Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Coffee and Cigarettes - Not Just for Breakfast Anymore

Yesterday a friend was telling me how she spent her entire morning on the phone with her internet company because her service had been going down constantly. Hehehe, I said "going down constantly". The customer service representative she was speaking to had her crawling all over the floor following wires, pushing her desk around the room to check for who knows what, and tearing into her computer - all in the name of trying to keep the repairmen from making a wasted trip. After a few hours of sweating, torture, and listening to horrifying muzak while on hold - the rep came back to tell her that there was a line problem on the street. My friend, in the most polite way she could manage, told the girl to do something that I believe is not only physically impossible - but may be illegal in most southern states. Yet another example of the crappy customer service this country is now subjected to on a daily basis. I used to cringe when faced with the prospect of dialing the dreaded 800 number. However, I have found the way to get what you want from these disembodied voices on the phone - these spawns of Satan whose primary job is to shred our spirit and trample on our dreams! I know the way! It works! Oh yes it does. Read on.

Several years ago I had a major issue with MCI - oh how I celebrated when they went bankrupt. It's a long story - it always is - and I don't really want to share all the gory details with you all - which I'm sure you're grateful for - but the upshot is they were sending me bills and I was no longer using their service. For months they kept sending me bills, and for months I would call and try to explain that the service had been canceled. Management would never get on the phone. The reps were less than articulate. I clearly remember listening to one girl cracking her gum while I talked. I fantasized about reaching through the line and ripping her throat out. Nobody would straighten this matter out - they just kept telling me to pay. Now I don't remember how much it was - probably not much - but I'll be fucked if I'm going to pay some billion dollar corporation money that it hasn't earned.

After a few months of this playful game of cat and mouse, I got a fairly threatening letter from MCI regarding this matter. I serenely picked up the phone and called the 800 number. I asked for a manager. No manager. I hung up. I called again. And again. And again. And again. Each time I explained the situation and asked for a manager. Each time they said there was none available. Then I would hang up and do it again. Finally one of the reps said to me. "I'm noticing on the computer that you have called several times today, maybe I should get a manager." Gee, ya think?

After putting me on hold for half of All My Children, I finally got a manager on the line. The first thing she said to me was, "I've read your file. I'm not really sure what you expect here."

I was calm. I was cool. I was collected. And in my sweetest and most condescending voice, I responded with the magic words that I am now going to share with all of you -

"Listen love - here is what I expect. I'm not going to pay this bill. I know you think I am going to, but I'm not. Do you know why? Because you are going to wipe it out. And you are going to wipe it out now. Do you know why you're going to wipe it out? Because if you don't, I am going to call again. And again. And again. And again. I will call you every five minutes if I have to - and you have no choice but to take my calls because A. - I now know your name and B. - that is your job. And in case you think I'm exaggerating, understand this - I have a pot of coffee, a pack of cigarettes, and nothing else to do today. I can do this all day. And I can do it again tomorrow too. In fact, I'm off all week. So let's say you get rid of this bill and spare yourself a world of pain."

My bill was wiped out. I never heard from MCI again. And everyone lived happily ever after.

The End.

Someday you'll all thank me for this post.

31 comments:

yournamehere said...

I handle telemarketers and incompetent customer service reps with my portable Civil Defense Siren.

Bill said...

You know, MCI might not have gone out of business if they'd provided their service reps with their own pots of coffee and packs of cigarettes.

Just a thought.


Anyway ... I'll remember the coffee & smokes routine the next time I deal with a service rep, though I do my damnedest to avoid such occasions.

Nance said...

Oh, my, yes. Do you know, brookelina, that my side job is a consumer advocate? Not that you'll ever need me...LOL. And get this: my little sister is a TELEMARKETER. No lie.

Dan said...

Sweet. I can't wait until next month to find out what I'm supposed to do given that AT&T, Pacbell, SBC, whoever they are now forgot to charge me for my internet on last month's bill.

What's your hourly rate?

Sysm said...

Miss Wose,

You are certainly worthy of all of the service you can get.



:ahem:

MK said...

Priceless, and slightly less trashy than my favorite way of dealing with telemarketers. I love to have my husband sit in the background and cry like a baby while I do my best trailer trash mama routine about screaming brats, late child support and clogged plumbing. Telemarketers have never called again after getting that routine, and it's priceless to listen to them try to extract themselves (because you know they can't hang up until I do...)

egan said...

Shit, you're one of them. I'm not giving you my 800 number no matter what.

jiggs said...

fuck the corporations! fuck em!

Nick said...

I agree with Jiggs.

Tim said...

My wife lives for this kind of thing. When comcast screws up our bill (like they do every few months) and she calls and gets put on hold for like 2 straight days I think she actually enjoys it because she always ends up with something free.

Justin said...

Whenever I think of doing such things, I get too mad. And then I babble.

Erin O'Brien said...

I quit smoking in 1993, but strangely, I want to light up right now.

Übermilf said...

My state had a consumer fraud division set up just to deal with MCI billing people they had no right to bill.

Too bad; you could've gotten a job with them.

Leezer said...

