Support Your Local Vendor

 
I know that I normally do a Thursday Thirteen list, but today I’m so worked up about something that I need to beg your indulgence while I get on my soap box . . .
 
(She steps on the box, adjusts her glasses, clears her throat . . . )
 
I’ve had the same trash collection company for my weekly trash pickup since about 1987 when the little city I live in stopped offering free trash pickup.  I’m not going to give their name, but they are an Official Sponsor of NASCAR.  They drive green trucks.  Their initials are WM.  
 
Over the years, I’ve never had any reason to complain about their service.  I put out the trash toter and they emptied it.  They were never late, not even when we had some really bad snowstorms, and they always took whatever we set out.  They were a little more expensive than some of the other trash haulers, but I didn’t really have any reason to complain about them.  When the gas prices went through the roof, they started a fuel surcharge.  Okay, I can understand that.  I didn’t particularly like it, but I understood.  I was still relatively happy with their service and never thought about switching carriers.  That was until last week.    
 
I got a letter from my trash company that, with the next invoice, they were going to add a  $2 administrative fee to cover the cost of sending out paper bills and collecting paper checks in payment of those invoices.  However, I could avoid this charge if I agreed to sign up for their electronic invoice/payment system.  If I signed up for this wonderful service, they would send me an electronic invoice via email and, two weeks after I received the invoice, they would automatically deduct that amount from my checking account.  
 
Maybe it’s just me, but I have a problem with this.  I don’t like the idea that I have no choice in this matter.  I either do it their way or pay $2.  I’m all for the electronic invoice thing and I’m even willing to go to their website and pay the invoice electronically.  But there is NO WAY I’m going to give them the power to automatically deduct the amount from my checking account. 
 
I called to complain and see if there was some other way to avoid the $2 fee.  When I found out that there were no other options and that (surprise!) the $2 fee was included on my current invoice, I decided to cancel my service with them. 
 
So now I had to find another trash company.  I thought I was going to have to deal with some other mega-company and put up with whatever silly rules for payment they insisted on enforcing.  What I discovered was a very pleasant surprise.  I found a locally owned company that was significantly cheaper than WM.  They have been in business since the 1950’s and have no intention of closing up or selling out to the large mega-companies that have taken over the trash hauling industry.  It’s a family business and they are just interested in making a living.  The owners drive the trucks every day.  They don’t have a fuel surcharge.  They don’t have administrative fees.  They send out paper invoices once a quarter and have no problem accepting paper checks in payment of those invoices.  They start picking up our trash next week. 
 
When I cancelled my service with WM, I told them that I was very unhappy about their new billing policy and that I was going to tell anyone who would listen about my complaints.  When I found the new company and discovered how easy it was to do business with them, I promised that I would tell everyone to support their local vendor/merchant/business man.  I learned that lesson the hard way . . . and I hope that I can spare someone else from having to learn it that way.    
 
I just wish I had known about the local company back in 1987 . . ..
 
(She folds her notes and steps down off the box)
 
Thanks for listening. 
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6 Comments

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6 responses to “Support Your Local Vendor

  1. Q

    Tomorrow is my trash day.  It\’s kind of strange here in New Mexico… we have this huge expanse of desert to put our garbage into and yet, you cannot have any more trash than your one lil\’ tote.  When I lived in Chicago, you could put anything and everything out on the curb.  I don\’t get it… lol!
    Thanks for stopping by.  I see you are a fellow dog lover and have a couple of "kids" yourself.  Mine are Lulu (pound puppy, shepherd and border collie mix who I got after my sweet aussie cattle dog, Osita, had to be put down.  She\’s 3 now.) and Mojo (the only pure bred I\’ve EVER purchased… a Bichon Frise\’ Oh, and the only small dog I\’ve ever had in my life.  He\’s six months old now and a lil\’ swiffer!)  They are a hoot!  Of course, Lulu is fixated on us and Mojo is fixated on her and it\’s a grand merry-go-round.
    Congrats on being featured on Best of MSN.  It is a trip, isn\’t it?  You get all of this traffic and no one comments.  Weird.  I have LOTS of lurkers… and that\’s okay.  The folks that comment are my bloggin\’ buds and are great.
    I hope I can add you to that list?
    Be well,
    Natalie

  2. Suzalita

    This sort of thing annoys the crap out of me too.  I kiss customer butt all day long and when it\’s my turn to be a customer they need to watch out! I would cancel the service and go to the competitor\’s also.  I just got a notice from our old fashoned newspaper that they are raising the subscription rate by an additional .15 per day.  This irks me because they should be paying me to get thier damn paper in this day and age and the daily paper is already over $500 per year.  I think I need to cancel it, or at least go to a weekend subscription.

  3. Tani

    I hate that green company myself.My town also used to have us contract our own trash pickup.I unlike you,wnet with the family owned local guy,until last year when the city decided it was going to contract one company for all the trash pickup.Now we no longer have a choice in the matter.Good for you for letting your feelings known with your dollar,thats what gets their attention.

  4. Dollar

    Great article. I live in a small community and the town has one company for residents. And it is not the green trucks. I like it when people take the time to point out things like this. what we used to take for granted, now isn\’t even an option. Yeah, something as simple as how you pay a bill.
     
    http://linkitorsinkit.blogspot.com/
     
    The Dollar Kidd.

  5. Sherry

    I use this same company and recieved the same information. Unfortunately, I don\’t have the choice to change and will have to accept the $2 charge. Not without saying my piece to them of course.  I have noticed a lot of my "venders" doing the same thing. I used to call and make my payments over the phone rather than deal with checks and the mail. Now all of a sudden, it costs extra to talk to a person. And the car finance company, ugggh, you can\’t even make a payment over the internet without  an extra charge!

  6. c

    Rather then \’lurking\’ I just thought I\’d let you know I enjoyed your soapbox. I\’ll be back.

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