Your Transaction was Successful

Bird

I wanted his picture and he was nice enough to turn toward me.

Yay! Lucky me! Oh, wait, you’re congratulating me for spending money with you.

I don’t pay the bills around here, but I see this kind of message a lot. Companies, with whom I have no choice but to sign-up for an automatic payment scheme, are congratulating me when they reach into my account and take another fistful of dollars. The current bearer of happy news are the folks over at E-ZPass:

“We are pleased to inform you that your E-ZPass account number ending in XXXXXX was automatically replenished on…using the payment method you had previously selected… The payment has been accepted and applied to your E-ZPass account and your updated balance is…”

If that isn’t a reason to jump for joy, I don’t know what is.

I get the same kind of exciting feeling when AT&T congratulates me because my “automatic payment was successful.” Yay, I get to keep using the over-priced cell service for another month. Of course, that service only allows me to use AT&T’s towers, copper and microwave transmitters and receivers. It doesn’t actually let me speak to anyone or send a message or read a blog. For that stuff, I need a phone, and for that I need Apple.

Apple reaches into my wallet every month, too. They don’t congratulate me though. Apple is uncharacteristically matter-of-fact about their transactions:

“You may contact Apple for a full refund within 15 days of a monthly subscription upgrade or within 45 days after a yearly payment. Partial refunds are available where required by law.

This email confirms payment for the iCloud storage plan listed above. You will be billed each plan period until you cancel by downgrading to the free storage plan from your iOS device, Mac or PC.”

The gray and centered text is Apple’s way of injecting a little of that “hey-we’re-different out here at 1 Infinite Loop, Cupertino, CA” into their correspondence. Infinite Loop indeed. The three dollars and change I pay them for iCloud storage will continue ad-infinitum until I decide to throw caution to the wind and not backup my photos. You know, the week before I drop my phone in the toilet.

So what gives? Is that still an expression? That was an expression back when family members shared one phone and paid less than what it costs to keep one iPhone connected to the invisible grid. That was an expression back when AT&T would send you a phone bill that included the words “Thank you for choosing AT&T” somewhere in the not-so-fine-print. That was after the judge busted up Ma Bell. Suddenly, we had options and AT&T was happy to be the option we chose. These days. Now that we have tons of options, it’s “your payment attempt was successful” as if it was the point-after-a-touchdown. “Yay, put both hands up, your credit card cleared the bar, split the uprights. You’re a winner!

It wouldn’t be fair if I didn’t point out that Marriott and American Express appreciate my business. Every email I receive from them says so.

The company who is far and away the best at not thanking me, is our electric company, the former Connecticut Light and Power, CL&P.

For the longest time, the most active day on this blog was when, during a 10-day power outage that CL&P couldn’t seem to recover from, I posted a series of sarcastic remarks crafted from their ongoing excuses. Hoisting them on their own petard. Today, the guy who made the remarks I was turning against CL&P is no longer with the company and the company has changed their name to Eversource.

Eversource doesn’t thank us when the check my wife sends them clears our account. They don’t thank us for being customers, even though, I suppose we could buy our electrons from someone else. They don’t thank us even though we choose to buy those electrons instead of generating them with couple of dozen rooftop solar panels. No, they chastise us for using more electricity than our neighbors!

Seriously.

CLP chart

Pretty much what my bill looks like.

They print off a cute little graph showing the average amount of electricity used by the people around here with similar sized houses, including a separate bar for the uber-efficient neighbors.

I’m sorry, I was working in my workshop. My wife was cooking. We were surviving the “coldest month ever recorded” or the hot and humid conditions that pose for summer around here. We were vacuuming dog hair and cleaning up cat puke and washing the socks that walked through both. I was using hot water to shower before going to work to earn the money I send you and AT&T, E-ZPass, and Apple. I didn’t know it bothered you so much. I thought that my using electricity is how you stay in business. I thought you liked cashing my check.

E-ZPass, Apple, AT&T and Eversource, the words you are looking for are: “Thank You!”

