Capitalism encourages a kind of racketeering among businesses, in my experience. Take the case of utility companies after a move. To date I have received well over a thousand dollars in bills for services not rendered. These bills were from utility companies claiming that I owed them final amounts for bills that had been paid in full, on time, for over twelve years. I should, it seems, be able to bill them for my time on the telephone setting their records straight. The “final bill” is a racket. And it is deployed just after a customer, formerly a “valued customer,” has entered into new financial obligations—moving is not cheap! Most of these bills are for multiple hundreds of dollars for services, that when I used them, were generally billed at a mere fraction of that amount.
Corporations, according to the law, are people. And like people, they are exceptionally greedy. Just yesterday I received a bill from a heating oil company—which shall remain nameless for the moment—stating that I owed a multi-hundred dollar final balance. I had notified them in April that we would be moving and that I had paid their final bill and no more deliveries should be made. None were. Fully five months later I receive a “final bill” politely reminding of an outstanding balance. For what? Heating oil delivered in July? Have I suddenly switched hemispheres or is this some kind of racket?
Come to think of it, while unpacking I came across a budget book. My accounting is pretty much in the range of horseshoes and hand-grenades—I know the regular bills and can guess how much they are likely to be. I’ve got other things on my mind besides money. The budget book had never been used. Budgets, to my understanding, project a stable world. That’s not like the capitalist world. When we bought the budget book, some 30 years ago, could we have projected monthly expenses for the privileges of using an internet that at that time didn’t even exist? Capitalism is creative in finding new things to make you pay for, even if they are only virtually real. Like heating oil that was never pumped off the truck. It’s always your word against theirs, and corporations are bullies, being bigger than regular people. So I sit here with a blank budget book and a stack of “final bills” for things never delivered. And I think to myself, what a crooked world.