Friday, January 05, 2007

Unpaid Bills

A nice place to pay your utility and phone bills is at Honey Plus on State Street. Yes, you could write checks and send them in the mail. Yes, you could make the most of modern technology and use your computer. Given the choice between paying bills from the comfort of home and vistiting Honey Plus, the answer is obvious.

This store opened a few years ago featuring candy barrels overflowing with sweets for sale by the pound. The business has expanded over time. There is now a line of off-brand grocery products, handmade incense, tobacco products, glass smoking pipes, hardware, small tools, household sundries, perfumes, hygeine products, clothing a hot dog machine, and assorted gift items for the person who has everything but an Atlantic City ashtray or plastic snow globe.

You can pay your gas, electric and telephone bills at Honey Plus. Here is how it works. You stand in line while customers buy cigarettes and lottery tickets. When it's your turn, you hand the clerk your bills. He tallies the amount on a calculator and you pay him cash. Then the clerk enters the payment information for each company into a clicking, whirring machine hidden under the counter. He hands you a receipt for each utility printed on a stiff, cardboard stub as big as an airplane boarding pass.

Whalehead King drove through the rain to pay his bills today. The machine is out of order until Sunday. Hooray! He gets to go to Honey Plus again next week.

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