November 29, 2013

Small Town Downside

There are plenty of negatives to living in a small town (mostly financial) to go with the positives (fewer people, more woods), but we do balance them out with the magic of vehicles.  Automobiles increase the distance we can find work, play, and things as needed or simply desired: people who tell you that anyone who is poor but owns a car "isn't really poor" is, frankly, talking out their ass because they've either never been poor or live in a major metropolis where a car isn't needed as much.

Or, of course, they get their money by telling people that the poor are actually very rich because they aren't Afghani herders.  This special subset of people are what we call assholes.  But leaving that...

I admit that I have a problem.  I recognize it, I know it's there, and I know I probably should do something about it, but I won't.  My problem is trading in my Hot Young Brit for a Classy Older Italian.  Alas, this meant when things starting going wrong (specifically seizing up in second gear) I needed to find someone for whom the words "Moto Guzzi" didn't inspire fear and dread.  That was a tough find to start with, and when the shop I had found closed after taking apart my bike - handing me back a semi-rolling chassis and a bill - it took a few years to find a backyard mechanic willing to put it back together.  All this because one thing I can't afford is a garage: I've got a roof for my bike, but a lack of walls makes an open engine unhappy.

But I found one!  He was about 100 kilometers away, but he was willing to do it and now it's done.  Huzzah!  My beloved Goose is back and running and, yes, insured just in time for November to turn to December (the bike's timing might not be the only one that's off...), but I've got a couple rides in already and hope to get a few more before the really bad weather gets here.

Unfortunately, said mechanic didn't actually tune the bike, as it needs to run in for a hundred kilometers or so after reassembly, and now I need someone else to do that.  If all else fails, I'll be popping out what tools I have and crossing my fingers.

If there's one thing doing amateur theatre can get you ready for, it's a willingness to improvise.


posted by Thursday at 12:19 pm 0 comments

November 19, 2013

Dear Communication Service Provider...

Could you please go communicate with yourself?  Even a bit?

No, I'm serious about that.  A few months ago, my Significant Other - who works nights and had asked not to be called by you - got a couple of calls from your company asking if we would mind going over our cell phone/calling plan to see if there are any better options for us available.  She rightly directed you to call me, twice, as it's actually MY plan that has her phone attached to it.

That you didn't know this is a nice bit of foreshadowing.

So I was called by the pleasant enough representative, and we went over the plans available and found that nope, we were on pretty much the best one for our use, and thanks for it!  We had been customers for a couple of years and were perfectly happy with the support provided, so it was a mildly annoying experience only because of the calls to the wrong person.  Otherwise, no problem.

Then about a week later, I got called again by another perfectly reasonable representative who apologized for calling when I mentioned having already gone through the procedure she described.  And that was that.

Until I was called a few days later.  I'm afraid I was a bit less patient this time, and asked if there was a note they could attach to our account mentioning that we had already been called twice (actually four times, but why be bitchy about it?).  Another apology, and the end of that conversation.

At this point my cheap little flip-phone broke and I had to go get a new one.  I like flip-phones because I don't use video or send pictures or surf the web or really do anything much with my phone other than use it as a phone, what with it being a business line and all.  The smaller the phone is in my pocket, the more I like it.  Unfortunately, it's not a style many people bother with, so the options were severely limited and I ended up with a device that was a visual and practical disaster.  Even worse, I live 30 kilometers from the store I got it from - your store - and run my own business, so I couldn't return it until three weeks later.

After three more phone calls asking if I'd like to go over my account information to see if I could get a better deal.

And have I mentioned the ongoing spam?  For the past year I had been trying to get your company to stop sending me texts advertising your "Who Called Now?" feature whenever I missed a call.  Apparently, that would prove to be as difficult as attaching a note to my account explaining that I had already been called that month, and please don't contact for another year: impossible.

When I could finally go to town to return the hideous little flip-phone, and was told that it was a week too late to do so.  That's the day I wandered into another service provider and got two different phones and a different network.  It cost me around $150 to break my contract with you, but it was worth it.

I'd like it if you thought about that for at least a brief moment: I happily paid you $150 to stop calling me and stop sending spam.  If you could think of it in some way other than "Woo hoo!  New marketing strategy!" that would be nice, but at this point I'm not optimistic.

Because three days after the move, I got another phone call from a pleasant young man thanking me for upgrading my phone (which I really, really hadn't) and asking if we could look over our calling plan and see if there was a better one for us...

And you call yourself a communications company?  You can call me unconvinced.

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posted by Thursday at 1:08 pm 0 comments