Brooke:
I love your white-hot hatred of MCI. I have refused to give a plug nickle to any cable company since 1986, but I see people still have cable. Pfft.

True story: I am an attorney for cities. One of my resposibilities is to negotiate franchises with cable companies so they can put their cables within our rights-of-way. When Comcast was MCI was some other company, it violated the terms of our franchise by persisting with the same type of crap they gave you. So we hauled about six representatives from the cable company into a public hearing where all the citizens who had been wronged yelled and screamed at them for like two solid hours. We then fined them $500k. It was the best day of my life. Ever.

Knight said...

In a similar situation... I just told them... "please, sue me. It's the big building on Grant street with the pillars. Bost-o-luck to ya..."

miss kendra said...

you are my hero.

currently i am hating on time warner cable, who bought out my cable company and then jacked up the prices for the same services. AND my internets stop working all the time AND when i call i have to listen to them tell me to turn off the box/reboot etc etc for ten minutes before i can talk to someone and explain that i've already done that... 45 times.

AAAAAAAAAAA

Malnurtured Snay said...

AT&T won't turn OFF my service, so I think I'm going to use this post as a blueprint to get 'em to pay attention to me :)

John said...

Agro-tastic. Love it.

brookelina said...

Todd - I'm much more vehement when it comes to customer service reps. Telemarketers - I just fuck with their heads.

Bill - MCI went under not long after that phone call. I like to think I had something to do with that.

Nance - oh lord. I hope she's never called me. I like to pretend I'm a little slow when telemarketers call me. I ask them if they like cookies. And if they know why mommy and daddy make those funny noises in the bedroom.

Dan - send me a picture. I'll let you know my rate then.

Sysm - from your mouth to God's...or whoever is in charge of "services" ear.

MK - see the response to Nance. You are a woman after my own heart. Love it!

brookelina said...

Egan - what if I showed you my tits?

Jiggs - yeah! Fuck em!

Nick - yeah! Fuck em!

Tim - see? It's always best to look on the bright side of the nightmare that corporate America puts us through on a daily basis.

Justin - babbling is good. It confuses them and then they start giving out free stuff.

Erin - bring the smokes. I've got the wine.

brookelina said...

Ubie - they'd never do that in Florida. Fraud is all that is keeping this state from going bankrupt.

Leezer - I'd have paid good money to be at that hearing. You don't have it on tape, by any chance, do you?

Knight - next time I'll tell them you are my attorney. We can bring them down together!

Kendra - practice that last paragraph in my post. Then use it - again and again. You'll get your way. I helped put MCI in the ground I tell you!

Malnutured - excellent! Let me know how it goes!

John - aaaaah! Agro! I haven't heard that word in so long! I love it, thank you!

Hypersonic said...

If I ever have a problem with being billed for cancelled or unused services I normally ring the customer services and pretend I'm my lawyer who is informing the company verbally that they will be receiving a cesa and desist order in the mail and that my client(me) is going top sue there asses for ten times the bill that they're trying to finagle out of me. Works everytime. especially with internet providers.

Monkey said...

Todd made me pee again.

I have a pot of coffee, a pack of cigarettes, and nothing else to do today.

This is beautiful. Simple and beautiful. My hat is off to you.

Oddly enough, like MK above, I have gotten rid of things simply by babbling like a fool about anything and nothing. Just babbling. About my mother's flooded basement, prices at the grocery store, why are the potholes always fixed in August a the busiest time of year? Did you know that I am a Libra? I am! What sign are you? Really? You know what that means? I'll tell you! No seriously! I will!

I don't know why, but this works.

I love you with the passion of a thousand Passion Fruits.

naynayfazz said...

What an AWESOME POST. I love it! You just inspired me to grow bigger balls-figuratively of course. It would be freaky if I could literally, huh?

This isn't as good as your story but I have to tell you, last year I was at work and I was on the phone with some ghetto superstar rep over at Verizon trying to fix my work phone bill that was wrong. I had him on speaker so my co-worker could hear how he was talking to me (rude). I told him he was being rude and I SHIT YOU NOT, he said to me " BITCH" and hung up on me. When I called back, there was no record I even called. I was so mad. I wish I had a name so I could've reported him. I was shocked!

thephoenixnyc said...

Were you braless at the time?

G3T Films said...

*hangs head in shame* Yes, I have been one of those guys on the phone asking you to check cables... IT'S FOR A REASON GAWDAMNIT, WE'RE NOT JUST ENTERTAINING OURSELVES... for the most part...

Dan-E said...

persistence: thy name is brooke.

Flounder said...

How exactly do you say that in Indian? Most of the customer service fucks I deal with are based there.

Bone said...

Personally, I think you should hire yourself out....

To make calls like this for other people :)

And it is illegal here, but they really don't enforce it I don't think.

Princess Pointful said...

Beautiful.
I have fantasies of reliving the bad electrical bill phase of my life (my power consumption apparently quadrupled in one month, despite living in a one bedroom apartment with nary a major power-consuming appliance outside of my fridge and stove). Even I was looking for the secret grow-op.

Melliferous Pants said...

I could kiss you.