Tuesday, July 17, 2007

There's no place like someone else's home

For Christmas last year, Mrs. Gerbil and I ordered her father a great new doormat.

There was a problem with the way the order was processed, however. It was supposed to be shipped directly to him in Seattle, but billed to us in Berkeley. What actually happened was that the order was shipped to him at our Berkeley billing address--where he obviously does not live. Having already paid a stiff UPS rate for the initial wrong delivery, we sucked it up and paid a stiff US Postal Service rate to get it to its rightful location. We were not pleased.

But our troubles did not end there.

Apparently, our innocent, incorrectly processed doormat order landed Father-in-Law Gerbil on a "new homeowner" list--for Berkeley, where (as previously stated) he does not live. At first we got a few Bed Bath & Beyond coupons, addressed to "Our New Neighbor." We were confused. We'd been in Berkeley for a year and a half and had been getting at least two BB&B coupons per month, addressed directly to me. But BB&B coupons never expire, so the more the merrier, right?

Then we--or rather, Father-in-Law Gerbil--started getting ads from exterminators. And roofing companies. And house painters. And Lasik eye surgeons. And gyms. And the AARP. And real estate agents looking to sell his home for him, which is even funnier given that we pay rent for the address at which he does not live.

I dutifully cross out the address on each piece of mail, scrawl NSR (no such recipient) in big bold letters across the front, and stick it back in the mailbox. This works fairly well, although not for all the mail we get for people who don't live here. Some church has been trying to get a former tenant (who hasn't lived here in at least six years) to attend their Christmas and Easter services, and they do not seem to know from NSR.

But what really got me is yesterday's mailing from the PG&E Care program. Like all good utility programs, PG&E has a discount program for customers with low incomes, disabilities, or assorted other things which might interfere with paying ridiculous energy bills. Father-in-Law Gerbil was thereby informed that he may be eligible for a discount from a utility company which serves an area in which he does not live.

Our PG&E account is in my name. I pay the bills every month, and occasionally I get medieval on their asses. Occasionally I get something from the Care program, but since we don't qualify, I just toss the mailings in the recycling. Anyway, the important part of this is that there is already an active PG&E account at this address, in excellent standing, and it is not in Father-in-Law Gerbil's name.

Even better: Just before said mailing went out, PG&E cashed my check for our most recent bill. Which bill, I hasten to add, does not bear any part of Father-in-Law Gerbil's name.

Father-in-Law Gerbil loved the doormat, by the way.


Heather W. Reichgott said...

What makes it especially interesting is we're not even homeowners.

frog said...

But...but...the TYPO IN IT.

...claws out own eyes...

Lavender said...

I must admit I failed to notice the typo until you mentioned it... also, that is CUTE!