name.  She did not tell me she could not or would not help me.

I have never met Doris.  I am not famous.  I am simply a customer of the local electric company.

Can you do what I did?  If you do not live in rural America, I truly doubt it.

I left “The Peoples’ Republic of New Jersey” 5 years ago and never looked back. This is one of the reasons why.

Published in: on March 4, 2009 at 10:03 am  Comments (4)  
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4 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Rick,

    We start with caller ID and connect that to our computer and as soon as the customer relations operator gets your call, they also have your history in front of them. You confirmed identity when you gave your name. They also know of your medical condition and didn’t want to agrivate it by stalling.

    In this part of South Carolina the electric company automatically calls you with a report of an impending outage and again when you should be back on line. A computer voice can inform you of any outage near to you and its status,

    The difference there is you actually talked to a human being where we can only talk to a computer,


    • It sure is nice to get a human right away. Not some recording on hold telling you how important your phone call is. I am not sure if they have the technology to attach the caller ID to the data. I do understand that this is a small company and I am the only customer with my last name.

  2. I remember when it was actually like that in New Jersey (before it became the “people’s republic”) I received mail with only my name on it in 1978! But…that was 30 years ago.

    • Getting a letter with only my name and town? Still happens here.

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