About Dan Antion

Husband, father, woodworker, cyclist, photographer, geek - oh wait, I’m writing this like I only have 140 characters. I am all those things, and more, and all of these passions present me with opportunities to observe, and think about things that I can’t write about in other places. I have started this blog to catch the stuff that falls out, overflows and just plain doesn’t fit the other containers in my life.
This entry was posted in Customer Service, Rant and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

55 Responses to Your Transaction was Successful

  1. Mike Powell says:

    I laughed and nodded my head repeatedly as I ready your posting, Dan. I suspect that corporations spend big bucks to have studies done on how best to respond to customers. How can I apply for that job?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dan Antion says:

      Thanks Mike. It’s always good to know that it’s not just me. You’re probably right, they probably did spend money to develop these approaches. They should have listened to the collective grandmothers’ wisdom.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Eversource takes our payment and so does E-ZPass. I need my electricity, try to conserve, and ignore their snarkiness. As for a transponder, I continue to wonder why local folks sit in the cash lane scrambling for change to get through the tolls. I also have AT&T cell coverage. On a beautiful drive up to Meredith on Saturday, I had coverage all the way. On the return trip, I never had a bar until I was almost home. But, I’m grateful anyway – hubby worked for a division of Ma Bell his entire career. So, at least when I have no bars, I’m paying less than you are. :-)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dan Antion says:

      Ha – I always like to know people who benefit from my payments. Now, when I pay AT&T, I can feel better. I can tell myself “somehow, this is for Judy.” When I drive to Boston and see the folks in the Cash lane, I just shake my head. Especially the ones with MA plates. I don’t mind paying Eversource. Like you, I need the juice. I just wish they didn’t try to make me feel bad about using it. Thanks for the comment Judy.

      Like

  3. Good timing, Dan. I just received a notice from my electric company that I use 50% more electricity than my surrounding neighbors. Well, of course! I keep the air conditioning running for Cody, as well as a few lights. In the evening and on weekends, hubby and I are both busy with electric-guzzling devices such as TV, computer, washing & dryer, refrigerator, microwave, toaster oven, vacuum.

    On the other hand, on one side of me lives the bimbo who is seldom home at all, and when she is home spends her time sitting in her garage smoking cigarettes. Her lights are never on (both physically and mentally). She picks up McDonald’s three times a day, so I doubt she’s using the kitchen appliances much.

    On the other side of us is the retired guy who has a cottage in Canada. When he’s not in Canada, he’s over at his elderly mother’s house taking care of her. When he’s home, he uses one very dim light to walk around by.

    So, yeah, I use more electricity than either of my next-door neighbors. I guess I should run out and spend $30,000 or so for those solar panels to take the strain off the electrical grid.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Dan Antion says:

      Thanks CM! I love your response! I have yet to meet anyone who appreciates that graph. I didn’t want to get personal about my neighbors, but, suffice it to say, there are differences. We keep the AC on for the pets when we go out, and we keep it on during a lot of nice days because of the pollen.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. AmyRose🌹 says:

    Another great one, Dan. You packed a lot into this … Your photos beautiful! FYI. .. I just bought an android cell phone … yep I bit the bullet, going with Samsung. Now I can do all communications from this one source. It has a better camera then Apple. Yup, true.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dan Antion says:

      Thanks Amy. I’ll keep an eye out for the photos from that new phone. I know you usually are purposeful on photo shoots, but the best camera is the one you have, so…

      Liked by 1 person

      • AmyRose🌹 says:

        I am experimenting with it now, Dan. I am posting on Instagram as I do. I am not sure at this time if I like it better then my Samsung Galaxy Camera 2 or not. I still prefer my Canon, yet the convenience of carrying a very light camera versus a heavy one … what more can I say? :)

        Like

  5. Almost Iowa says:

    “We value your insignificance.”

