Total Ado About Nothing or the Gasmen Cometh and Cometh

I'm minding my business, writing, when some guy pops into my peripheral vision. I shot up into the air from the chaise lounge, almost catapulting my laptop into a low orbit around the planet. In the process, I pulled my back out some more.

"Miss, I'm from CGS and can't find the tanks." CGS was my energy service provider for propane gas. I live in a rural area and our primary energy source is propane, supported by wood stoves and ceramic electric heaters.

Over the past decade, my propane usage in the summer house declined to one 100lb tank for 3 years, yet I ended up paying for more than one each year through their 'service' fees. Stupidly, I hired them to fix my gas heater in the cottage for wintertime. I spent a fortune and it still stunk of gas. When they started charging me for new regulators, I said, "Enough." I ended up going to another gas company for the 500lb tank and saved off the bat $150.

Free of charge, the new company fixed my gas heater so I wouldn't asphyxiate. They made major repairs to my hot water heater, neglected by CGS for years. I never had a problem with the new company's customer service and they're efficient as all get-go.

It wasn't until I used up all the gas in the summer house that I called CGS to pick up the two empties.

"I'm canceling my account with you guys. You can pick up the two empty tanks behind my summer cottage."

"WHY ARE YOU CANCELING?" shrieked the receptionist. "We're the largest gas propane company in three counties!" They tend to take cancellations personally and never understand why their customers don't like to be price gouged.

"I'm not happy with all the extra charges. I found another company that doesn't gouge me with the prices."

"Oh, they'll add those fees in," she cautioned.

"Then, I'll deal with that when it occurs," I said. "But right now, I'm glad I'm done with you guys. Besides, I'm a small account so you don't need me. After all, you're the largest gas company in three counties. Please pick up the tanks."

That's when all the fun and games started.

"You scared the shit outta me," I gasped at the CGS guy who, for some reason, walked on my lawn and not on my path.

"Didn't you hear me?" he asked.

I sighed. "I've got a hearing problem," I said, not wanting to disclose my weird deafness to this stranger who had the audacity to walk down my lawn.

"Listen, lady, I got a ticket here from CGS to pick up two tanks. I don't see any."

"What?" I said and got up and staggered onto the path which led me to the other side of the house. The tanks were gone and the regulators were tossed like garbage under my house. "Evidently, your guys already picked it up."

The guy stood there, dumbstruck. He picked up these pieces of paper and said, "But these are the tickets. According to CGS, we have two tanks to pick up."

In pain, I rubbed my back with my left hand and said again, "Evidently, your guys already picked it up. Look at the regulators they threw under my house."

His eyes shifted to the regulators. "Oh no, that couldn't possibly be our guys. They would NEVER toss the regulators around like that."

I laughed. "That's PRECISELY what your guys would do! Look, the tanks are gone."

Adamant, he refused to budge. "They were stolen."

"Who in their right minds would steal empty 100lb propane tanks?"

He stood his ground. "Oh, they'd get a lot of money for that."

I shook my head. "Well, if it was stolen, then I better phone the police. I don't like people casing my home out."

Finally, he left after I yelled after him, "And leave those other tanks alone. They belong to my new gas company!"

I didn't hear from CGS after a few days, so I phoned them.

"According to one of your guys who came around, the tanks were stolen. Should I phone the police?"

"What're you talking about?" asked the woman. "We picked up the tanks last week."

"Well, you better notify your staff because your guy insisted they were stolen."

"I'll let the office know."

Not even two days went by when lo and behold, someone's pounding on my door in the morning. It's another CGS guy wearing the trademark CGS shirt.

"What do YOU want?" I asked.

"Where're the two tanks I have to pick up?"

"They were stolen," I informed him.

He stood there for a moment. Waving tickets in the air, he said, "But I gotta pick up two tanks."

"They're not here."

"But, my office-"

Angrily, I said, "They were already picked up. Please leave me alone. And don't you touch those other tanks. They belong to my new gas company."

I thought the matter was over, except the following day, two men attired in CGS shirts tromped down my lawn, not using the path and asked, "Say, where are the two tanks?"

I almost lost it. "They were picked up two weeks ago and I don't give a shit whether you've a ticket or not. There're no tanks here and do NOT take the ones I have, they belong to another service."

I thought I nipped that in the bud.

Today, I heard voices behind my house and looked out the kitchen window. Sure enough, there were two men wearing the CGS shirts. "What are you doing here?" I shrieked.

"We're here to pick up the tanks," they yelled back.

"Don't you people communicate," I shouted, "They were picked up 3 weeks ago!"

The guy waved the ticket. "The office said-"

"I don't have the tanks. Get outta here!" I screamed. "And don't touch those other tanks!"

I phoned the company and got the receptionist. "What the hell's wrong with you people?"

"We picked up the tanks a week or so ago."

"So, why do you keep sending strange men to my house?" I yelled. "Thank GOD I ended my contract with you idiots. If you don't stop harassing me, I'll get the cops involved. And throw your guys in jail for trespassing."

Ok, ok, I know I'm over-reacting. But, how many times are these morons going to send people over? I never had that good service for the fifteen years I was with them! Something tells me I'm gonna get another visit from CGS. They take it personally when you sever the relationship.

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This blog and all its posts are a work of fiction. Names, character, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.

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