Because of various situations that have arisen in my financial world I found it necessary to stop by my credit union's office on the way up to lunch to deposit some cash in my checking account. While I was up in that area I figured that I would kill two birds with one stone. You see, my credit union is only a hop, skip and a jump away from my local cable office. Since I needed to pay my bill and notify them that I'd be canceling my service shortly I thought it would be a good use of my time to visit them once I completed my banking.
Once everything was ironed out with my checking account I drove down the street and pulled into the AT&T office. It looked like the place was deserted at 12:30 on Saturday, but the hours posted on the door assured me that they were, in fact, open so I wandered in. I presented my cable statement to the man behind the counter, got a confirmation of my balance and paid it off with a check. When that was taken care of I told him that I'd also like to give them notice of my intent to cancel service, since I was moving out of my apartment. "When would you like to disconnect?" I was asked. I told him that two weeks from now, on November 16th, would be just fine since I was moving out a little bit before that. "Oh, I'm sorry sir," said the talking head behind the glass. "We can't accept disconnect orders any earlier than a week in advance. Call us back next week to put in your order for service termination."
My first thought was, You've got to be shitting me. No company could be quite this obtuse, could they?
Then I remembered who I was dealing with. It's AT&T Broadband. Ma Bell working with coax instead of phone wire. You unlock this door with the key of a monthly statement. Beyond it is another dimension. A dimension of illogic. A dimension of bad reception. A dimension of unreason. You're moving into a land of both misery and frustration with bad customer service. You've crossed over into the AT&T Zone.
I managed to maintain a level attitude with this guy, despite the fact I was running late for lunch, I was hungry and I knew that Roho and Kestral were wondering where the devil I was. In as calm a voice as I could manage I asked him if he knew just how foolish that sounded. I'm giving them two weeks notice, but they can't accept it, so I have to contact them next week? Oh, it's only because of a limitation of the system, is it? How about you try punching a disconnect date of 11/16 into your system, and see what it does about it. It accepted it? Well, that's jolly good then! What do you mean you won't let it process? No, that's not acceptable. I'm giving you two weeks notice and I'm not calling back next week because you need to play some little power trip. Let it be noted that at this point I had begun to gesticulate wildly, mostly at the calendar, at my watch and at his PC although I'm fairly certain I made the motion of throttling somebody at some point because his eyes got very large. I must have done something right because after another minute or so of this he asked if I would be in my apartment on the day of the disconnect. No, I'm moving out. I won't be in my apartment on the day of the disconnect. Well, it seems AT&T really wanted me to be there. Why? Why do you need me to be in the apartment? You guys don't need me in the apartment to disconnect my service if I forget to pay for a month. I'm moving out. I will not be there. Just send somebody out to unhook the wire, send me my final bill and call it good!
I'm not sure why it is that I felt as if I was dealing with the duct repair people from Brazil, but that's exactly how my brain tried to classify it.
Eventually the guy at the reception desk broke down, entered my disconnection date into the computer, cashed my check and bid me a good day. I think he mostly just wanted me out of the office so he could stop thinking in a logical manner, but it was still a victory for me none the less. I hit the highway running, made it up to Roho & Kestral's in a reasonable amount of time. We stopped at CDW on our way to bd's, got Kestral a new power supply, and then hit our favorite weekend lunch venue with a vengence. It's funny, a lot of the people who work there are starting to recognize us as "regulars." One of the guys who works the grill -- a fellow named "Joe" with massive sideburns -- has really started to interact with us when we come through. He chats, tells a couple jokes and in general makes sure that our food is being taken care of. It's the little things like this that make the dining experience there that much more fun, never mind the ribbing I take when I season my food to taste and end up sweating buckets into my hat. :)
After lunch we drove back to the apartment, worked on Kestral's computer for a bit and then played some more Grand Theft Auto 3. I'm rather fond of this game, if only because I appreciate how utterly non-correct it is. You shoot people. You score with hookers in your car. You steal ambulances and run people down. You work for mob bosses. It's all great fun and a nifty stress relief after a week in the button-down corporate world.
At around 6:00 PM I bid cheetah and fennec a good evening, jumped in my truck and drove down the street to a nearby hair cut place. I was amazed at the size of it as well as the number of people who appeared to be ahead of me in line. The receptionist assured me that those folks were waiting on other people and that I'd be next, as well as informing me my wait should only be around ten minutes. Miracle of miracles, she was right. The haircut didn't take long, either! It was over so fast I forgot to time it, but I think it was between 10 and 15 minutes to get trimmed and shorn to the point that I look reasonable again. I'm impressed -- fast, professional work all for $12? I'm coming back there again. I had never been in there before but the lady who cut my hair was able to give me exactly what I was looking for just by asking a few questions. She never hesitated, never had a problem, didn't need to cover up any mistakes. That, my friends, is what I call service.
Today I shall pack some more for my move, and mull my various dinner options. I'm very tight on cash right now, so I might just make some spaghetti or something else that is cheap and simple.
Or I might procrastinate by installing Sun's professional compiler on my server and trying to get things to compile in 64-bit mode. Time will tell.
But if Hollywood don't need you
Honey I still do