We got our water bill from the City of Smyrna Utilities Department. I've never thought of city utilities departments as being particularly friendly. In fact, my experience with them has been just the opposite. But I was reading through the whole bill, just curious about its tone. In the summary section at the top, there is an explanation of what happens if you don't pay the bill.
"Non-Payment within 30 days of the due date will result in disconnection of services."
Now that's an interesting statement in a lot of ways, but let's just focus on the language. They could have made it a little clearer if they had said "by 30 days after the due date." But I'm assuming they wanted to sound officious. That way you'll certainly believe their threat to cut off your water. But as bad as that sentence is, it's not that one that caught my attention. Immediately after that sentence is an explanation of what happens next:
"Service will be reconnected within 1 working day for non payment of bill after bill is paid in full and payment of reconnection fees is made."
Excuse me. What was that again? Sounds like verbage to me. I'm sorry. I'm just being kind. Because I think to be verbage, it actually has to be translatable. But we're still not to the part that caught my attention. The paragraph goes on to talk about the late fee and then says:
"Failure to receive a bill does not relieve obligation to pay bill by due date."
Okay. Say that one more time. No wait. Forget it. If I don't get a bill, it's my fault? That's the "failure" part. But then within 30 days of some due date on that bill I failed to receive I'd better pay the bill I don't know I have or they will cut off my water.
Whom do these people work for? Oh, yeah. It's you and I, isn't it?