My Delinquent Bill


If I had access to some napalm, I would go to my shed and make a bomb.  I would then take helicopter flying lessons at Heliventures in Concord, NC.  I would then fly over Research Triangle Park, NC, and shove that bomb out of the window onto the Time Warner Cable headquarters building.  I would do it at night so that the only person who was hurt was the automated woman who will not let you talk to people.  I call her Helen.

She needs to go.

Time Warner has changed the envelopes that they send the monthly bill in.  Instead of a plain white envelope with their logo somewhere small on the front, they now have messages printed all over the outside.  On the front, mine says:

Make any screen a TV with the TWC TV app


With your TV subscription

Download it today.

On the back, it tells me I can watch live TV on my computer anywhere in the world.  Heck, if I could get a ride to Mars, with this new product, I could watch it there.

The envelope now looks an awful lot like the weekly Capital One VISA card offer I receive.  Or the Fraternal Order of Police requesting that I help the families of brave officers.  Or the monthly sales pitch from Pretty Tree Mountain that only has 470 lots left – Get Yours Today, They’re Going Quick!

I’m guessing that their new snazzy envelope marketing strategy is why I didn’t pay my bill last month.  You see, as I walk to the house from the mailbox each day, I toss out the 15 credit card offers, the nonprofit requests I have no connection with and the flyers for 10% off of Kroger cantaloupes because that’s not my grocery store.  I walk right by the recycle bin on my way in the house.  I figure, by the time I die, this strategy will save me three or four trips from the inside container to the outside bin.  And carrying a large Tupperware box of newspapers down a flight of steps at age 87 has to be difficult.

I was surprised when I received an automated message from TWC telling me that I owed them nearly $400; my current bill which just arrived this week and the last one.  And then, this robot who left the message informed me that he was headed over, what seemed like right that minute, to cut off my cable, phone service and internet access.  I was frightened.  It was like a Transformer was coming to steal my kids and wreak havoc on my house.

I paid the bill on-line immediately and called the next morning to clear things up.  I don’t like people thinking I don’t pay my bills – I do.  I’ve never carried over a balance on my VISA card.  I don’t want a blemish on my record.  I don’t want the employees at TWC talking bad about me.  Although, I’m not sure they have employees.

As usual, I called and Helen asked me why I was bothering them.

“Do you want to add service to your existing plan?  Do you have a question about your bill?  Are you calling about the plan associated with the phone you’re calling from?  Do your ears swing low do they wobble to and fro?”

She asks the same questions EVERY TIME I CALL.  You’d think by now our relationship would have developed toward more interpersonal interactions – nope.

I’d decided I’d be nice today. It was a good morning.  This wasn’t Helen’s fault, she was just doing her job.

But after she put me off for quite some time, I lost my cool and yelled at her.


I know, I’m a Christian.  I really shouldn’t have called her that.  But I get so angry.

Finally, Helen shut up and put me on hold for the next available operator.  Three times while I waited, Helen came back on and told me that she was sorry for making me wait and that customers were their top priority.

“You lyin’ sack of wheat.”

To fill my wait time, a recording of a dude informed me that the first cabins were built in America in 1683 and that they didn’t have TV or the Internet.

Why did he tell me that?  I know they didn’t have TV in the 1600’s!  Duh.

Just play me some good music Helen, don’t send your friend in to try to be cute.  Do you really think I want to hear trivia facts after waiting 28 minutes to talk to someone who can actually talk back?  This ain’t Carmike Cinemas.

Finally, Teresa came on the line, and I believed her to be real.  I apologized for not paying in August and asked her not to think poorly of me and to call the Transformer off.  She said she’d take care of him.

I then told her about the envelope issue and wondered if she could pass my concerns on.  She told me she didn’t have anything to do with the envelopes and could not pass my suggestion on but that I was welcome to call the Customer Comments number listed on their website to express my concerns.

I did not.

Purchase Danny’s Book:  Laughter, Tears and Braids


Leave a comment


  1. Lori

     /  September 18, 2013

    I only have one thing to say…Uverse! We switched 2 years ago, increased our service by 100% and decreased our bill by 75.00/month! TWC is horrible… how can they have a customer service dept? That is an oxymoron!

