Monday, May 06, 2019
The Payment Princess
I guess you could call me an online bill pay snob. If I get a bill and it doesn't have an option for paying online, I curse them. In fact, I boycotted my dermatologist bill for awhile. I saw the bill. Then I saw that I have an appointment coming up in a few weeks. So I thought to myself, I'm just gonna pay it at my appointment. I'll show them. If a sophisticated, modern dermatologist office with three locations can't find a way to offer online bill pay (and I have complained about this before), then they can just wait for their money.
But then I got a nasty letter. Something about being overdue and some more verbiage about a collection agency. So I paid the damn thing. Sent it in the MAIL. Like it was 1993 or something.
Then I got another nasty letter which told me that--surprise--the mail takes awhile. Their threatening note and my belated payment must have crossed in this archaic system. I called the derm office just to make sure they received my payment. They did. Naturally I had to tell them why I was tardy or else what was the point of my protest?
The lady on the other end said they are ALMOST finished finalizing their online bill payment system. She said she was VERY excited about this. I told her I was too. Cause this white girl visits the derm pretty often. So often, in fact, that one day when I had an appt with my regular doctor, I accidentally went to the derm instead. Like on autopilot. They were all, "You don't have an appointment" and I was all, "Yes, I do. It's me. Elsa." And they're like "Oh, we know who you are. Your suspicious moles and mysterious rashes are what pay for our vacation homes...that is, when you pay your bills on time."
So once my derm gets their online bill system set up, I don't think I will have anymore medical practices that don't offer it.
But let's talk about people.
I happen to be in a position where I often collect money from people. The invention of PayPal and Venmo has made this AMAZINGLY easy. I have to collect money for teacher gifts, classroom supplies, coach gifts, bus driver gifts and sometimes just pizza for a group of people at the pool.
I am getting to the point where I pretty much ONLY accept PayPal and Venmo. I don't want your cash. And I REALLY don't want your check. (Although BofA has made check depositing SO MUCH easier now that we can take a pic of it. Amazing. It blows my mind.)
So now that I think about it, RECEIVING checks is not all that bad. I more just question a person who is under the age of 50 who doesn't have a PayPal or Venmo account.
The worst is when I owe someone money and they don't take one of the above. If someone asks for a check, I say, "Seriously? You REALLY don't have a PayPal or Venmo?" And they say, "Um...don't those things charge fees?" And I'm all, "No. It's this super efficient and magical system in which friends pay each other for things. It is so much easier and faster. Also, if you are collecting money for a group gift, you will receive much more money than if you make everyone write checks." And then they say, "Um, could you just write me a check?" And I say, "Ok fine. I'll write you a check like this is 1997. Can I give it to you next time I see you?" And they're all, "You can just MAIL it to me."
"Great," I say. "I will send it via snail mail right after I write the check, find an envelope, put it in the envelope with a paper around the check for security and a written explanation of what it is for, put a return address label on it from the Humane Society (you're getting an ugly cat one, btw), find a stamp which I may or may not have, put it in the mail, you should have your money in about 22 days."
Then my hypothetical non-online-payment friend says, "Cool Beans. I'll send you an email when I receive it. What is your email address?"
And I say, "email@example.com"
"Hahahahahahahahahahahaha!!! You still use a Hotmail account?? Wow, it really is 1997!!!"