12.15.04

11:09 p.m.

Why I hate people

My tale begins 7 days ago, and I’ll warn you: it’s a long one.

So, I had this bright idea of switching my cell phone service from Qwest. I’ve had the same service provider and phone number for 8 years. You’d think they’d value me as a customer. However, when I tried calling them to ask for a better deal on my service ($112 a month just isn’t feasible anymore) they said that’s the best they could offer me without drastically cutting my minutes. So, I thought, “Fuck them. I can bring my number to any service provider now. I’ll just switch.”

Big mistake.

On the 8th, I decided to go with Cingular after I researched by comparing price plans and talking with co-workers and friends. (Maybe not enough it seems) Being the hermit I am, I ordered online. Since I wanted to switch my number from another service provider, it forced me to call their 1-800 number.

Ok, fine. I can deal with that.

I actually spoke with someone quite pleasant, and was pleased that I had switched from the evil empire Qwest to a more consumer friendly company, Cingular.

Cingular Rep. #1, as I’ll refer to him, said to call a certain number after two to three hours to make sure that there wouldn’t be any problems transferring the number over, and to make sure it wasn’t ‘hanging’ in cyberspace somewhere.

I did, faithfully. Cingular Rep #2 started the conversation off by saying, “Hmm. I can’t find you in the system.” That should’ve triggered alarm bells, but it didn’t and I was pleasant. Eventually, he figured it out and said everything would be fine. I should receive my phone on Monday.

Happy with myself, I anxiously awaited the arrival of my new phone.

Monday rolled around and the Fed Ex man hadn’t rang my doorbell. I figured delivery was slow due to the holidays, and I’d give them until Tuesday to deliver it.

Tuesday night, and still no phone. I decided to call ‘customer care’ and check on the status of my order. Cingular Rep #3 also noted that she couldn’t find my number in the system. *Ding, ding, ding* Alarm bells should’ve rang, but no. I proceeded to tell her the last rep had to use my social to find the number. She did, and there it was. Except, it hadn’t been processed yet. She said they were having trouble switching it over. She then proceeded to tell me that the number I wanted to switch had to be active, and this number wasn’t. Hmm, funny because I was on my cell talking to her. After 40 minutes of her trying to figure it out, she happened to say the number. Umm….it wasn’t mine. It was off by one digit.

How could two people verbally confirm the number back to me, and it still be wrong? I brushed it off, everyone makes mistakes, right? So, she tells me that she’s sorry for the mix up and that my phone will be here by Friday. Fine, whatever.

So today at 11:25am, Mr. Fed Ex rings my doorbell and drops off my new phone. Wow, less than a day – I was impressed.

I pulled it out and inspected it. Everything looked fine. I plugged it in and patiently waited for it to charge. Surprisingly, it was finished in less than an hour, and I called to activate it.

In the middle of the automated process, right after I entered my wireless number, it transfers me to customer service. Cingular Rep #4 asked for my wireless number, and surprise – couldn’t find it in the system. I told him my history and he pulled it up using my social. “Hmm…there’s a problem.” Of course there is.

“Let me transfer you to customer service.” Before I could protest, I was on hold listening to some Musak rendition of Can’t Buy Me Love (or apparently good cellular service). Cingular Rep #5 answers after about 20 minutes and asks for my wireless number. I protested and gave my social instead. He asked what I needed, and I told him I needed to activate my phone. “Hmmm…they’ve transferred you to the wrong department. Let me just switch you on over.” Click.

“Gracias por llamar Cingular. Cómo puedo ayúdele.” Or something similar. Cingular Rep #6 apparently didn’t speak English. I just hung up.

I called back, and was put back in the ever growing queue. I’m not sure how long I was on hold this time, but I did manage to make a late lunch and eat it prior to getting a human. Cingular Rep #7 answered and politely asked for my wireless number. I gave up. I just gave it to her.

“Odd.”

Yeah, I’m not in the system. Whatever, here’s my social.

“Can you hold, please?”

“Mhmm.”

Another 20 or so minutes just flies by, and she comes back on the line. Can you read me the SIM card number and the IMEI number? Sure…

“Please hold”

“I’m sorry, Ma’am. There seems to be a problem.”

