Friday, January 15, 2010

Breaking up is hard to do

Having ousted my cable company in favor of DSL, I'm now trying to ditch my cell phone. I have a cell phone because it was cheaper than a dedicated land line combined with cable since the only calls I make are to order pizza or complain about cable outages. So, I went to Virgin Mobile's web site which has tons of cool options, absolutely none of which allow you to cancel service.

I called their "customer service" and got a very friendly computer on the line that took my basic information and outlined my options, also none of which were to cancel service. After playing with the voice menu for a bit, I switched to an old fall-back trick and began pressing 0 repeatedly. This usually gets you to a person, but Virgin's automated assistant was programmed not to give up so easily. It refused to budge until I selected an item from a new menu, which this time included cancellation. I sat on musical hold, listened to the computer periodically tell me how busy they are (as if that would convince me to stay), then eventually I got to talk to a real live moron person. He asked for my phone number, reason for calling, put me on hold, asked for my phone number, put me on hold, and then...hung up. Good thing I have two weeks to cancel service before I get charged again. I'll try twice more, then file a complaint with the BBB.

That reminds me of the pager company my previous employer used. Our executives often took time away from their golf game to remind our employees to save money whenever possible, which they reasoned was best accomplished by purchasing goods and services that required constant upkeep and replacement parts. The paging company was all about the cheap, crappy service. When you called, you were given two options - get a new pager which sent you directly to a person, or ask for help with your current pager, which put you on hold until they had a spare moment. We quickly learned to use option one when we had problems, and they quickly learned to put us back on hold when we said we didn't really want to give them more money.

My company got a state-wide pager for me, which didn't reach as far as my house in the suburbs of Atlanta. Geographic note - Atlanta is still in Georgia. While talking to their "customer service" people in between waits on the phone, one guy revealed that most of their pagers just work around Atlanta and they give those out in the hopes that the customers don't find out. Since I did, they gave me another one which could at least reach my house. While being sent to the Birmingham plant, I tested it en route. It didn't work beyond fifty miles out of the city.

I wonder why more companies don't use such great money-saving tactics? "Yeah, we only gave your four McNuggets in your six-pack. We were hoping you couldn't count. Here's the other two."

Below is a picture of my new imaginary friend.

I'm going to keep calling him Snoodles until he tells me his real name.


Kerry said...

Well... we were thinking of trying new cell service because even though we live right close to a tower (several of them. we live in the city, ya know), we can't get a damn signal by our house. There is about 50 feet of road down the two main streets on either side of our edition that drops you... and you will have to call back and should it even slightly drizzle or look like it might rain, the signal sucks more. So what i'm saying is, AT&T sucks and I guess so does being a Virgin :P

Captain Dumbass said...

Maybe you should get Snoodles to call for you. He can pretend he's your imaginary lawyer.

Jay said...

I have a pre-paid cell phone. I'm considering getting Straight Talk from Walmart though. It seems like a good deal and I'll actually use the thing.

My imaginary friend is much cooler than yours.

SJ said...

I am going to call blogger customer service I can't see your imaginary problem. Would they in good religious tradition tell me it's my eyes that are fault - probably due to to excessive masturbation?

Whitemist said...

But my imaginary friend is an Asian babe, isn't that cooler??

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just me said...

I have a prepaid cell-phone and the reception you get on this little rascal is exceptional. It doesn't come with bells and whistles, but then it would take me forever to figure them out.

Good luck canceling your service.

Grant said...

Kerry - I'm using AT&T (i.e. BellSouth) for my DSL, who do suck, but thanks to advances in cable technology and customer service, they became the lesser of two evils.

Captain Dumbass - I already have a bunny lawyer, so Snoodles isn't getting in on that action.

Jay - your imaginary friend could only be cooler if she is a hot bunny, which wouldn't be cool because you don't want those friends to be invisible and imaginary.

SJ - it can't be their wonderful technology, so it must be your lying eyes.

Whitemist - it would be cooler if you project her voice and shout at people in Engrish. "You no know what you say, you dumb redneck!"

Anonymous - say welcome for your interest.

just me - I now have an old trimline that sounds crappy but works well enough to order pizza, which wouldn't be necessary if the local pizza parlor would just come into the modern age and begin accepting online orders.