Saturday, January 21, 2006

Antidote to a relaxed Saturday: your cell-phone company

Monday to Friday is déjà vu all over again. The alarm goes off as does your temper. In a swift, yet sleepy reflex action, the hand reaches for the snooze button. After the second alarm, the hand actually moves the alarm button to the off position. You debate getting up. Dazzling images of warm sunny beaches with excitingly clothed gals, fun times with old friends and smiles all around flash before you and entice you to give your job the "bird" and chase your dream. 5 minutes later the practicality of ordinary life, the bills, the food, the deliverables, the occasional first date in the evening make an overwhelming case in favor of getting to work. You look at the clock, rub your eyes and look again. Curse the alarm for shutting up each time you put it off, and frantically work towards getting civilized. The same shower, the same tooth-brush and paste, the same razor and cologne, the same closet and clothes you swear you've seen in a life before.

The same drive to work. For me, occasionally (once every six months), I attract unwanted/ unsolicited attention from the law. Shouldn't there be a law against handing out tickets willy-nilly? (hey Pat Robertson: It ain't my fault, God wanted me to have a lead foot.). The same faces at work, similar deliverables, the same drive back or to a "safe" / common-ground restaurant for the date, the same TV shows / phone conversations / chat sessions / friends in the evening, similar dinner and the same bed (Wow... i make it sound tons more awful than it actually is. Maybe I do possess the gift of description... hmm... watch out Leo Tolstoy, here comes another Leo) (Note to self: this self examination during a monologue sounds a lot like Conan O' Brian. Yikes! Note to self: must put an end to this “Note to self” business)

So what's special about the weekend? Everything! The name itself: Weekend. The deja-vu ends. Maybe someone should've named it "Life resumes days". Anyways, I digress. Saturdays are the days you recover from the week's drudgery, or Friday night's binging. So maybe you prepare, if need be, for that first-weekend date in the evening, but you get up really late on a Saturday. It is supposed to be your day. No, not Sunday. Sunday is the day you get things in order for the déjà vu that’s coming for the next 5 days. On Sundays you ensure that you are doing things that were on your “things I’ll do over the weekend list” (which depending on what kind of person you are, is probably just simply adding to the list. But again, I digress).

The time-table for Saturday is simple. Wake up, if you feel like it. Once up, figure out what to do about lunch. Pancake Pantry, IHOPS, Sitar, Cuisine of India, or left over pizza. Lunch with friends or go it alone for a private lunch where you may muse and cogitate about Life, The Universe and Everything or about absolutely nothing at all. Maybe that phone-call you’ve been meaning to make for a while. Feet up on the table (depending on what the “house rules” are), juice by your side, sports on the screen, smile on your face. Or maybe, start on that home project you’ve been meaning to do all along: saw pieces of wood, clean the car, mend the stereo, and solder something new (hey, I’m still the protagonist here). Maybe go buy something you’ve wanted / needed / coveted for a while.

All that bliss, unless you have a cell-phone.

Well, at least till you happen to look at the bill. In my case, every-so-often, Sprint will decide that it needs to talk to me. So like that very insecure friend (we all know at least one), it creates a mini-crisis and must have me on the phone. Only perhaps I have to do most of the talking in this case, and it is my interests at stake.

In an ironic turn of events, “How can I help you today?” I’m asked. “Well, I have 3 issues that I need to talk about. Lets start with the $186 bill”, I say calmly while chanting “Measured intolerance, assertive tolerance” over and over in my head. After the common pleasantries of social security numbers, account passwords and difficult to pronounce names have been exchanged, I'm given the reason “sir that’s because you initiated this and this action on such and such date.”

Alright, so we are going to play the “but I was only doing what you said” routine. “Well, sure, but then I also called back and wanted the said change removed. And I was assured things are going to go back to the way they were.”

“When was that?” I’m asked politely. “On such and such date. And such and such store,” I respond. “Oh, that’s correct, Sir. Let me go ahead and make sure your account reflects this.”

Makes me feel special. Just hearing my voice sets things right over there. Wow! God must’ve spent time perfecting me, right? EEERRRRRNNN… WRONG.

I’m sure some bean counting bureaucrat figured out that if they screwed over a select bunch of people every so often, a certain percentage of people probably would be just too lazy to call back. Now if this cost percentage is simply greater than the amount required to handle the customer service call and set things right, they’ve earned themselves some moolah (or at least for a per month basis).

Net result: a rude shock once every month that sends your best Saturday down the drain by setting you in a combative, bellicose mind-frame. They do this over and over again, till they grow on you, and you look forward to speaking to “Holly from Houston” or “Dana from Detroit”, or “Shaniqua from Smithsville”, or “Palkha from Noida”.

And then one day, just like that, they get things right. And so now you are really screwed over. A perfect Saturday, heaven help! What am I going to do with this? You probably end up praying that they screw things over so you won’t be left with this problem. Your problem doesn’t last long. You just need to look at your cable bill. And then your prayers get answered as well. In a different month, of course. Déjà vu.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

here's an article that talks about the very same mentality of overcharging and then paying back those who complain!