One of the horrors of being a snowbird is changing phone, internet, newspapers, television cable, etc., every few months. Thus far, in over a dozen years, no one has ever gotten any of these changes right. To illustrate: I was on the phone for nearly two hours the other day changing our phone, TV, and cell phone service. We had placed our Salt Lake phone on suspension which was supposed to leave it so people could call in and out last October. We discovered that the phone company had totally disconnected the line instead, charging us for nine months for the service that they cheerfully terminated. After two hours of delightful messages such as: Your call is very important to us. Please stay on the line and a customer service representative will be with you shortly. We appreciate your patience. We are experiencing a heavy volume of calls now and your waiting time is expected to be less than 15 minutes.
So after finally getting connected with a real person, it turned out I had the wrong real person and was given another number. I call the other number and wait another 20 minutes listening to how important my call is, etc., etc., etc. Eventually we get the phone business straightened out. We think. We hope. We have never had the change work out correctly yet, so we are uncertain. Then we went to work on the TV. Another round of waits, reassurances about how many customers are all trying to call them at once and how they have no idea how to handle a heavy volume of calls except one by one and I should sit and twiddle my thumbs and wait another half hour for the privilege of spending my money on their wonderful service.
Then I need to get my internet modem fixed. An hour of being on the phone and getting bounced among three numbers and then a tech guy was scheduled to come this morning. He never showed. But he did come this afternoon while we were gone. So I called the number the tech guy left on the door to reschedule. I was informed that they didn't reschedule at this number and transferred me to another number where they had another heavy volume of calls and a wait, to be informed that they didn't schedule tech stuff either, and to call the other number back again, which I did, and, lo and behold, miraculously, they Could schedule tech support after all. Whoopee!
So then we tackled the newspapers. The local newspaper circulation is apparently handled somewhere in Iceland or somewhere and we got the local paper stopped. USA Today has always been a pain. They never seem to know how to handle circulation. We got bounced to a circulation office in Fort Collins, who bounced us back to St. George, where, miraculously, what do you know, they discovered they Could actually handle termination of the St. George delivery and start us in Salt Lake again if we ever get there. Then, about once a month, we get a phone call from USA Today telling us that their records show we canceled our paper and would we like to start it up again.
Then there is the Post Office. We have had better luck with the Post Office the past couple of years. About three years ago, our mail didn't show up for three months after we changed our address and we discovered that the USPS had never thrown away the old card and substituted the new address.
I have this message implanted in my brain: Your call is absolutely, terribly, incredibly important to us. We know you won't mind waiting for a half hour listening to raucous commercials and terrible music for the privilege of talking to one of our wonderful representatives where you have a 35% chance of someone getting things right, and you may not have to make more than another half dozen calls to get things straightened out.
The solution: cancel all newspapers, all television, all U.S. mail, all telephones, all cell phones. But meanwhile we will see how many errors get made by another round of careless customer representatives who have been so anxious to talk to us. If only people could be retrained to recheck everything and proofread numbers, addresses, and procedures! Can this processs really be that hard? Apparently it is that hard and even more difficult than some percentage of the armies of customer representatives are prepared to handle. Have a nice day.