Antique Telephone.jpgSo there we were this morning, trying to make a phone call.  Then, there was our beloved telephone company.  Turns out our line was dead. Turns out they can repair it.  In nine days.

Last year our telephone went dead–bees in the box on the pole–and eight days passed before said telephone company toddled out to fumigate the line.  We don’t live in rural Idaho or North Dakota, mind you, and we aren’t in the midst of a blizzard.  We live not ten minutes from the White House–which is not a political statement, please note–and spring’s in the air.  Four years ago the telephone held me hostage without service for two weeks, insisting that the problem with my vanished phone number was someone else’s.  Only when I borrowed a neighbor’s phone, got a supervisor and refused to hang up for three hours until my service was restored, did they actually look to see what was going on.  Tired of me, they fixed it in thirty seconds.  This is not an exaggeration.

Last year when I got the eight day repair sentence I wrote my representative to Congress, my local County Board, and the FCC–the County Board’s suggestion.  Not to complain, to ask them to provide some oversight and some rules.  Four months later the FCC sent me a form letter telling me I needed to write the Attorney General of the State of Alabama.

I live in Virginia.

So today, I emailed all my state delegates and senators.  The County Board, too.  Call me an idiot or an optimist, your choice.  I explained that in Ohio, the local telephone company is required by law to go out and assess the problem within 24 hours of a report.  Why, I asked, couldn’t we, too, have a law that governed this?  Or at least some oversight of our utility companies.

What are the chances anyone will answer me?  And why have I bothered?  Well, maybe it’s because last week the cable company showed up to repair my Internet (down since December) and the technician didn’t have a new modem to replace my damaged one.  Because he wasn’t allowed to carry one. 

The repair man was not allowed to carry the very device that would repair my Internet.  Kafka, were you only alive today.

I had to reschedule that appointment, make sure twice that this time a modem came with the deal, and wait another four days. 

Why am I blogging about this?  Well, I have this theory that when any of us pays for service, we deserve service.  I also worry about all those people unwilling or unable to speak for theselves.  Senior citizens, disabled citizens.  People confused by technology who are not able to navigate the labyrinth of websites, forms, chat lines and bouncing webpages that our utilities claim will help solve our problems.

Maybe all this consumer outrage is simply because I started Weight Watchers last week.  Maybe I need to do a little more consuming of the calorie kind, and use some of those extra points Weight Watchers so generously bestows each week to de-stress.  Maybe then I won’t expect the services I pay for to work and work well.

On the other hand, maybe I’ll start a movement.  Mad about the way your utility companies are treating you?  Write somebody.  Let’s see what happens.  If you aren’t mad because your utilities work just fine?  Let me know where you live.  Is there a house on your street for sale?  I’m interested.

By the way, my phone is working again.  We don’t know why and we don’t know how.  But more than ever, I believe in miracles.  Unfortunately, I can’t cancel the work order.  The incident number they promised to text us, never arrived.  And the form to cancel requires it.

 

4 Comments

  1. Laney4 on March 7, 2010 at 9:39 am

    “Unfortunately, I can’t cancel the work order. The incident number they promised to text us, never arrived. And the form to cancel requires it.”
    I would call them back at the 1-800 # (presumably) and hold until I GOT that incident number for the cancellation form. There must be things you can do while waiting an eternity (again). I would be working on my computer, although a speakerphone would be handy so you’re hands-free to move about your office, etc.
    Good luck with Weight Watchers, Emilie. I gained a (gradual) ton of weight since my mom got sick in 1995. I’ve been trying since Aug 15/90 to lose it and finally hit the 25-pound mark this week. I had lost 24 by Christmas, but I ate out and had alcohol in January/February, so I had to lose 3 more pounds that I’d gained back before I could continue with my count. (That’ll teach me!) I have cut out pop completely (except when at a friend’s house occasionally and mixed drinks are provided) — which is how I gained the weight in the first place, upped my competitive badminton from two nights a week to four or five nights a week (UGH!), cut out (for the most part, as I DO get desperate certain times of the month) nighttime snacks, and reduced my supper to 1/2 to 2/3 of a plate (rather than at least one plate in the past). I’m doing it gradually on purpose, as it’s a life-long process, plus I don’t want sagging parts (any more so than usual!). I still eat desserts and afternoon snacks, but in moderation!
    I’m raising my bottle of water to you and wishing you the best of luck in your quest!

  2. Emilie Richards on March 7, 2010 at 9:47 am

    Good for you, Laney. Sounds like you’re on your way and doing it right. As for Verizon? If they’re anything like Comcast, they will call at least four times (all automated) to make sure we still need them to come, and I can cancel then. Besides, by then, who knows, I might need them again, and at least I won’t have to wait an additional nine days for service.

  3. Laney4 on March 8, 2010 at 12:16 am

    I deal with Bell here in Canada. They don’t call four times (or even once) before arriving (automated or otherwise), so I’m glad you realize this and you’re going with the flow, so to speak. I especially liked your remark re possibly needing them again. You’re absolutely right! Good point!
    Good luck!

  4. Su on March 15, 2010 at 4:28 pm

    Emilie, you are too funny! Keep writing your blogs . . about everyday life. I enjoy them so much!

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