August 28th, 2008

On the Evils of the Phone Company

Lo, the many reasons I hate the unnamed phone/ internet/ sadistic company that will be henceforward referred to as SatanCo.


Many moons ago, when I first began using email for my budding freelance career, I was such a novice that one of my editors actually had to teach me how to attach documents to a message. (That was after he explained to me what attachments were.) Still living with my parents, I used the family email address, blissfully unaware of the many advantages of establishing an independent address.


Okay, that was like more than a decade ago, and up till this week, I was still using that dang address. I just loathed the thought of trying to tell everyone I had a new one. I mean, late last year I got an email from a Cricket editor about a story I’d submitted two years before. What would he have done if I didn’t have that address anymore? He would have had to Google me, or me, or actually pick up the phone to try to call me.


The horror!


Well, now that silly address (it was a silly one, but we didn’t know any better when we created it) will be no more, as of tomorrow. I discovered this fact last week, and after gearing myself up (a process that required several days and significant tequila), I called the phone company to see if I could get that addressed transferred to me.


Oddly, their technology does not stretch that far.


The rep did mention that I might be able to keep the old account—the number had been disconnected a couple weeks before—as a dial-up, just to maintain the address. This appealed to me mainly because it would allow me to pursue the new-email-address-notification-process in a very leisurely fashion.


The catch: I would have to call back and talk to a sales rep.


Yesterday I tried to do that, and the poor girl had no idea what I was talking about. After a few rounds of logic-defying conversation she went to talk to her supervisor, who straightened her out. We were on the same page. She felt my pain. She transferred me to the sales department—who I had dialed directly, I thought, but the first rep had given me the wrong number—and somehow my call got waylaid, and I ended up in the clutches of their voice recognition system, which apparently takes me for some sort of alien species that communicates only in grunts and clicks, because it never understands me, even when all I say is “No,” or “Sales,” or “LET ME TALK TO A REAL PERSON BEFORE I SHOOT SOMETHING, I’M SO NOT KIDDING!”


So I made a very mature decision. After letting fly a few choice words, I hung up the phone. I leafed through all 3457 emails in my trash file (I spent all week cleaning out email folders), built a contact list (being somewhat untrusting, I never allowed Yahoo! to build one for me), and emailed everyone the new address. Everyone except the zillions of editors who have received unsolicited submissions from me—and have not yet replied.


But, despite my near-despair in the clutches of SatanCo and Yahoo! (which will not allow me to do trueswitch, carrying over my old emails and contacts—the few I did create—despite the fact that my old email address was for a company absorbed by Yahoo!. They make my ears bleed, you know?), I am of good cheer this morning. And why is that? Because I have faith in Google. It has never betrayed me. Yet. 

(Do you ever feel a spark of envy for Dickens, writing longhand in the poorhouse? No email? No spam? No phone company? Those were the days.)  

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