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Wendy Brydge says:

    I wish you wouldn’t have started talking about the electric company, Dan. Wow, I could write a 10,000 word rant about those guys. My monthly bill roughly breaks down as such: Electricity: $50, Debt Retirement Charge (what a joke): $7, HST (taxes): $20, Delivery: $80. $150 bill for $50 worth of electricity. Oh, and that’s at about 9 cents per kwh, FYI. My electric company (we call electricity “hydro” up here, btw) doesn’t bother showing me how I compare to others around me, but one month, they were nice enough to include a pamphlet all about how to conserve energy and lower your bill. In it, they included averages. As it turns out, my monthly usage is already under what the average is. Well under it. Well, WELL under it. In other words, the only thing left to do if I want to save some money is turn everything off and leave it off. Though the kicker is that the $80 delivery fee would still be charged, even if I wasn’t using anything. Because they still had to delivery it to my door, you know. At my grandma’s house, they use nearly three times the amount of electricity, but because of where they live, their delivery fee is a fraction of the cost. Even though they use so much more electricity than me, their bill is usually around $100 compared to my $150. Few things burn me up more than this. And they calculate your delivery cost based not on where you are, but based on how dense the population within about a square kilometer that you’re in is. I don’t have any close neighbours, so my rate is insanely high. Drive 3 minutes from my house, and going even further away from town, but where there are more houses closer together… those people are paying less than half the delivery. *sighs* Sorry, you can see how worked up this makes me! I think the total cost of delivery for the entire province should be divided equally among all the customers and then the only variable would be how much electricity you use. Okay, rant over now. :P

    Despite my angry yammering that went so off topic, I really enjoyed this post, Dan. And I laughed at your bill illustration! And the seagull pic was really cute too. So nice when wildlife cooperates for a photo shoot!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dan Antion says:

      Thanks Wendy. At the risk of getting you started again, if there is a widespread outage, are you among the first or last to have your power restored? I would assume you are among the last, which is really unfair. I think you’re right, the cost should be evenly divided. You paid, or in today’s world, you would pay extra to have those lines pulled to your property. Once the lines are there, what difference does it make to the electrons?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Wendy Brydge says:

        Yes, exactly! And you’re absolutely correct. It’s pretty much the last of the line here when it comes to restoring power. Not to mention the fact that the power goes off here ALL the time, and for no apparent reason. Not a word of a lie, between June and August this year — more than 15 outages here. Not 5 minutes or little blips. An hour+. And we had a beautiful summer weather-wise. Not like they were caused by storms. Absolutely ridiculous.

        Like

  7. joey says:

    Grrrr! We get the same doodad from IPL. I don’t buy it. I think it’s a scam. I think they tell everyone their neighbors are using less power. I’d also like to know what they consider houses ‘like’ mine. Our house is only 1500 sq ft and it’s the biggest one on the block! And do houses ‘like’ mine have a family in them, or are they comparing me to my single elderly neighbors and empty houses for sale? Our houses is shaded and well-insulated. For much of the day, most days, no lights in the house are on, none of the televisions are on, I don’t even use the dishwasher, apart from the fridge, all the appliances are energy savers, I unplug the toaster etc. Even at night, we only have lights on where we are — I just think it’s a scam!
    I know our light bill is low, because I’ve paid light bills in other homes! This time of year, when the windows are open during the day, bring me the lowest light bills I’ve ever had.
    Scam I tell ya! And beyond that, even if it’s true, shouldn’t they be thanking me for paying more than other houses ‘like’ mine? Someone’s pockets are gettin filled! Grrr!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Dan Antion says:

      Exactly, exactly, exactly and exactly! We do run the AC more than most people, but that’s because our Kleenex bill would exceed our electric bill if we didn’t (allergies). My wife also unplugs the toaster and doesn’t use the dishwasher (which makes me curious about both of you) and you’re probably right , it’s a scam.

