That robotic voice, that innocuous “request” is a foolproof injection of unadulterated irritation.  I was on the line trying to get some basic information on how my to operate my phone. I hear you sigh.  But then, perhaps you understand.  Perhaps you too get flashes of childish rage when you’re flummoxed by the most basic things on your gadget, any gadget, and feel as if you’re suffocating.

I was attempting to see the call history on my phone, something that should be simple even for the likes of moi.   I lost my old phone (misplaced is a better word since I eventually found it) and when I went to T-Mobile and got a new phone I was promised a policy that was the same cost as my previous policy.  Just when I started to get the hang of that new phone I got a bill from T-Mobile and guess what, higher fees.  In a spiteful attitude I decided it was time to dump T-Mobile (cell) and AT$T (ISP) both at once, and get a more socially responsible provider.  Then I was told about the inevitable disappearance of the 12,000 plus emails in my inbox.  I pictured days, weeks, months of culling the useful from the dreck.

This is a tale, please forgive me, that falls plunk in the sub-literary genre Whines of the Privileged.  But let me continue.

Rather than continue to wade through the robotic treacle (I see you’re calling from ….Is that correct?) I decided to go directly to the AT$T store on Mission St. and talk to an ostensibly human presence. I arrived at noon, and my name was added to the electronic board of those waiting.  Only one name preceded mine. Twenty minutes later when my name was called and I was joined up with the human, a congenial human, he was unable to transfer the SIM card info from the old phone to the new phone. His manager, summoned, asked if I had gotten the phone wet.  No. Why the info didn’t transfer remained a mystery.  Okay, I could probably do it manually in a week or so.

I had the ear of a live human, so I asked, just to make sure: the new policy I have with AT$T, could he just look that up? I wanted to make sure there were no hidden fees.  Since I didn’t have the 14-digit order number with me, he couldn’t verify what policy I had, but if I could come back later in the day after I retrieved the policy number, they could help me.  I was in the store for 75 minutes, having fed the parking meter a mountain of Nevada’s silver.  At least I didn’t get a ticket.

Do you believe I went back?  When I did, there were eighteen names on the waiting list. I added my own, then had a rare moment of clarity.  It wasn’t a waiting list, it was a suicide watch. I left.

I await my bill from AT$T.  I am slowly figuring out, mostly by error and error, how to use my basic flip phone.  I am doing my best not to be a blithering brat, to breathe, focus, be full of gratitude.  I got a text yesterday which I had no trouble accessing.  It wanted to know the likelihood on a scale of 1-5 of whether I would recommend AT$T to friends and family.

Let me just look that up.


5 responses to “LET ME JUST LOOK THAT UP

  1. I can empathize – or sympathize… whichever fits. Maybe it’s me who has the fits.

  2. Richard,

    Thank you so much for this wonderful column. I appreciate knowing that I am not the only dinosaur left in the world.

    Hope you are well!!


    Sent from my iPad


  3. Enjoyed this very much Richard and unfortuntely have had parallel experience. Hope this finds you well and happy!
    Maureen and Nora

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