  2. Cammie

     /  September 18, 2013

    I did the same thing in Durham! Same envelope made it into my recycling bin too!!! Need to change TWC!

  3. Sharon Godsil

     /  September 18, 2013

    It must be a conspiracy! DirecTV is the same way. Maybe Helen has an (more) evil sister . . . On another note, I just rec’d your book yesterday in the mail and started reading it last night. Love it! I worked with Lisa at St. Timothy’s from 2002 – 2006. I admired her so much and loved working with her. She definitely was a force of nature! I admire you too, Danny, for ‘keeping things’ together. It can’t be easy. Just know that Lisa is in heaven rolling her eyes at what she is seeing . . .

    • Danny Tanner

       /  September 19, 2013

      She is definatley rolling those eyes at me. Thanks for purchasing the book. I appreciate your support.

  4. Yeh, well, it happened to me so many times w/ Helen that I switched ISP’s. And guess what, they have Helen’s sister, Velma, at the other company and also her brother, Leon. Best to stick it out because I think the family has a strangle hold on the whole system. They trick you into thinking it’s advertising and make money on the service charges so they can be the first to offer the services on the moon and Mars!

    Got your book in the mail yesterday! thanks, Evie

  5. Courtney

     /  September 18, 2013

    I’m just glad amazon does not have an automated person. Ordered your book last month and they notified me today that it is LOST. They are sending a rush order out. If I don’t get this book soon I’m going to scream!! Hopefully Ernie wasn’t lying.

    • Danny Tanner

       /  September 19, 2013

      I can’t get copies myself and I wrote the damn thing!

      • Courtney

         /  September 20, 2013

        haha.. got it last night!! If the NC State game wasn’t on I would have read the whole thing!! Loving it 🙂

      • Danny Tanner

         /  September 21, 2013

        read on baby!

  6. Daniel

     /  September 18, 2013

    Even more effective than Napalm is AT&T Uverse. TWC hates when you make the switch and actual human beings will call to try to convince you to come back. I can’t promise that AT&T’s version of Helen is any more helpful, but the overall service is much better. I haven’t had the occasion to call since making the switch.

    • Danny Tanner

       /  September 19, 2013

      Got something in the mail about them this week. I’m gonna do some shopping.

  7. Mel Ham

     /  September 18, 2013

    Your brother was in bed last week going through Century link. This was after I was stood up the last half of the day with a no show technician. I heard Chad yell “NO”. “I DON’T KNOW”. Even louder, “CONNECTIVITY PROBLEMS”!!! NO. THREE.!!!!” “I DO’NT HAVE THAT NUMBER!” They got you. You can’t cuss because the automated voice “DOESN’T RECOGNIZE THAT CHOICE!” “TRY ANOTHER SELECTION” I swear it is just like the Antarctica PEGGY commercial. I hate being dependent on something that is so bad. I’ve been to your house. You are getting ripped off…you have signal issues where you are at …atleast with cell phone.

  8. Aunt Susan

     /  September 18, 2013

    Thanks for the heads up on TWC bills, I am also fed up with them and the changes and costs. Can I call and complain and tell them we are related? Would that scare them in to better service?

  9. Lol! Lol! Maaaan this was too funny 😄👍

  10. & I didn’t know you had a book out Danny. Just reserved a kindle copy, looking forward to reading it!

  11. Make sure you paint ‘This one’s for Helen’ on that bomb!!

  12. INteresting, funny post, I’m sure you didn’t find it funny at the time, we haven’t too many situations like that here in Ireland but we do get a human on the other end of the line with very poor english or such a bad accent that you can’t understand them or they you, so yes you have my sympathy.

  13. mamabro

     /  September 29, 2013

    I was looking for the like button on your post but I could not find one so I thought that I would leave a comment and tell you that I liked your post and that I enjoyed your take on the automated telephone services that most companies have and the crazy wait times 🙂

    Thanks for making me laugh.


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