“Mhmm”

“They’ve sent you the wrong SIM card. That card doesn’t work in Colorado.”

Ok, fine, whatever. What do I have to do now?

Well, I had to go to the ‘National’ Cingular store (which just so happens to be across town). I asked if they’d be able to solve all my problems, and would I finally have a fucking phone that works?

And I quote, “Yes, Ma’am. They can help you with anything. They’ll give you a new SIM card and activate it for you.”

So, I drive my ass 30 minutes to the ‘National’ store and was greeted instantaneously by Cingular Rep # 8, although we’re going to call her by her real name, Brook, because she really pissed me off. So, I told Brook my tale and as I continued, I became more and more upset. She looked as if I just fell off the crazy wagon. And, mind you, I was still being somewhat nice. I wasn’t cussing or throwing things, although I had the urge. I made it clear that I wasn’t mad at her, and I knew it wasn’t her fault. But, I was mad at the situation and I wanted her to fix it. She got on her little computer and started typing away.

“Hmm.”

She didn’t say anything, but I knew what she was looking at: nothing. Certainly not my account information, as it seemed to not exist. So, she just walked in the back, grabbed a SIM card and handed it to me, along with the activation phone number. She told me to call them and everything would be hooked up.

I refused. I told her that I wasn’t calling one more person, and if I had to I was canceling my service. And, I wanted to be compensated for their idiocy. I wanted an upgrade, free minutes, a decent apology – something – anything. She told me I had to call the number, there was no other choice. Oh, and she couldn’t help me with the problems I had, I was to call customer service and they’d upgrade the phone.

Gah! Fine, whatever. I’m calling from here. Give me the phone.

Brook looked a little pissed off, but gave me the phone anyway. I was in the middle of the sales floor, on their line, waiting. And waiting. And waiting. For about 45 minutes before anyone answered.

During this time, neither Brook, nor any of her Cingular associates asked me how things were going. Nor did they ask if I needed help. In fact, Brook went out of her way to avoid me like the plague, and it only pissed me off even more. Stupid commission paid basta…

Cingular Rep #9 seemed nice at first. He started with the obligatory “Can I have your wireless number?” I decided to play along, since I had to repeat myself a thousand times, they can too. I’ll let him figure it out on his own.

“Hmm. Can you hold please?”

“Mhmm.”

He came back quite quickly and told me I wasn’t in the system. I gave him my social and my story. I told him I was extremely upset with the service, especially from Brook, and I demanded to speak to a supervisor. Unfortunately, he was at lunch.

Fine, whatever. You fix it then. And I want compensation or I’m canceling.

He was very apologetic and said he’d have it fixed. I’ll spare you the details (even though I’ve been quite long winded so far). The gist: he put me on hold for 20 minutes, came back, asked a question, and then put me on hold for another 20 minutes. This continued for almost an hour. Finally I told him I was in the store and I was going home. He said he’d call me back. Mhmm. Sure.

I get home and immediately call customer service. I vented. Big time. Cingular Rep #10 was extremely appeasing and promised he would fix everything. The gist: on and off hold for an hour and 37 minutes. At one point in time he had me try to call and activate it with another phone, then try calling out with my phone…blah, blah, blah. At one point in time I was on three phones simultaneously with Cingular Rep #10, #11, and #12. He told me I’d have to hang up with him, turn my cell off, and try calling from another phone.

Cingular Rep #13 answered when I tried activating. We conveniently got disconnected after I told her the story.

Cingular Rep #14 is nice. I’m currently on the phone with her. My entire account was apparently deleted by Cingular Rep #13, and she had no record of me ordering, calling, anything. So, currently she’s digging through the archives and grabbing bits and pieces of my account details. So far, I’ve been promised a better phone and an extra 1000 rollover minutes, but somehow I think they’ll ‘disappear’ from my account by tomorrow.

I’ve dealt with way too many idiotic people today, but I’m afraid to cancel for fear I’ll lose my number. That number is a part of me. I need it to survive. I don’t think anyone can understand the attachment I have to that number.

Oh, and I’m crampy, bloated and bleeding, yay me.

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