Friday, January 26, 2007

Q&A

As you can imagine, writing this blog means being bombarded with requests for information about my life. To answer the most frequent question: Fathers, lock up your daughters; I'm single!

The second most frequent question is, "Why must you publish the mundane details of your life and your two-bit observations?"

I think that's mostly rhetorical, but thanks for writing in!

Moving on to the third most popular question: "Dan, how do you pay your bills? I've got a hunch that the answer to this question is fascinating!"

My God, you could not be more right.

Since I -- like many others -- do not have a bank account, I cannot write a check for, say, the gas bill. Nor can I have them debit my account. A few companies will let me pay over the phone with my credit card, but most won't.

So I take my bills to any store or kiosk that offers PagoFácil. They scan the barcode at the bottom of my bill and I pay them in cash what I owe. My account is credited. This works for nearly everything -- gas, electric, cable, Internet, taxes. You can even buy plane tickets online, print out a bar code, take the bar code to the drugstore and pay for them that way.

There is no charge to me for this service.

It's a pretty cool system that works quite well for a country with so little trust in the banks and so much cash changing hands.

One downside is that the lines to pay bills can be unreal. That's why I was so happy a few months back when I discovered a "secret" PagoFácil location in the headquarters of the pastry workers union. The line is always short and the woman is always so nice. It has occurred to me that perhaps it is really meant for workers in the baking industry, but no one has said anything to me so far and I am not about to ask.

Plus, the image of me being discovered and then dragged kicking and screaming from the pastry workers union headquarters is amusing enough that it's worth taking my chances.

3 comments:

Nicholas said...

Do the pastry workers ever go on strike?

blahgstein said...

I would like please to know how you found your secret Pago stop. What exactly were you doing in the pastry workers' union?

Dan said...

I can see the headline now: Pastry workers demand more dough.

They haven't gone on strike since I've been here. Subway workers, teachers, hospital workers, truck drivers, airline pilots and others that I'm sure I'm forgetting have gone on strike but not the pastry workers. Yet.

As for how I found it. . . Just by walking around. They have a little sign indicating that they offer PagoFácil outside, so it's not a secret. But the building is not on a heavily trafficked street.

They also have free/cheap haircuts and a pharmacy, but I feel like that would be pushing it, since those are probably really reserved for pastry workers.

"Are you a member of the pastry workers union?"

"Yes."

"Really? Where do you work, then?

"Oh, you know . . . at the bakery."