Gary D's Take

Come On Honey…Let’s Go For A Ride!!!!!

Have you ever uttered these words to your spouse or significant other? When you say it with a certain enthusiasm and a gleam in your eye, it really makes it sound like you are going on a fun and exciting trip.
Sometimes it means, “Honey I am going to quit my nice safe corporate job and jump out on my own. I will be risking everything we have built together and I will disrupt our whole family routine. You are OK with that right?” I’ve done this twice in 16 years of marriage. We are still married. I guess this means that we have a really good marriage right? Yes it does..it also means that I have a really great wife. This is the same woman that has and still does encourage me to buy a motorcycle. One of my buddies once told me, “You mean your wife WANTS you to buy a motorcycle and you don’t have one yet!” The gigantic epiphany that I have gotten out of all this is simple….my wife wants me to be happy because she loves me that much. Now to some, this may seem like one of those DUH kind of statements but honestly do all of you guys have this kind of incontrovertible proof that your wife wants , above all else, for you to be happy and fulfilled? If you do , I hope you realize how lucky you are……if you don’t…..god bless you.

Benjamin Franklin was right!

My favorite philosopher Ben Franklin once said ” Blessed is he who expects nothing for he shall be continually surprised.” My recent experience with an AT&T service issue at my house is a good example of this. Nothing accurately sums up my expectations for customer service from AT&T. I don’t have an expectation of any at all. And like Ben, I am amazed and surprised at what I got.

The gas company has put a new line in on my road so that one of my neighbors can get service from them. While they were burying it , they also decided to modify the underground line that brings telephone and Internet to my house. They installed a 4 inch air gap where my line crosses the ditch they were working in. For those of you not familiar with an air gap, it is an absolutely fool proof method of stopping spam, Internet viruses, email, telephone calls , web pages and all forms of outside communication short of smoke signals, war drums and carrier pigeons. I called AT&T the day it happened which was a Tuesday and in normal AT&T fashion, they confirmed that there was trouble on the line (DUH) and that they would have my issue resolved by Monday at 8pm. Now a 7 day wait for restoral of my service would be intolerable but 6 days……thank you AT&T! Back in the day, when they gave you a long resolution time, Bellsouth would show up early but not AT&T, when they say 6 days they are true to their commitment.

Anyway, I caught the guys working for the gas company and informed them that they had severed my phone line. The crew supervisor informed me that all the telephone lines in my neighborhood were aerial and that wasn’t possible. I confirmed to him that all the lines were aerial..EXCEPT MINE! I showed him the spot where the cut had occurred and his locator indeed confirmed that something metal was underground there. He dug down about 8 inches and there sat my line right above his brand new gas line.He apologized for my inconvenience and said he wished there was something he could do, which there wasn’t of course. His efforts to speed up the phone company were as futile as mine, AT&T held fast to their commitment to be there Monday. As a side note, I am not done with Marshall County Gas yet. I channeled my inner phoneman and applied a temporary splice to restore service to my house and settled in to wait for AT&T.

Monday afternoon, as promised, the AT&T repairman arrived.There is something in the telephone company lexicon called referral. This is an extension of the famous “that’s not my job” method of operation that encourages employees of public utilities to “refer” things like buried cables and billing problems to the “proper” department. Which causes the duration of your problem to be lengthened as much as possible. That is what I expected to happen. I fully expected my problem to be “referred” to engineering for replacement of my drop. Engineering is even more short staffed and overbooked than repair so I was prepared for Christmas and New Year without a repair. Surprisingly, that didn’t happen! The young man who came to my house efficiently and professionally spliced my cable and even reburied it! As much as I would like to send a commendation to his supervisor and mention his name here, I won’t. You see he told me that he really was supposed to refer my problem and that he was going over the time allotted to him to fix my issue. I won’t name him or send a heartfelt and much deserved letter of thanks to AT&T because I am afraid I would get him fired! Whoo HOO! Go AT&T!

Welcome To The “We gotcha NOW” Network!

I recently changed sell phone providers. (Yes this is the first of many intentional misspellings). Here is my take on picking a wireless provider.They are all equally bad. You WILL have dropped calls, you WILL have phone issues ranging from bad equipment to dead end upgrade paths. No matter which one you pick there will be places where it  WON”T WORK. AND none of them will work worth a flip out in the boonies where I live. Over the years, I have tried everybody but Verizon. Why you ask have I not given Verizon a go? I have several friends who have used Verizon and from their experience, I have concluded that while it may work a little better for the most part they too have the same issues I described above. And since Verizon is unabashedly more expensive than everybody but AT&T, I really don’t see the point. Also I have noticed that like AT&T, Verizon doesn’t work AT ALL at my house. Which brings me to my major criteria for sell phone provider choice…..price. If everybody is equally bad, then you pick the one that gives you a better deal. I had been with T-Mobile for many years but as everyone has noticed, they have been gradually creeping up in price for years. I looked at Sprint and found I could reduce my bill by $50 dollars a month. My daughter wanted a new phone and so I switched. So far so much the same ole stuff but at 50 bucks a month less so I am good.

Interestingly enough, recently I had a major disruption of phone and Internet at my house caused by the air-gap created when the gas company decided to run their new line right through the underground cable that brings AT&T to my house. ( I am working now off a self installed temp service because AT&T has assured me that they will have my problem resolved no later than Monday at 5pm….the cable was cut the previous Tuesday by the way) Before installing the temp fix , I contemplated using the tether on my Android phone to get “a little Internet” little because as I previously mentioned, nobody works well at my house. I couldn’t seem to make it work so I called tech support where I was told they “don’t support” tethering. They were kind enough to offer their “mobile hot spot feature” which would turn my phone into a slow oversubscribed wifi hot spot that would support several devices at a crawl at my house for” just 29.99 a month”. I naturally declined. I have since read posts all over the Internet about the terrible wrong that Sprint has perpetrated on all their customers by stopping free unlimited tethering. GIVE ME A BREAK! Here is my take on it, Sprint…I am OK with you trying to exploit a perceived revenue opportunity as long as you are OK with me… not buying it, waiting for someone to come up with a clever way to get around it (and they will) and making fun of you for doing it.  That’s the American way! I was actually very amused as the Sprint tech support rep and I chuckled together about the “wonderful feature” and the 30 dollar price tag. Her reaction kind of leads me to believe that they aren’t getting many takers? Like Mama used to say, “You might as well laugh” right? Did I have the impression that I would be able to do this when I signed up? Yes. Will I forgo thirty dollars of the fifty I am saving to have it? NO. Am I outraged because Sprint has disenfranchised me from my God given right to tether? Of course not. Will I go back to another carrier because of it? No of course I won’t. This is a business transaction and all they owe me is a reasonable attempt to provide the base service I signed up for…period. Sell phone, Internet and cable TV are not like life liberty and the pursuit of happiness…they are not inalienable rights handed down to us by God. Just like my situation with my buried telephone cable….am I happy that AT&T will take 6 days to come look at my issue and tell me they will take another week to fix it…no I’m not but this is a business transaction so my other option is to take my business elsewhere or live with it… I am not going to be indignant and whine that they have violated my constitutional rights or something equally stupid. So Sprint……although you may think you’ve “got me now”….that will only happen if I let you.