      Liked by 1 person

      • joey says:

        I’m of the opinion that the dishwasher is inferior to me. I don’t care what detergent or rinse-aid you use, the dishes get a film and spots and that makes me NUTS! If you let it go on long enough, then you need a vinegar soak for everything, to kill the lime and soap build-up. And I dunno if you know, but I’m in love with my colorful plates and bowls, and I don’t want them caked with remnants from that stupid machine! Don’t even get me started on glassware. “Here. Have a cloudy glass of water. No, it’s clean, I promise. I just took it out of the dishwasher this morning.” *shakes head*
        You tell me if this is the same reason your wife avoids using hers?

        Like

  8. I remember the CL&P bar graphs too. A blast from the past. Funny post, Dan. I never thought about the “Congratulations, we just lowered your bank account without a glitch” messages. Of course here we still don’t have cell service so having a cell phone is pretty much pointless unless traveling. I suppose someday we’ll catch up to the 20th century and get those cheerful messages from AT&T too.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. bikerchick57 says:

    I don’t like it when Capial One thanks me for a payment. They really need to say, “Hey you! Yeah, you. We think you need to quit using our card for awhile. We understand you are trying to add to your miles, but you might be spending too much at this time. Remember, you have to feed your kitties and yourself.”

    Something like that. They could say thank you at the end.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dan Antion says:

      I don’t see most bills, so I don’t know what they say. Marriott sends me an electronic copy and it always makes me feel like they appreciated me staying in their hotel. I know it’s a marketing person crafting a message that will make me feel that way, but I like it better than “ha! we took another pile of dough from your bank account dude.”

      Like

  10. Congratulations Dan… Umm… Not the best choice of words for this comment. :D Sorry, I couldn’t resist. But you really seem to have hit a nerve with this one, and gotten a great conversation started. So… Kudos? Is that better. Huge hugs!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dan Antion says:

      “Hugs” – See, if E-ZPass said “We replenished the balance in your toll account, hugs Dan” I think I’d go drive through a tool booth just to get more hugs! Words are powerful. the right ones can change behavior. The wrong ones encourage delinquents like me to write posts like this. Thanks Teagan…hugs.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Sammy D. says:

    LOL so glad you are writing these so I don’t have to. The topic over cocktails last Thursday with ‘the girls’ was how outraged we were that our utility company sent us letters to inform us we were using more electricity than our neighbors. In turn they received nasty MYOB letters from each of us. The nerve!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dan Antion says:

      I feel better Sammy. I feel like I use the amount of electricity that intelligent people (a.k.a. the folks commenting here) use. I do think it boarders on an inappropriate use of information. They know what I use because I buy it from them. I can see compiling statistics in aggregate, but this gets closer to identifying people than I like. On the other hand, I don’t like writing the things you were going to write ‘cuz I like reading your stuff.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Paul says:

    My guess: Connecticut Light and Power changed its name to “Eversource” (which sounds like the brand of battery you’d have in your flashlight when the lights go out because, well, Eversource’s service is so bad) because “CL&P” looks kinda like “CLAP”. And really, who wants to get the clap? Especially when you’re paying so much — and not even being thanked for it!

    It IS amusing to see companies giving us cheerful little messages like “Thank you! Your payment was processed successfully!” As you point out, there’s a faint whiff of absurdity to it. My theory is that, subconsciously at least, they know nobody’s happy about paying a bill. No one, even the well off among us (wonder where THOSE people are? I sure don’t know any), feels good about relinquishing some hard-earned shekels. So the company adopts a peppy tone and thanks us as a sort of apology.

