Editor’s Scratchpad

Wednesday, April 4, 2001

Check out
these instructions

Who among us doesn't find writing checks to pay bills a tedious enough task without putting up with annoying instructions from the payees.

Some are no-brainers: "Be sure address appears in window of envelope," and "Post office will not deliver without proper postage." Others are too bossy: "Place check right side up, facing back of payment coupon. Do not staple or clip check to payment coupon. Do not pay with foreign currency or coins. Do not include cash. Do not include questions or requests for information in this envelope."

This one makes sense: "Please include account number on check." Heaven forbid you should pay another person's bill.

Until a few months ago, the phone company directed you to write your phone number on your check. That was changed to the 18-digit account number on your bill. Copying 18 digits takes concentration, checking and double checking.

I called Verizon to ask why. The nice customer service representative explained that the 18 digits are only required when paying online, by credit card or through an automatic bank withdrawal. She offered pleasantly to set up any of those methods if I preferred.

Never mind. I'll stick with the check writing, thank you.

--Cynthia Oi

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