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Yesterday I was a world traveler and I never left my desk chair. The trip didn’t cost me a cent. The fare was a series of one-eight hundred phone numbers.
I wish I could say it was a relaxing trip. As a matter of fact, I could have been propelled from place to place by the steam hissing out of my ears. I hate to think about the heights reached by my blood pressure during my tour.
In the course of an hour, I held conversations with several young women – one from South Carolina, two from Texas, one from Mexico, and a young man from India. There were a variety of regional accents involved, some of which were easier to deal with than others.
Everyone was kind and doing their best to be helpful. I had to preface my opening gambit with the apology: “Please realize I’m not angry with you personally.”
The whole affair was involved with changing my telephone company – for the second time since May I’m back where I started and the two-month’s interval was very expensive.
One can get dizzy trying to keep up with the TV pitches thrown in an effort to get one’s business. They all have different plans available, guaranteed to save money for the customer.
A few months ago, I decided to get involved with two different telephone companies – one for long distance calls and the other for everything else. This meant two bills each month. For some reason, I thought this was a smart move and the combined fees would be slightly smaller than the single bill I was paying each month. They weren’t, so I decided to switch all my charges to the company handling just my long distance calls. I had the usual trouble trying to get connected with a living person. After pressing innumerable buttons I finally was able to speak to a service representative willing to handle my business, which involved making a selection from several “packages” being offered.
This wasn’t easy for me. I’m one of those people who should never be offered choices. Give me thirty flavors as options, and I’ll end up with vanilla. Variety just confuses me. The phone companies’ differing options are no different, especially if laid out at a fairly rapid rate of speed in an accent almost impossible to understand, and more especially, if you have lousy ears.
Well, I finally accepted what appeared to be a good move. The first bill made me blink. Despite everything I thought I heard, the amount was substantially higher than my previous double bills.
Last month, I didn’t receive a bill. Wanting to do my usual bookkeeping, I called to ask what was going on. I was told the company had a problem with their billing and adjustments were being made. I should not worry and just wait.
This month, I received two bills – last month’s charges and this month’s. The total amount looked like the national debt. I burst into flame.
Now, I had to go back into combat. The first step was trying to find a living service representative.
Many buttons later, I was talking to a nice lady from Texas. From her I learned the company’s billing computers had broken down last month. When finally fixed, it spit out two big bills for me. The charges were much higher than those I had settled upon originally. She was very understanding and sympathetic and switched me to someone else in South Carolina to try to further explain what had happened. I bid her and her employers a not so fond farewell.
Next, I had to reconnect with the outfit I’d left in May. This time I wrote down all the info and settled on one program that, as of now at least, will cost me much less. When the confirmation call came, I was talking to Lucia in Mexico, having been switched from yet another Texan.
The day ended with a short call to a nice young man in India who handles my credit card accounts. I was exhausted from modern business phone lag.
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