    “Let’s tell them what they just did was successful — and use exclamation points to give them a little giddy feeling!” Like you’re going to get that feeling you get when you win at Tetris or finish a crossword puzzle. Look at me, world — succeeding! At, um, spending. *ahem* Well, I could use a little distraction right about now. Hey, a seagull! Kitties. Nature. A UFO. Hmm, what were we talking about? O_o

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Very funny post. I opt out of the dip into my account method whenever possible. It never ceases to amaze me how much all these modern conveniences cost. I do appreciate easy pass and cell service, but I like money just as much! My neighbor’s dogs are named Butch and Sundance. :)
    I think you should have gotten a 33% discount for not having electricity for one third of the month!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Love it….all so true…love the chart on electricity use….we have the same thing here in Arizona and during the summer months, when we get together with our neighbors, the discussion thread always goes to that chart….”so are you the neighbor turning their AC up to 85 to make the rest of us look bad???” lol

    Liked by 2 people

  15. We get the same graph from Pacific, Gas & Electric. I too think it’s a scam.

    If they keep this up people will get the message and start going off their grid and generating their own power, then all these electric companies will have to start purchasing energy from them! That old adage comes to mind. “be careful for what you wish for!” I know a couple of people who have done it.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. We have unregulated electricity. We can buy where we want. My wife plays the grid as if she is an options, trader. We no longer expect thank you’s from anyone in the service industry.(we just switch is they get too rude. Hear that Dish network, Century Link, and about ten electric providers.)

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Thank you for your post… really. We ditched Verizon and went with Consumer Cellular for our cell service. Lots cheaper and, for some reason, I really do feel that they appreciate our business.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. loisajay says:

    And “your call is important to us.” I don’t do anything where anyone can go into my bank account. I pay them online on my time. That way I have no one but myself to thank when my transaction is successful. Crazy stuff….Good post, Dan.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Glynis Jolly says:

    Congratulations for paying a bill? Do these companies sell their products and services to idiots who regularly ignore their bills? To me, the gesture/words are condescending. Now the thank yous are a whole other matter. They want my business. They want my money. And they’re willing to be appreciative to get these things from me. Saying thank you, subconsciously, tells me I’m worthy of their respect and they want mine.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dan Antion says:

      Exactly! It’s a really simple thing, but the words make a huge difference. I was focused on the lack of appreciation, but your right, the “congratulations” words and phrases are a little condescending. Thanks Glynis.

      Liked by 1 person

  20. reocochran says:

    I appreciated your detailed “responses” to bills,Dan. Actually am chuckling as I read this. I like to compare my month of the year to lasts, silly me. The thank yous sometimes come at birthdays from insurance companies by cards. They make me slightly warm and fuzzy, then think I deserve a gift card or simething! :)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dan Antion says:

      Now I’m chuckling Robin. I don’t like it so much when I get a birthday greeting from a company, The 99, a restaurant chain up here will send a greeting and a coupon for a free desert (I’d rather a free beer, but…). that’s OK, but when the insurance company or the Alumni Group does it, I’m not impressed. I’m particularly unimpressed with the Public TV folks who drop hints about “thinking of them in my estate planning.” Thanks. for the comment

      Like

  21. Dan, Clever article. Tackling a subject that poses an irritant to many of us, yet finding its humorous aspects, takes talent plus a light heart. Just a few days ago, my bank informed me that they are cancelling all of their MasterCards and replacing them with Visa Cards. Whoopee! That mean that I now have to go to each of my payees websites and change account numbers, all along hoping that I’m not too late with a payment. When I visited my bank branch manager (are they still called banks when they exist inside a corner of a grocery store?), and told her how the bank was inadvertently threatening my credit record, she kindly informed me that she would add my question to their FAQ Master. Whataya gonna do?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dan Antion says:

      Yay! You made the list! That’s ridiculous. And it’s likely because they will make a little more money on each of your transactions than before. Visa and MC are pretty much accepted everywhere, so I don’t think you benefit from having one over the other. Thanks for the comment. I love all the additional stories here in the comments. At least I’m not alone.

      Like

  22. Dan Hen says:

    But , you realize that those conglomerates really do care about you , don’t you ? Even if they don’t say so . I know , because I am a preferred customer and my business is important to them , even if they do keep me waiting for 40 minutes on the phone to get some minimal service .

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Peter Nena says:

    In this case I prefer Eversource. Serious guys. I like that the graph. How do they get the data from the neighbors?

    Liked by 1 person

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