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Missing the good parts of paying my bills

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By Alice Du Pont

There are two businesses that have in the past 18 months closed their offices here that I really miss. Well, I don’t really miss the businesses because they're still here, but I miss going in to pay my bill.

The telephone office has been closed over a year and I still can't remember to pay my bill. When I get the statement in the mail, instead of paying it immediately, I procrastinate. In the old days when payment was due all I had to do was jump in the car and get to the telephone company before closing.

The same is true for cable. I really hate that they closed the office, which was right down the street. If I was late it was a matter of stopping in and paying.

With both businesses, I have the option of paying online or by telephone. I don't like either option but what choice do I have?

Disconnect.

So I have been paying by telephone, but it's so impersonal. I miss the people I had contact with at the telephone company. Once every month, I got the chance to go in say hello and catch up. It was what small towns are all about; knowing the people you're doing business with and getting to know what's happening in your own backyard.

The telephone company was the place for older people to get to see their friends, too. That was when people who paid their bills in person were made to feel they were valued customers.

I miss going to the cable company office and talking with Lucretia and Ruth. Lucretia was a classmate of my niece Kim, and she never failed to ask how she was doing. Ruth, who attended all of the Quincy commission meetings, and I would complain to each other about the length of the meetings. It was just nice to go in and see two friendly faces who were helpful as well.

I understand that companies are downsizing to save money, but it doesn't mean that I have to like it.

There are other people in this community who must be feeling the downsize sting just as I am, because paying my bill by telephone may be convenient, but it certainly isn't friendly.