Friday, November 21, 2008

Grinch of the Week: Attleboro, Mass sends 1-cent bill to 74-year-old blind woman

Boo, Attleboro, Massachusetts! Boooooo!!!!!

City officials sent 74-year-old Eileen Wilbur a bill for one cent and the threat of a lien against her house and a $48 overdue fee if she didn't cough up the charge from an overdue water bill.

Eileen, who is blind, has apparently been on the lam from the city for this hefty bill since as long ago as July 2007. She pointed out to the Attleboro Sun Chronicle that the stamp for the bill cost $.42.

Now I'm no accountant, but even I know that $.01 minus $.42 equals negative $.41. That's just not good business.

City Collector Debora Marcoccio said all collection letters are automatically printed out, and are never reviewed by staff before they're mailed.

"My question is, how come it wasn't paid when the (original) bills went out?" she told the Sun Chronicle.

Ooh, that's a good point. That method of blaming the victim -- especially a 74-year-old blind widow -- is always a good one, and I am now firmly on the side of the heartless city officials.

Give me a break! Eileen is being blamed for not paying a one penny bill by a group of people who, by their own admission
  1. Don't review bills before they're sent out;
  2. Want to blame a blind woman because she didn't pay one cent;
  3. Thus forcing them to spend a few bucks printing, inserting, and mailing her bill to her, then spending a few more to open, process, and track her check.
All of which will net the city of Attleboro minus eleventy-stupid dollars.

Attleboro, if you want to save yourself some money, time, and PR headaches like this one, find a quick and easy way to review bills before they're sent out. A trained monkey could review everything in Excel and drop out everything below a quarter with a simple macro. Find the monkey, hire him, and pay him whatever he wants.

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