You can’t anti-trust anyone anymore

Remember when AT&T was deemed a Trust and forced to divest itself of the majority of it’s local telephone companies? This was probably the early 80’s. Maybe the late 70’s. I’m missing a lot of brain cells from those years so cut a little slack.

When the government still bothered to enforce the Sherman Anti-Trust Act AT&T got nailed. If you’re with me so far we’re golden. You passed US History in high school. Too bad about the entire wasted year in geometry though. I have never used one iota of that discipline.
Told you so mom.

Anyway, it seems that AT&T has merged with SBC. Huh? Sherman Anti-Trust Huh?
You may be wondering why I give a crap.
Maybe Rachael owns stock in one of them and it’s tanking. Maybe her ex-husband (feel free to pick any one of them) worked for AT&T and she’s holding some kind of grudge. Just like a good little dark hearted Scorpio.
Or maybe she’s been offline for over a fucking week due to the bloated bureaucracy, 12 corporate headquarters and stupidity which is created when two evil twins marry.
Incest! Imbecile offspring (okay employees)! Techs in India named Mike.
It only gets more convoluted and grotesque so surely you don’t want to read another word.
You do? Goody.

Here we go:
Seems that a disconnect order was put in for my DSL line. I have SBC DSL, which is now AT&T/SBC Global DSL which in turn is on the same line, same company and same fucking billing as the telephone service here at Chez Noir.

I wake up one morning to go online. No connection. No surprise. Happens all the time. Unplug everything, wait for it to re-cycle, blah blah blah.

FYI: If you call tech support Mike or Dave or Roberta in India will tell you the same thing every time.
“Which lights are blinking? Have you been able to connect to the Internet before?”
I love that last one. You’ve already been on hold 11 minutes and pressed at least 6 phone prompts indicating that you can no LONGER access the Internet.
It’s right up there with one of the mercilessly repeated on-hold messages stating
“You can also access our tech support online at!”
Good Idea. What a time saver.
If I call again I’m waiting for the ultimate in cretinous questions….
“Do you have a computer?”

Next you’re instructed to unplug every blessed modem, router, and of course the computer. Re-start it all. See the aforementioned blah blah blah.
Stay with me here. I’m saving you the trouble of calling yourself, being kept on hold, and losing your mind in the vain attempt to understand what the hell the Mike is saying.
“Can you repeat that? I can’t understand what you’re saying” I respond after every two or three syllables.
“I am speaking English” Mike says
“No” say I. “You’re speaking something unintelligible that you BELIEVE is English, and since you’re on the other side of the world and I also have crappy AT&T/SBC phone service the connection sucks as badly as my Hindi.”
Sometimes Mike or Roberta will actually begin to argue with you about how they’re fluent English speakers. I think that’s what they’re getting pissy about anyway. It’s difficult to understand the actual words but arrogance and bad temper are universal.

The above scenario is how that morning began.
Things deteriorated rapidly as I was shuttled from India, to Virginia, to Texas to California (oh I don’t know why you were transferred to me we don’t handle Reno that’s another office. I’m really sorry you’ve been on hold for so long. Are you sobbing?)

Five hours later someone in Virginia admits that there was no disconnect order in the system ever filed by me. It was probably an employee clerical error inputting a phone number.
Shades of Brazil.
They credited me two months service for the trouble and tell me I’ll be back online in the morning.

I design websites for fun and profit. It’s my job. I work from home.
Okay I lied about the fun part.
Being offline in the midst of a client melt-down is a bad thing. Particularly when that client is a paranoid type and an obsessive controlling freak of nature.

Next day I turn on the computer. No connection.
I do not call Mike. I call the one helpful person in Virginia who foolishly revealed their direct number.

Ooops. They can’t connect me in 24 hours after all. They have to go through the billing cycle and paperwork to finish the disconnect. Then I have to speak with a friendly representative to obtain a service I have had for 5 fucking years.
Not that I’m losing it at this point.

The last person I spoke with was actually here in Reno. True story. Alert the media.
She advises on the grim prognosis… My request for new service cannot even be submitted until Friday (this was LAST Tuesday) and then it is an additional three business days.

I hope you will be reading this on Wednesday evening.
I’m damn sure my crazed client would hope so.
TK certainly hopes so. The poor guy has put up with me stopping by at errant hours to check email.
My daughter has said a rosary since she’s had no access to myspace for 10 days… and she’s Jewish.
Things only got worse on Wednesday.
No connection. Again.
More phone calls and SBC ‘forgetting’ to register the new account thereby resulting in another hour on the phone with two separate offices. Finally one of the techs realized that I couldn’t get a connection because no one there had registered the account as active.

No more anti-trust suits or enforcement leads to a nightmare for consumers. DSL and Internet access are now as commonplace in homes as telephones became 25 years ago.
The whole point of trust busting was to protect fools such as myself; give us options for service, encourage competition, lower the prices, be more responsible to their customers. You know, the fools who pay them, keep them in business and expect some kind of value for their own hard earned cash.

Whether it is with SBC, AT&T, Charter Cable or Sprint the customer service is poor, the prices continue to climb obscenely and there are no options at all. Live in Old Southwest? There’s no choice of phone company, cable company or power company. With cell phones a choice is forced upon us based on plans and phone company’s reception capability in our area.

I’ve got your lower prices, customer service, and healthy competition promoting the growth of new businesses right here babe
Maybe they fell behind the sofa cushion with my thoughts of optimism for humanity. It’s been years since I’ve seen either.

~Miss R

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