Thursday, October 23, 2008


*From my 2006 archives, but as true stories go, it's still a keeper*

Anyone who's moved and had to schedule the various and sundry changeover of services (phone, cable, etc), has most likely had at least one untoward experience with it in their life. Anyone who's spent the better part of a day awaiting scheduled services with a company that "will get there" and doesn't, can identify at least somewhat with what follows.

In the spring of '00, I moved to my current location. With plenty of moves in my life, I am a faux pro at it, but one thing I excel at -- besides being a wiseass and flatulent -- is organizing services and having my ducks lined up in advance of a move. I was particularly ready on this one.

Or so I believed, up to the day before what would transpire over the next several days. This is a true story, absolutely lacking in embellishments. I couldn't of made this up if I'd tried.

The phone company Qwest -- formerly US West -- wishes I'd forget it.

Moving is as easy or as hard as one wants to make it. Pre-planning goes a long way toward making it easier, even if you're doing the bulk of the moving yourself (as I was). So on the same day that I'd signed my new lease -- three weeks in advance of 'M Day' -- I made all the requisite calls for utilities, cable, and telephone service. All was arranged to go into effect on the morning of Moving Day. It all seemed so easy.


On Moving Day, my discovery that gravity wasn't as kind now as it had been as early as my mid 30s, was prodigious, what with three flights of stairs between me and where "The Pile" was steadily growing. But eh...between O2 and dry heaves, I was content: all was in order.


During a mandatory breathing break (to avoid hyperventilating), I checked my phone, with my scheduled first telephone number from US West: deader than an Andrew Dice Clay sitcom. After the carload was dispensed with and another collected and delivered, I checked again. Nada.

I stopped over at the management office to reconnect with civilization and find out, in essence, "WTF?". I learned from the bored-sounding USW representative that the number I'd been assigned already belonged to someone else. I got a cheesy apology, a 2nd new number, and a promise that my service would be on by 7pm that day. That night, I gave them an extra half-hour for good behavior, and checked the phone: dead.


The next morning, I again ventured out to civilization and spoke with USW: this time, with customer support in Omaha, NE. They told me that the second number I'd been assigned belonged to someone else, so they had already assigned me a third new number which they couldn't communicate to me because my phone was dead. After which they discovered that...*TOING*....the third number belonged to someone else. So they assigned me a fourth new number, but....because it was the weekend, they couldn't get my phone service turned on until the next Monday, since this was Omaha (it could have been the beach, for all the good it was doing me). I reluctantly accepted no phone service for the weekend, and let it go at that.

Then came Monday: no phone. I call and this time get a phone service center in Montana. There I am informed that the fourth new number I was assigned belonged to someone else. I -- with rapidly-thinning patience -- asked the account rep(tile) to review my account, and he rather flippantly noted that my situation was "a bit unusual". But he assured me that the fifth number he was now telling me would be mine, all mine, and active on Tuesday morning by 8am.

He just didn't say for what time zone.

Came 8am on Tuesday....dead phone. Nearly dead patience. Same with 9am. Same with 10am. I was hamstrung, awaiting the cable guy (with my luck, it'd be Larry), and hoping they wouldn't call first to confirm because they still had the first f***ing number USW had given me.

Then a sign that perhaps the Apocalypse was on the horizon: at about 11:30am (which I guess is 8am somewhere, to USW), my phone had a dial tone. IT'S A MIRACLE! Happy to have rejoined civilization, caution still urged me to verify my number by calling a sibling, giving her the number, and asking her to call me back. 10 minutes later, I called again, and she informed me that the number I gave her -- my fifth new number from USW, belonged to someone else! Lucky for me, she took my second call from her Caller ID phone, and gave me my sixth new and final phone number.

Deluded consumer, cave in.

A couple hours later, with working cable, I saw a US West advertisement come taunting me across the screen, with the closing mantra, "Life's better here". Incredulous as I was at the arrogant audacity of the statement, I wasn't about to call and ask USW/Qwest just where the hell "here" was.

After all, I didn't want my sixth new number to suddenly "belong to someone else". My reaction would have only fueled faux global warming...


Blogger Karen said...

Ah, the joys of Qwest! I wonder if they'd like to link to you, for a great customer review ;-)

18 May, 2006 04:09  
Blogger Monica said...

HEY, are you avoiding me like the plague? I see you on IM and you just up and leave...geez, I got stood I EVER telling Seymour about THAT!

18 May, 2006 12:18  
Blogger Miss Cellania said...

If you took all the horror stories about The Phone Company and put them all together and made the execs and all the workers read it... it still wouldn't make a bit of difference, because they are The Phone Company. They don't have to care!

18 May, 2006 17:52  
Blogger Miss Cellania said...

PS I think Monica's mad at you.

18 May, 2006 17:52  
Blogger Skunkfeathers said...

MC: naw, she ain't. Especially not since she hoid the news about Seymour and Jane...

19 May, 2006 11:44  
Blogger Debbie said...

Wow, after the second or third time, I would have told them to drop dead and gone with another company (assuming you have a choice of another company).

You are a saint.

Debbie Hamilton
Right Truth

23 October, 2008 09:39  
Blogger Two Dogs said...

Why do you think that I pay three times as much for my phone service rather than try to switch?

23 October, 2008 20:55  

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