Local Isn’t Always the Answer

It’s the belief that local is better and generally I agree with this. However, I tend to get all “pie in the sky” about it because I forget even local people are greedy bastards who care more about the money than anything else.

That said…


So Kidder Fuel out of Northfield is where we get propane for the stove and oil/kerosene for heat. They’ve been our gas dealer since we moved here almost five years ago. From the beginning their customer service has sucked but we’ve put up with it for two reasons. First, there aren’t many choices around here. Second, they’re local. There are a couple other companies out there but they’re bigger and their customer service isn’t great from what I gather and because they can’t offer the services we want.

Last winter we had the most snow ever. I’m not exaggerating here. It’s documented. Kidder were babies about the driveway. We ran out of propane twice because they refuse to come up. At one point I told them “I don’t give a fuck if you have to strap a tank on your back and walking up the fucking driveway, I want you up here now.” Wolf and I thought we’d be proactive after last winter’s debacle by requesting a second propane tank last spring. We had to argue with them to get them to bring us a second. I reminded them, repeatedly, of the driveway and how we didn’t want to fight with them again this winter. Finally they brought one while we were away in Maine. We’ve been paying it off a little every month.

This morning I got up and put the oven on preheat for my breakfast. I thought it was taking an awful long time for it to heat up so I opened it and found it cold. I checked the stove top and it started without issue. I thought at first we’d run out of propane but then I realized that couldn’t be the truth because the stove was working. I called Kidder and asked them to come out and look at it.

Me: my oven doesn’t work but the stove top does.

Kidder: you have a balance on your account.

Me: Yes I know. We’ve been paying on it every month. I don’t think we’ve missed a payment.

Kidder: It’s past due.

Me: Again, I know this. We’ve been giving you money every month.

Kidder: We need a commitment from you.

Me: I am committed to paying the bill. I have been sending you money every month.

Kidder: you need it off. How much can we expect?

Me: When are you sending someone out to look at the oven?

Kidder: we need the balance paid off first.

Me: So you’re not coming out?

Kidder: We have bills to pay too.

Me: I was unemployed for over a year. I just got a job two weeks ago. Despite my unemployment we’ve been sending you money every month. EVERY MONTH. Not once have we skipped a payment. We send you what we can to the point where other bills have not been paid so YOU CAN GET YOUR FUCKING MONEY. You know what? Forget it. Don’t send a technician. Because the customer service sucks at Kidder.

Kidder: [hangs up].

Then I call Wolf because I’m *furious* at this point. I tell him not to cow to them. They can wait. Anyone who refuses to fix a necessary household appliance — and I think the oven is necessary — because they want their money can FUCKING WAIT. I tell Wolf we’re canceling their service come spring because I’m DONE dealing with a company who is so greedy they’ll willing to let us go without our oven so they can get their moola.

Thing is, it’s $100 we owe. It’s not like it’s a million and it’s not like we haven’t been paying. Every single month we send them money. We could totally blow them off but no, we send them money. We take money out of the food budget and out of the budget for the medical bills to be paid. Obviously they don’t give a shit. They want their fucking money.

Wolf is the one who sits down to do the monthly bills. If it were me, and I might just take over that shitty chore, Kidder will get a penny taped to their invoice each month. Companies who push me around like that get put to the bottom of the pile. I won’t bow to their pressure. Wolf will but I won’t. We can live without the oven. It’ll suck but we can.

I was planning on calling the place where we bought the stove to ask them to come out and service it but Wolf called Kidder and cowed to them. Now they’re sending a technician.

I want spring to come so we can warm up, send the cats out, get in the soil, open the doors and windows, and to tell Kidder to take their shitty customer service and stick it up their greedy asses.

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9 Responses to Local Isn’t Always the Answer

  1. Noelle says:

    On one hand, that situation totally blows. On the other hand, hooray for your full feed!

  2. Melissa says:

    Ah man! That sucks and blows and whatever else I can say. Seriously! Just like that story about the man dying in Michigan. Paid his bill EVERY MONTH for 50 years but skipped a few months and they installed a device that eventually led to his freezing to death. If I could figure out how to afford the wood stove that would also heat water, that’s what I’d get. $100 bill ?!?! That’s a pittance. Sending you warm air from KS.

  3. Howling Hill says:

    Noelle: blows, yes. You asked twice so all I could do was grant your request!

    Melissa: unreal, hu? All this over $100. I so want to get rid of all gas products but can’t do anything until we move. Sigh. It feels like it’ll never happen.

  4. Gina says:

    $100? What asses. I hope you can find someone else for next winter. Gee, I wish this one would hurry up and get over.

  5. Chan says:

    Hi again. You know me well enough by now to know that I sometimes have a different view on things than you. . . .so here goes:

    I can understand why you are upset, but I can also understand Kidder’s side. They provided services to you in good faith believing that you would pay your bills in full and on specific terms. (We had Kidder when we lived there).

    You guys have a balance on your account and you are now asking them to come out and provide additional services. . . I am not able to discern whether you going to ask them to extend more credit to you or were you going to pay for the service up front. But that’s neither here nor there.

    Think about this. (Disclaimer: you don’t have to like what I am going to say, but I know you will understand it). . . perhaps Kidder has a large number of people who are in exactly the same situation as you and Wolf and they are all carrying balances.

    Kidder’s cash flow has been diminished because people aren’t able to pay their bills in full and on time. Kidder still has to come up with the money to pay their employees, their business insurances, overhead, upkeep on their vehicles, and pay their own creditors.

    When people don’t pay their bills timely and in full, companies suffer and cannot pay their vendors, when the vendors cash flow diminishes, they have to struggle to pay their employees. Then their employees cannot afford to pay their bills. It’s all cyclical.

    So, yes, it sucks for you, but it also sucks for them.

    I am hoping it gets warm there and better for you and Wolf soon. (((Hugs)))

  6. peppylady says:

    Life is the pits someday, isn’t it.

    That reception will get her pay check regardless on rate the money come in.
    I know when telling with certain companies it wise to get a contract in writing because you never know who you will have deal with.

    Anyhow if you don’t pay your electrical bill here by the 25th of each month.
    They sent one of there big wigs out to your home and have a little chat with you and charge you twenty five bucks.

    Coffee is on.

    Coffee is

  7. jessica says:

    Complain on blogs, on websites, anywhere, so other people realize how shitty they are. Then, pay them in change. Fuck them. I would also consider complaining via the BBB as well.

  8. farm mom says:

    This town is about 40 miles from me. He was paying a local company as well. http://www.cnn.com/2009/US/02/04/freezing.death.folo/index.html

  9. lizzylanefarm says:

    Oh, been there and done that with them and Eastern! (our driveway is the problem too) We told them both to come and get their tanks, Eastern we were going to put their tank on the side of the road…Eastern says you can’t do that, we say yes, oh yes we can and will, can you say back hoe and we know how to use it! The darn thing is empty for 3 days because you can’t get here, the tank is junk to us and we don’t want it here.

    It’s not you they both are jerky companys.

    All I can say is we now use Ameri-Gas with no problems in the past 3 years.

    chin up we are on the down side to spring now.


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