PRATIE PLACE

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Duke Power: worst customer service. Wealthy monopoly shafts customers. Vent!

I am writing to you, gentle readers, from my cellphone, because half an hour ago while I was recording Yiddish songs in my living room, a Duke Energy guy walked up to the house and cut off the power. (I didn't realize it until he was gone because my recording studio was running off a laptop battery.)

Turns out my bill was overdue. I've been a customer of this bloated company since 1981 and always pay my bill. But somehow, without my permission, they seem to have transferred me to a paperless billing system. OK, except I don't get any emails. I also didn't get a phone call. Where are the robocalls when they would actually help?

That guy who cut off the power, I'm absolutely sure he saw me through the window, but instead of ringing the doorbell he pulled the plug and left.

Is this how well a paperless system works? Duke Energy doesn't have to care how its customers are treated because we have no choice, they are the only game in town. Like Time Warner Cable, another wretchedly mismanaged widely loathed monopoly around here.

Just sitting here thinking about the food that's melting in the refrigerator, the work I can't do, and how much I hate being treated this way after decades of paying my bill like a good customer that deserved better than this.

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

It's Mothering Sunday! Time for pancakes and a beautiful English folksong.

english folk song for mothering sundayI was contacted by a pastor in the England's Lake District this week - he wanted to know if it would be ok if he played our version of "Mothering Sunday" for his congregation this weekend. (That's his church on the right there.)

I was amazed. It always has seemed to me that the English loathe Americans singing their songs, but he said no, they are not that xenophobic, and that he loved it and knew they would love it too. It made my day. Here it is if you want a listen:



My mother died when she was 50, which didn't seem so young to me at the time, I was 26, but now I have outlived her by almost 20%. I have lived to see my daughter married, which my mother didn't, and soon - if I don't get hit by a truck - I will have lived to see a grandchild, which my mother never did.

Jacqueline Schwab, Robbie Link and I recorded this on "Sedgefield Fair" almost twenty years ago. It's a folksong from a time when many families in England could not afford to keep their children; the boys were sent away to work on faraway farms and the girls were sent out as maids. The kids worked six days a week and rarely could spare the time to travel back to their homes. One of the few times the family might be together was "Mothering Sunday." The children are supposed to make pancakes and the mother sits back and tries not to think about all the mess they're making in the kitchen.

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