Thursday, May 24, 2012

Another Gorman Complaint About Business

Okay, so it all seems trivial to a lot of people. But to me, raising Madeleina, paying a mortgage and all the rest, trying to help pay for my wife/ex-wife's new kids and my first grandbaby, well, it's not trivial. I make $32,000 a year. Before write offs. That's from a 9 month full time job as a writer, a 10-time a year columnist for another mag, a free-lance writer for other mags and an Amazon guide three-four months a year.

I used to make $60 g's a year, plus health care insurance ($14,500 per annum for my family) when I was exec editor at High Times, and used to make about the same as a chef, from 1975-1988.
Then I got the kids, moved to Texas, helped my mother-in-law with the cancer that killed her and now make a gross of $32,000.
And I'm not complaining. My daughter came home from 9th grade today to eat a big slice of cold cantaloupe. We're having sliced steak with yellow rice and broccoli and spinach in balsamic vinegar and garlic. We're doing fine.
But I don't always like business practices. A couple of months ago I railed about the fact that my bank, First Convenience Bank of Texas, simply decided to raise the rate of a bank transfer from $5 to $10. A couple of months earlier I railed about the fact that they raised the rate of taking $200 from a Peruvian bank ATM from $3.50 to $8.50. Why? I spend $25,000 a year in Peru on my guests via the ATM and that changes my charges from about $375 to over $1000. That could be my whole profit from a trip. So I asked the bank big shots why that happened, what happened to cost them so much they had to pass it on to me and they laughed and said: "We wanted to make more money," basically.
If I sound cynical, it's because I am.
Last month, I got a notice from ATT that I was nearing the end of my proscribed time on the internet and that I'd be charged $10 incrementally over that. When I got my bill it turned out that I was charged $30 more than normal.
I called. I complained. I signed a contract that said that for as long as I held the account my internet would cost X per month. Then last month they changed that. Now it's X Plus $10 incrementally if I use the internet.
So I'm complaining again. I didn't default on the contract. I held up my end and gave them the money. They have had no rate increases that they might need to pass along to me. The only thing I can imagine is that two of those bank big shots were out drinking and one said: "Hey, why don't we raise the rate for internet?"
And the second one said: "Great idea. Why?"
"So we get more money, stupid. Want another?"
And that was that. So now you, me and the kitchen sink are sunk. You think I have the money to sue ATT? Not a chance. I don't even think I have enough money to switch accounts right now, and I'm sure they have already had a money man look at the potential loss of business compared to the additional revenue and figured they'd come out ahead.
This is what I'm freaking pissed off about. I signed a contract. Some months, like the four months when I'm not even in the US, I don't use the internet or the phone. But I promised to pay monthly and so I do. But when they decide to break the contract and raise the rates, they do. Who gave them permission to do that? Not me, for one. And I'm the one they should be beholding to. They're the ones who offered me the contract, in perpetuity, after all. They didn't offer me a contract that could change. They offered me a firm price that would hold forever, till I freaking die, and then they change it.
So this is why we need Elizabeth Warren in Massachusetts. We need someone who will fight for those of us wronged just because a couple of drunks got together and said: Hey, if we can get 30 million people to pay $20-$30 a month more by changing their contracts, we'll be up $600 milllion-$900 million a month. That would be cool, right?
I'm gonna be mean here but I hope they choked just a little bit on their Tanqueray and tonics.
Any of you feel the same? Let's start screaming from the rooftops. Cause this ain't right.


phoenix said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
phoenix said...

You crack me up Peter! You tell it like it is in a colorful way. I love you man! Writers attract situations. That's the way it is