It is certainly not about communism or about waging a war against minimum wages in this country or not even about my first job at Burger King! It is all about you and me being ripped off day in and day out right here, right here in this country.
Are you one of those guys giving away a big slice of your wallet (yeah it is your wallet, not your pizza on a friday night!) to one of AT&T, Verizon or T-mobile just because they keep you close to your girlfriend round the clock? Or are you one of the guys loosing out those few extra burgers you are left with after paying the tax, mortgage, car, credit card and groceries off your pay check, to one of Bank Of America, Chase or Wells Fargo in the name of NSF fees? Or are you one of those guys struggling as much hard to loose some balance off your plastics as shredding some fat off your belly. If so, read on.
Do you know something? The moment you push the holy green on your mobile candy, the clock starts ticking at the other end?! Did you get it? Have your ever doubted the accuracy of your monthly cell phone bills? What the heck? Who has got a time to go through the boring novel every month! You are right! But, let me tell you something. You know you are out of minutes and you are on the last day of your billing cycle. It is a beautiful friday evening and you have a plan to go an a date with your girlfriend. All you do is you ring your girl friend up to say you will be there by 7. You do not need to be an engineer (I hate those rocket scientists! They always steel the show!!) to tell it 'd hardly take 30 seconds to make that call. If you are one of those detail-oriented graduate students and also that month happened to be your sharing the most love over the phone with your might-be, could-be, would-be or whatever-be, won't you get surprised if your bill is up a buck instead of fifty cents.
More surprised you will become when you realize...realize what? ..go back and read the first line of the previous paragraph.., on your calling AT&T or one of your other buddies to clarify why your bill is unusually up? You know what? I literally went crazy when I was told by a representative at AT&T that they start the clock the moment I press the green button on my cell phone. Am I a stupid? Am I missing a point here? I got so FURIOUS and took couple of deep breaths (nice thing about learning Yoga) and told the guy how about me calling my friend and her not picking the call at all? Will still a minute be docked off my kitty? Hell NO!!!
Along came another person from Bank of American in my life. I had my hair-cut on Monday and it cost me ten bucks. I got little depressed as It was still only Tuesday and bought me a six-pack and it cost me about eight bucks. I did not have time to cook on Wednesday and ordered a hand-tossed pizza from Pizza Hut and it cost me..phew..thirteen bucks. It was Friday finally and went to AMC and watched Australia. It was a lazy saturday but my mind was still active to remember that It was first day of the month and my rent was due.
Few days passed by. I was going through my BOA account and got shocked to see five charges of $39 each in my account and immediately rang up BOA. I was told by a BOA representative I did not have enough money in my account for any of the the transactions I made in the last few days. I knew I was not so broke that I could not even pay for my mid-week beer! I knew I had few hundreds left. They told they took care of my rent first before they paid for my six-pack or my hand-tossed pizza. What the heck? You are not my dad. You don't manage my wallet. I know finance myself. But this guy told it is his, well, BOA's policy to pay off the highest amount first and the least amount last. Thank you, Pal!, I said, I have a question. I wondered I had my haircut on the start of the week but my rent was due only at the end of the week, well almost.
This smart kid had an answer for that too! The merchant posted the transaction on the same date as my land lord did. Would any of you guys call me paranoid if I doubt the beautiful coincidence of all of my hair-dresser, 711 shop owner, my big fat pizza guy and my land lord asking the money from BOA the very same day?! I don't give a damn!! Because I have a point to feel frustrated - I had to pay almost 200 bucks for somebody else wanting to manage my finance better, yeah BETTER!
The most beautiful of all is what I encountered hours before I wrote this article. Another smart kid from Capital one is the one I had to deal with this time. I had to spend 87 valuable minutes explaining the following scenario: "I get a brand new plastic from Capital One with $2000 credit limit on second of a January. I swipe the card the very next day for $1000 and I make a payment of $600 on 28th of January. I make another payment of $200 on 25th of February. I get a second statement from Capital One on March 2nd after the first one on 2nd of February. I have only one question in this scenario - what 'd be the finance charges on those two statements?"
Would not you go nuts if you are told you 'd be charged for $1000 in the first month and $400 in the second month. I hung up on that idiot and called another guy and went about explaining the whole 99 yards, yeah it was that long! This guy was reasonable enough and agreed he 'd not charge for $1000 but only $400 in the first month. Because there is a 30-day grace period for new purchases. He must be a mart kid! But he said he 'd charge for $400 in the second month. STUPID!!! How about $200 I made on 25th, almost ten days before the due date?
Basically Capital One put a finance charge on $1500 balance, which I paid off almost a week before the due date of the month, for the entire cycle instead of 22 or 23 days and ripped me off $5.95! It is not just $5.95! It is what millions earn for a week in more than few parts of the world. It is what cost to eat three times a day in India. It is what cost to get a nice pair of a shirt and a pant in Thailand. It is what many get paid for chewing those tootsie rolls and hot dogs. It is a big money. So, I am excited that I have earned this $5.95 and could chew that tasty fresh chicken sandwich tomorrow without thinking too much!