Tuesday, June 24, 2008

CUC Dandan as ground zero for Saipan gloom

I head to CUC in Dandan this afternoon to pay my ridiculous power bill. In the lobby is a giant group waiting to arrange a payment plan or to dispute the random billing practices of this incompetent cabal that's about as popular as a case of salmonella. Standing in the line leads to a type of chit chat I haven't experienced since camping out for concert tickets in college -- only a far more negative type of chat focused on comparative horror stories.

The guy in line behind me shows me his bill with water, but no electricity charge. I ask if he just had to shut off the electric completely, and he relates that he didn't, the meter reader just didn't bother checking the meter and he wasn't waiting around to get a sudden $1,000 electric bill. The contempt flew from his lips as he raged about "laziness."

The payment line, unlike the financing line, is not all that long, so I saunter up fairly quickly. The large woman behind the counter could not look more unhappy. In fact, instead of handing out suspended sentences, I urge our judges to render sentences based on days spent as a CUC bill collector. Being the public face of CUC is a cruel and unusual punishment the most sadistic goons from Saddam's torture camps couldn't dream up. I smile at her and express some empathy for her plight. She relates that she doesn't even listen to all the complaining anyway, though I'm pretty sure her look of distress was in part due to listening to the guy behind me complain about his non-read meter. In this situation, that glaring statement about "not listening" that violates most all customer service principles doesn't seem out of place or in any way unreasonable. It's doubtlessly not her fault that in fourteen hours I've had three two hour power outages. She's mostly just guilty by association.

Yes, the burden for this folly gets spread around. Politicians caved and artificially lowered the rates. CUC risk managers didn't manage any risk, as no one contemplated a future where $20 oil became $140 oil. Executives went on trips and collected per diems. People hired by CUC who knew nothing about their field were happy to get a check. No one was concerned, and it didn't seem to matter. But it always really matters because this place is in an economic and self-confidence death spiral with no end in sight, and CUC is ground zero.

2 comments:

Rick Jones said...

I'm always nice to the people at CUC, I figure they hear so much shit that they don't need any more from me. Like you said, it's not their fault that the management there can't seem to find it's ass with both hands, even with a map.

Bruce A. Bateman said...

On the positive side, Jeff, you can count on power 24/7 in the Phoenix metro area barring some drunk running down the telephone pole in front of your house or Osama sending one of his minions to blow himself up in your backyard by the power junction box.

Standing in that payment line and chatting with a friend is how I wound up owning Porky's. The story is a bit longer and more convoluted than that so I'll fill you in via an email when you are sitting around your fully lit house in Phoenix eating real Mexican food instead of the slop that passes for Mexican around here.

Via con Dios my friend!