March 25, 2002
Things I hate about moving

There are many things I hate about moving. Near the top of this long list is dealing with phone and utility companies. Today I spoke to my local telco about switching service. I had no trouble getting through to an actual human, and he was quite helpful for the most part. The problem is that one cannot ever deal with the phone company without having them try to sell you a bunch of useless crap that you'll never use and barely comprehend in the first damn place.

Case in point: We've taken care of the basics, and now my guy launches into his spiel about the two different options for local calling. Option One is where you get a limited amount of local calls for a fixed fee, then you pay a per-call charge. This option, my rep solemnly intoned, is Not What He Would Recommend. Option Two is the Full Package, which includes unlimited local calls, call waiting, caller ID, caller ID for call waiting, phone repair insurance, moon roof, whitewall tires, and a year's supply of Rice-a-Roni (the San Francisco Treat).

"Well," I say naively, "I have most of these things already. What I want at the new house is exactly what I've got at this house. Can you do that?"

"Okay," Phone Rep says brightly. "That's Option Two. Your monthly bill with that service is $84.95..."

"WHAT??? My current phone bill is nowhere near that expensive. What is all that crap?"

"Well, it's caller ID, call waiting..."

"Yes, yes, yes, I got all that. What I want is what I've got now. Give me exactly what I've got now."

We get that straightened out. As far as I could tell, the only difference between his Option Two and my Status Quo was that I do not currently have phone repair insurance. There was some gibberish about CallNotes as well, but I couldn't tell if it was a subscription to CallNotes or "access to" CallNotes, whatever the hell that means. Not that I care, since I have a perfectly good answering machine and a phone bill that's a lot cheaper than Option Two.

At this point, I thought I was in the home stretch, but I had one more hurdle to clear. Phone Rep had a sales script for some whizbangy feature-rich phones that supported all of the features I subscribe to and which were on sale at really amazingly mind-bogglingly stupendously how-can-you-not-succumb-to-my-siren-call low prices. I tried to interrupt as soon as I realized that this was a sales pitch to say that we have all the phones we need thankyouverymuch, but Phone Rep was undeterred. He got right back on track and by god he finished his sales pitch. Having to listen to this and decline as politely and firmly as I could made me a bit late for a team meeting, which is the very definition of a mixed blessing.

So local phone service is in place. Now I have to deal with electricity (which means switching companies), gas, water, cable, installing DSL...

Posted by Charles Kuffner on March 25, 2002 to See, I do have a life!