November 07, 2005

The Gauntlet

I have now been on hold with AT&T for 7 minutes. The helpful voice recording that I encountered seven minutes previously (after punching in my phone number, language selection, menu choice, and the value of Pi to the 300th decimal point) had told me perkily that I would be assisted by an AT&T representative in 8 minutes---ooh, which it has now been!

Don't think I'm not onto you, AT&T. Your futile attempt to wear me down in the hope that I will reconsider my decision to cancel your superfluous long distance service will not work. For I am made of stronger stuff, and frankly, that perky voice on the hold tape is only reinforcing my will.

Later...much later...No, I do not want to change my plan. No, I do not want to do a pay-per-call plan at .10 a minute (taxes and fees still applicable, of course). I told you AT THE BEGINNING that I just wanted to CANCEL my long distance. That's all. Seriously. CAN. CEL. As in gone, poof! voila! Bye-bye!

Please quit talking to me in your impenatrable accent, "Lucy." I can sympathize with the fact that you're probably losing a lot of customers like me due to better deals from cell phone companies, but really, that is SO not my problem, and if you had a better wireless coverage plan, well then maybe we could talk, but you don't so, again, STOP TALKING TO ME AND JUST CANCEL THE DAMN SERVICE!

Yes, I realize that by cancelling my long distance I am inviting hordes of rampaging vikings to come torch my house, and that the world will end in a fiery cataclysm and that we will all most probably regret our rash, impulsive decision to sever our bonds with you, oh master AT&T, but actually? I think I'm okay with that. So can you please CANCEL MY LONG DISTANCE NOW?

Cancer? Really? A lack of long distance has been linked to rare, bizarre, painful and terminal illness? Well darn the luck! I STILL WANT IT CANCELED!

And could you just pass along to your bosses how much hatred I have for upsells, resells, and high-pressure sells?


Posted by Big Arm Woman at November 7, 2005 02:14 PM

in addition to our "share the love" wrong distance package, we are also offering your choice of love awards: toaster, VCR, or ATARI game.

Posted by: Lucy@AT&T at November 7, 2005 06:08 PM

Just send 'em a certified letter (return receipt requested) telling them to stop the service, that you won't pay after (date) and that any paperwork is their problem.

Something else you can do with business when it decides to save money by using your time: at the supermarket, when customers are six deep at the two of ten checkout aisles that're open? Just abandon your items and leave. If the company doesn't want to pay for cashiers, let it pay for stock clerks to reshelve what you would have bought.

Posted by: PersonFromPorlock at November 7, 2005 06:50 PM

Man, did you luck out. You got to talk to a real live person. The clones are surprisingly even dumber. When they fail to understand they replay the music.

Posted by: Roberta S at November 8, 2005 03:08 AM

Not to be discouraging, but just wait a week:

the "we want you back!!!! OMG WTF did we do wrong!!!! How can we help you!!!! We can't live without you!!!!" calls will begin.

I cancelled my AT&T long distance service several years ago and was BOMBARDED by calls, weekly, begging me to come back. Telling them I was not interested did not help. Asking them not to call me did not help. Being rude to them did not help. Bursting into tears on the phone and claiming "I thought this was the call to tell me my grandma had died!!!!" did not help.

I finally wrote a letter to the head of A&T telling him how his callers were harrassing me (I consider weekly calls at home in the evening harrassment) and that I would never use AT&T again for anything, even if it meant my only option was Pony Express or two tin cans and string. That finally stopped the calls.

As I told someone at the time: Every "breakup" I've had was easier and less painful than this.

Posted by: ricki at November 8, 2005 09:05 AM

They're on a script.

The most interesting ploy is to tempt them from their tedium off script.

Look for a common interest or hobby.

``Do you have a dog?'' is the line I favor. One siding saleslady I had a swell hour-long chat about Dobermans with. She was grateful for the break. though I'm sure her quota was way down ; a little pleasure now, and suffer later. She knows that now, probably.

Posted by: Ron Hardin at November 8, 2005 05:30 PM

My daughter and son worked at one of the call centers that AT&T out-sources to. Their management sounded to me like they were a)evil and b) stupid. They want the call-center employees to work for small dollars, bust their butts and claim they want to improve productivity, but when honest suggestions are made about modifying procedures to, you know, actually improve productivity, they won't consider it. Much more important to sell the customer up front, and ignore them later. And yes, it is a script, and deviations from the script are punished.

I am reminded of Lily Tomlin's old comedy bit about the telephone operator "We don't care, we don't have to" only it isn't the operators that don't care, it's the management.

Posted by: Sue D. Nimh at November 10, 2005 11:36 PM