On corporate inconsideration

On corporate inconsideration

As previously promised, here’s another one of my favorite passages from the impending The Curmudgeon: Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Pandemic. They never did text or popup me again, but we have moved onto Xfinity, a company smart enough to send their promotions via email only. They’re also a lot less expensive than Verizon was.

Since we’re talking, though it was a bit chilly Sunday evening, particularly right there on the lakefront, the Rolling Stones were great! Thus, my Thursday columnar plan is to write a full-blown review of said concert. And you thought getting the day off was the pinnacle of pleasant possibilities.

Without further ado, here’s the passage:


This story involves a business I’ve come to loathe, Verizon, a company that merrily insisted on signing us up for cloud storage that we didn’t want, need, or ask for. I already have more than 256 gigs of unused storage space on my phone, and considering how hackers always seem to be a step ahead of the best corporate efforts, I don’t trust “the cloud,” and I never will. If God intended us to ship data into the ether She wouldn’t have given us flash drives.

I briefly toyed with the notion of calling Verizon to say “thanks, but no thanks,” but then I remembered that endeavor would entail sitting on hold for at least two hours just to talk to a customer service rep, a terrifying proposition in and of itself. So, I swiftly disavowed myself of that possibility while chuckling aloud over my brief bout of insanity.

But then, just like an insecure middle school girl, Verizon started stalking me with all manner of texts and popups begging me to stay friends. And they always seemed to arrive just in time to obscure the screen as I was making a call, placing a sports bet, or using the calculator.

They were so flipping annoying that I seriously considered calling customer service one more time, but I was further deterred by the thought of having to deal with their auto-attendant whose sole purpose is to convince you that you’re not worth a second of Verizon’s time.

But because we’re dealing with a form of corporate groupthink that’s impervious to any rational thought, just like Alex Forrest in “Fatal Attraction,” Verizon issued their unamusing version of “You’re not going to ignore me, Jeff!” via a 3:20 a.m. text, a time they knew they’d have my full and undivided attention.

All I can say is, why can’t Lucy Liu pursue me with that kind of alacrity? Of course, I’d reject her initial advances to preserve my reputation, but then I’d likely let her have her way with me. But I digress.

I wasn’t in a great mood to begin that with that evening because, after a week without his vacationing father, Teddy (his cat) decided to express his dismay by launching into a series of ten p.m. to three a.m. feline bouts of Memory. And that song is bad enough as it is. Fed up with his persistent yowling, I got up at 3 a.m. to pet him, which actually assuaged his fatherly yearnings, but when my cellphone lit up with that Verizon text shortly thereafter it set Teddy off all over again.

Jeff! Why don’t you just turn off your damn cellphone at night?

I would, but I can’t because, not only am I the medical power of attorney for my 86-year-old father-in-law, but the aforementioned son works the night shift and I’m his emergency contact. You may recall the time he called me at 3:30 a.m. to let me know he’d forgotten his house key when all he had to do was come in via the garage keypad.

I certainly haven’t forgotten.

And this on-call dynamic falls to me because life would quickly lose all meaning if my wife is forced to wake up after midnight. So, I discharged an otherworldly groan, rolled over, and grabbed the phone from the headboard only to read, “We’ve deleted your Verizon Cloud account. If you change your mind, you have 30 days to reactivate it and access your content.”

This, of course, begs the question: if a perfect murder were possible, where would one find a Verizon rep at 3:30 in the morning?

Convinced this pursuit would continue, I resigned myself to calling them later that morning only to discover they believe in sleeping in. A major telecommunications company that doesn’t open until 9 a.m. Eastern Standard Time? Must be nice.

After they’d mercilessly stalked and harassed me for the better part of three weeks, now that I want to talk to them, they just can’t bear the thought. How do I know this? Because their insipid auto-attendant stopped just short of threatening me with a restraining order if I insisted upon speaking with someone.

The female digital voice insisted that I could avail myself of their automated system, “which can solve most problems,” or I could download their app and engage in yet more pointless activities.

If you manage to persist past that point, the artificial lady deigns to come back on, and in a rare case of an AI clearly showing some emotion, she derisively sneers, “All right! I’ll fuckin’ get someone on the phone.”

Well, it may not have been quite that bad, but the expletive was clearly implied. I was a bit shocked that whoever crafted that message wasn’t aware of the tonal implications.

After another fun filled five-minute hold, a cheery young woman picked up and I explained that, while I knew she wasn’t responsible for the early morning text, since the CEO won’t take my calls, I had no choice but to bitch to her.

And that’s exactly what I proceeded to do for the next ten minutes.

I inquired as to why any competent company would ever consider sending a customer a text at 3 a.m. After a protracted silence she finally said, “But it’s automatic!” To which I responded, “Then automatically send it at a more reasonable hour, or better yet, don’t sign me up for shit I don’t want and never asked for in the first place.

To her credit, she did remove my name from any further texting, popup, or promotional possibilities, but I’ll believe that one when I don’t see it.

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