[This would have gotten posted sooner, except the LJ people don't seem to know how to keep servers up...]
On the back of my phone bill, it says:
Try Online Banking with Bill Pay from Bank of America and you can pay ALL of your bills for FREE.
Please forgive me my bone-headedness for a few minutes.
I thought about this...and ignoring the security issues inherent in an online system (which is the first thing I usually think about), I realized something. Some poor working-class expectant mother has a job because of checks. She has a job up there in Sacramento, which probably pays minimum wage, opening the envelopes we customers send and feeding the contents to a computer.
If "I" (and 16,384 other SBC
customers) chose to use online bill-pay, instead of writing and mailing a check, she probably wouldn't have a job. Nor would the guy at the Post Office, whose job it is to read the envelope and decide where the mail has to go. Nor would the trucker who carries the mail up to Sacramento.
If I and 16,384 other SBC customers choose to mail in checks, the system admin and programmers at BofA who is responsible for maintaining the online bill-pay system wouldn't have jobs. The ISPs would still be around, because I would still require my Internet connection (I don't have to pay more money to my ISP just to use bill pay).
There are probably a lot more mail-openers at SBC in Sacramento than there are system admins and programmers at BofA in Charlotte, NC (or India, for that matter). I see a much more even distribution of wealth amongst many, when it comes to mail-openers, than I do when it comes to paying a few sysadmins/developers big bucks to maintain a web service. (HTTP sucks anyway.)
Thus, despite the fact that I am a programmer, and prefer to use technology, I pay my phone bill with a check, and the Post Office. And I hope that my $0.37 stamp, and a recycled tree or two, will make a difference.
15:07:18 up 42 days, 8:43, 2 users, load average: 0.30, 0.12, 0.09