Surfing through my AT&T account last night on the web, I was looking for a way to change my calling plan a bit. For one thing, I’d noticed that my bill had been about $25 a month more the last couple of months than it had been for the previous 1+ years. I was also in search of an alternate “minutes” plan or something that would help out with the extraordinary increase in minutes that we’ve been using lately.
I’ve had a 700 minute a month plan that I shared with my son, Tiger, since I got the phones for us and up until now that has been more than plenty. In fact, I had pretty close to 5000 minutes stored up in the rollover minutes because we mostly texted. Then Tiger’s girlfriend happened. And we fried 700 minutes in the first 4 days of the billing cycle. Thank God for the rollovers.
I found the different billing plans and looked at the different options, but somewhere in the past, I believe it was when I changed to my iPhone 4, they had told me I could keep my unlimited data plan that I originally got with my first iPhone, under a grandfather clause because they didn’t offer it anymore. However, if I changed my plan in any way, the unlimited plan was gone. Forever. Or until the iPhone 12 came out. So I decided not to change anything while I was on the website and I would call instead and talk to a live person. That way if it got screwed up, I had someone to blame besides . . . their dumbass website.
Today I called. The wait time was fairly short before I actually got a live person and into my life came I’m-not-paying-attention-to-a-fucking-word-you’re-saying lady. She was clearly reading from a screen, and not even very well. I also think she was playing Angry Birds. I can’t prove it, but I just know it. Explaining that I needed to do something about my current plan as my calling habits had changed, I expressed interest in the “A-List”. It’s AT&T’s version of the “calling circle” that allows you to add a small handful of numbers you can call that don’t charge you minutes. I also asked that she look into the reason for the mysterious increase in my bill the last couple of months.
Me: “I want to see what options I have to alleviate my daytime minute usage, I’m using them all up and it’s all on only a couple of phone numbers”.
Her: *”weeeeee! ow!” sound in the background* “Ok sir, let me see if I can help you with that. Let me just verify your account. Can I ask you your first and last name please?”
Me: “Eric Waechter” (and I very carefully pronounce it out as I’ve learned to do my whole life – wek*ter, much simpler than it looks, two-syllables, just like Hannibal Lecter, but with a “W”.)
Her: “Ok, thank you Mr. Wheecher. How can I help you today?”
Me: “Again, I’m using more minutes than before and I need to see what I can do about my calling plan.”
Her: “Ok sir, WOW, I see you have used all your minutes for the month already! Have you thought about switching to a larger plan?”
Me: *palm now on forehead* “This is what I’m sayin’. I’d like to see what I need to do to activate the “A-list” feature. I’m only using the minutes on a couple of numbers and I’d just like to have that so I could put those numbers on it.”
Her: “I’m sorry sir, but you don’t qualify for the A-List. In order to get that you have to be on the super expensive 1800 minutes a month plan with free nights and weekends and Thursdays and if you’re driving.”
Me: “So basically you’re saying that to qualify for it, I have to NOT NEED it.”
Her: *long pause* “I don’t understand what you mean, sir.”
Me: *rubbing my temple now* “Clearly.”
The conversation continues in a similar fashion for quite a while until we eventually manage to get to the point where she offers the 700 minute plan with free mobile to any mobile plan as well as the free nights and weekends and asks if that would help. Of course it would, because Kitten’s mobile number would qualify and be of tremendous assistance in saving minutes.
Me: “How much more a month?”
Her: “Well, it is just an upgrade we’ve recently added to the plan you already have and the monthly cost is the same.”
Me: “So that means my plan already includes this since you have upgraded it.”
Her: “No sir, it is an upgrade to the plan you already have.”
Me: *sinking quickly into a hole of futility* “Ok, do what you have to do for that. That will work.”
There is a long silence and I’m pretty sure I hear a triangular yellow bird smashing through wood. Then some typing on the keyboard. A few more minutes go by.
Then finally she speaks again, and I seriously wish I was making this part up, she said:
“Ok sir, I have you set up for the 700 minutes plan. Would you like me to upgrade that with the free mobile to any mobile service?”
I swore for a minute that the original girl had actually left and gave the phone to someone else entirely. Up to this point I had been relatively nice. Sarcastic, maybe, but it was going over her head and having no effect anyway, so what remained was at least polite. But I have a point where what I say quits going through the “think about it first” filter and I spat out:
“Exactly what in the fuck have you been doing for the last 5 minutes of silence?!”
She stumbled for a moment and I heard things moving around in the background and then suddenly, for the first time since the call began, I felt like I had her attention, and this was now 25 minutes into the call. In the next 5 minutes, she managed to change the plan to what I needed, help find the errant charges on my bill, refund me for all charges that had been there for the last couple of months and weren’t supposed to be, and effectively dropped my bill for next month to less than half of what it’s supposed to be. Suddenly, efficiency was her middle name.
Regret: I should have hit her up for the A-List in the last 5 minutes because she probably would have sent me a whole new iPhone if I’d asked at that point.
Lesson learned: Maybe start with the profanity coming out of the gate.
Oh, and then later I found out that Tiger’s girlfriend doesn’t have a cell phone, so his leash will continue to squeeze on his calling. I’m thinking when he is talking to her on Skype on his computer, maybe he doesn’t need to call her when he walks away to go get a drink or something to eat. Because that is just ridiculous.
So I’m going to close this now because it really starts to hurt my neck holding my phone to my shoulder while I’m trying to type.
Facebook post of the day: