Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Me No Phone Home

Agh, I'm having trouble with my phone!

It all started a couple months ago. Only I didn't know it for a long time because we were at the Idaho home, and the problem's on our home line in California. We had the handy-dandy call waiting thing. In case we couldn't flash over when a second call came into a line we were already using, we opted for the phone company's message center to click in after five rings. The center would take the caller's message. Sounded great. But the only way I'd know a message was sitting at that center was by clicking onto the home line to dial out and hearing a series of beeps before the dial tone kicked in.

Well guess what. The message center screwed up. It started kicking in after one ring, not leaving time for our own voice message machine at home to come on. Nobody could get throuh to us. I called a few weeks ago. They tried to fix it. They said it was fixed. Which was true--for about a week.

Then it started acting up again. Yesterday the stupid thing decided to go one step further. It picked up a call before it even rang in my house. Happened to be a very important scheduled phone call from my editor. Forty-five minutes later, wondering what on earth had happened to her, I stumbled upon the message she'd left at the phone company's message center. Editor and I had our phone conversation. After which I promptly called the phone company and asked them to take off the message center feature. Clearly they couldn't fix the thing, so let's just get rid of it.

Not that easy. It came bundled in my package of services, see. Couldn't be taken off by itself.

"Okay. Give me a new package then."

The gal promptly looked for one. She was most helpful. She was also very agressive in hard-selling me more services. "Do you have internet? Who with? Your cable company? I could save you so much money ..."

"No thanks, let's just get this issue fixed."

A minute later she launched into her spiel all over again. About the money I'd save. And did I know they also have a dish now for TV? If I'd just bundle all those services together ...

"Wow, you all do everything these days. Wanna come clean my house?"

I said it so sweetly she apparently missed the snarkiness and kept up her spiel. I finally had to tell her no, no, and no. Just fix my phone!

About that time we got cut off.

Gritting my teeth, I dialed the phone company and started all over again. Got a different gal. Who was also most helpful. And who also launched into her own version of I Am Hard-Sell Mama. I thought the first gal had moxy. She was peanuts compared to this one. I lost count how many times I had to say no. I even had to pull out my Scarlett O'Hara, "Ah'll think about that tamarra" line. The hard sell kept coming. "No," I said. "No, no, no!" Finally she shut up. And replaced my old bundle of services with a new one that didn't have a message center.

Yay! My phone was fixed.

Not. An hour later the line didn't work at all. Callers got constant busy signals. I couldn't get a dial tone.

Narrow-eyed, I settled myself in my desk chair, prepared for another lovely, loooong, no-no-no-read-my-lips-no chat. I called the phone company back. Un-nice thoughts ran through my head: This would NOT be a good time to try to sell me new services ...

I got no person at all. Only a canned voice. Which asked me for my name, phone number, was I calling on the bad line, yada yada. It looked me up in its computer and said okay hold--but you'll have a long wait. I waited. The canned message machine kicked on again--at the very beginning. I answered the questions again. Got in line to wait again. Finally Canned Voice came back. "Let's test your line." Fine, I'm sure you'll get real far with that. Canned voice again: "We will proceed with this problem." In other words whatdya know, lady, you're right. It done broke.

I waited all this time for that?

CV asked when I wanted a tech to come out. It could be the following day. Wow, what service. I said yes! That was the good news. Bad news: scheduling is anywhere between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m.

Guess who's not leaving the house today.

I'm thinking by the time the tech leaves, both my home line and my business line won't work. Neither will the fax line.

And these guys want me to sign up with them for my internet?


Unknown said...

So, are you gonna kill off some phone tech guys in your next novel? ;-)

Sorry, Brandilyn...I so know how that feels. Hope you get it fixed very soon.

Pam Halter said...

I was gonna say the same thing as Lynetta! Kill 'em in your next book! HA!!

Richard Mabry said...

So that's why you didn't answer when we called. Well, better luck next time. Guess we'll be taking that big check up to somebody else's door.
Publisher's Clearing House

Anonymous said...

Oh goodness. Nothin's easy anymore, is it. Holy Moly! Yeah, hold onto your internet, keep it far from their clutches.

All this does serve as good fuel for the next novel, though.

Southern-fried Fiction said...

I just went through a similar fiasco with the phone company. I feel your pain! :D What is it with phone companies?

Grady Houger said...

Wow, that bites. Although for as much as of a pain it is for you, there is likely some people at the phone company is having an equally bad day. "My equipments all breaking down, the customers hate us now, I hope nobody needs to call 911, its all my fault, please don't fire me." Maybe they'll work all night on it.