Phone Company Revenge …

28 07 2010

In my day an event was … well an event. Something exciting, a one of a kind sort of thing or at least not an everyday occurrence. Imagine my surprise, I was going over my cellular phone bill and I saw a charge for 15¢. It said it was for an ‘event’.

Confusion ensues

“What the hell is that?” I thought, “I don’t remember signing up for events. I’d better find out …”

I dial the phone number on my invoice and listen. “♪ring♫ ♪ring♫ Hello, mobile phone services, how may I help you?”

… yeah, right, this didn’t happen … in actuality I spent some time talking to an annoying and deaf computer. “I’m sorry, could you please repeat your response? Your options were ‘Yes’ or ‘No’,” aaaaaaaaaaaah!

Finally after more than five minutes of trying to see into the psyche of a digital receptionist, I get a live person. “Hello, my name is Jennifer (not her real name), how can I help you today?”

“Hi, um, I’ve noticed a heading on my bill called ‘Events’?”

Did I mention confusion?

“What’s your phone number, please?” Huh? The computer said it had my number … I recite my digits with a question in my voice. Jennifer does not respond to my inflection and I start to wonder if I’ve been foisted off onto a (marginally) more sophisticated computer.

“What is your name as it appears on your invoice?”Aha! A light goes on. She’s checking to see if I’m really me, ’cause god forbid someone else should be questioning charges on my bill. I answer her questions and eventually she gets around to mine – “What were you inquiring about, Mr. McKinlay?”

“Uh, yes, I was wondering what constituted an event?” There’s a long pause as if she’s confused. Or … processing voice recognition data? I give her the benefit of the doubt and add “… on my bill? An event on my bill?”

As clear as mud … okay clearer …

“Certainly, the event portion of your bill usually contains text messages, but it can also contain picture messages, video messages, …” There are other items and I listen to the end and then in my sweetest tone ask “Uh, could you repeat those, I’m just writing them down.”

She repeats the info and I ask questions about each possible ‘event’.

It ain’t over ’til it’s over!

Eventually, I say “Thanks, Jennifer, you’ve been very helpful, you have a nice day.” Ha! I know it isn’t over.

“Thank you sir, is there anything else I can help you with today?” She is hoping to talk me into more services, she doesn’t know that I’d have a cel phone with one button and no screen if it was offered.

I pause a few seconds, considering whether or not to ask my “numbers” question … “If I change service providers, can I keep my current number?”, but Jennifer has been polite and cheerful (good programming?) so I refrain. I tell her I’m good for now and we say our goodbyes.

Payback!

… besides, the event charge on my bill was for 15¢, having taken up nearly twenty minutes of her time I’m sure they paid Jennifer more than that to talk to me … hmmm, human companionship on the phone for less than a penny a minute, this could catch on … unless Jennifer is a computer …

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