Ben Oostdam story # 342



East Hempfield Township Trash/Recycling invoice

To-day I received the following invoice from EHT Trash/Recycling:

This invoice was only slightly clearer in aspect or appearance than the scan shown above.
It proved, however, vastly less clear in content or meaning.
It took me at least 10 minutes and the skill of Sherlock Holmes - = minus pipe
to realize the importance of the sentence midway between the top part and the bottom part.
I mean the sentence reading:
"Accounts are assessed a late fee of ...."

The top part is fairly clear: "they" charge $ 100 per quarter, but if you pay up front for
the whole year, you get a break of $ 20 and end up paying (4 x $ 100) - $ 20 = $ 380.

The bottom part, however, is rather different in set-up, suggesting that
it was prepared by a kinder and more customer-friendly party:
In this case, another "they" charge less than the severe Shylockian
party c.q. architect c.q. creator of the top part, and it reads (or you do the reading):
"Options to pay annually - $ 190.00 for the year or
$ 50.00 per quarter if paid by due date

Notice the subtle rhyme (paid by due date), and their hidden challenge
of your mental capacities to properly assess not only the options they offer,
but also the meaning of their - sign:
Their respective options are as follows:

(a) you pay the reduced (top part) fee of $ 380.00 per year,
but if you read the - sign as a minus,
you only need to pay $ 380.00 minus (= -) $ 190.00, for a total of $ 190.00 . . .
Note the nice and very welcome coincidence of the difference ($ 190.00)
equalling the remainder ($ 190:00 . . . again!)
that is true if you went along with the top of the form architect's $ 380

(b) If you interpret their - sign as a : sign, you (again) just owe $ 190.00
if paid by due date, which was determined
by the creator(s) of the top part to be 02/04/2008.

I would forego the pleasure of pointing out the inconsistency of the way
they write their dates, as do most Americans: first the month, next the day, finally the year . . .
but let me do it anyhow:
The rest of the World is more logical and goes either day, month, year : 04/02/2008
or year, month, day: 20080402 .
Thus, while it is well-known by us from the US that 02/04/2008 means February 4, 2008 ,
the rest of the World - erroneously, of course - thinks that 02/04/2008 means April 2, 2008 ....
a mere 60 days difference.
Note that our deadlines are deadlier, so as to protect ourselves by
generating (grabbing) more $$'s.

but wait, there is one more option!!!

(c) One could read their - sign as if it pertains directly to the $ 190, yielding -$190.00
in this case, you can either write a negative check - which a bank rarely hono(u)rs,
or send your invoice or bill to EHT for the amount of $ 190.00 and see what happens.

Although I personally would clearly prefer the (c) solution
I settled for the second [ = (b)], and sent them a check for $ 190.00 -
which I consider a reasonable fee if paid up front,
while I already condemned case (c) as Shylockian,
trying to squeeze water out of the proverbial rock.
But that issue I will explore when I receive their c.q. my EHT water bill ...
(at which time I will also acquaint you with various types of "rocks" as defined by poets, song writers and geologists, specifically petrologists -
who have little to do with petrol - which is the British [(past) Empire]'s
equivalent of our "gasoline" or just "gas")

In the mean time, my sincere compliments to EHT for their fairness in charging so little
for disposing of such hidden resources as trash and recycling, as well as for promoting
and displaying diversity in their Human Resources !!!
(by way of elaboration: the DeBeers company - of diamond fame - facetiously
refers to their workers as: "human jewels" , a.k.a. "youdjous")


BLO fecit 20080114 - stories