Friday, May 11, 2007

More or Less

Some companies think their customers, or potential customers, are completely clueless. If you believe otherwise, consider the following story, and, remember, just about anyone you or I know could rattle off at least one similar example.

I switched from dial-up to DSL two years ago and the contract price has been reasonable, based on local and long distance service with the company. My DSL contract will expire in two weeks, so I called the phone company today and asked what deals they have available in this area.

I can renew for one year for $10 more per month. Or I can renew for a mere $5 more per month – if I bundle my local and long distance phone service with an additional $16 worth of features. This option appears to be “more or less” confusing.

Finances are squeaky tight. I was thinking more along the lines of, at most, a $5 a month increase. I don’t need or want additional services or charges.

I know I can’t afford cable, but I called the local cable company’s toll free number anyway.

The man spoke solemnly, telling me Internet without TV cable service would cost $10 more per month and there would be no discounts or specials. Of course, if a customer should order cable TV, there would be an automatic $10 discount.

He asked for my complete address and then announced, “I have no service there.”

“I know you have no service here,” I replied. “Do you mean you don’t have any service at this address or you can’t give me service at this address?”

“I can’t give you service at that address. I see several other homes are listed on your street, but they are all marked ‘not serviceable.’ But we might have service there soon. I see we are building in that area.”

I hung up without telling him I know otherwise. The county, or at least much of it, has Internet cable. This small city has Internet cable. I send messages to several local cable email addresses. One of them is a block and a half away. My next door neighbor used to have cable Internet. Also, the TV reception in this area is poor and I am one of the few diehards who do not have cable TV service.

After talking with a representative of both companies, I realize that two weeks from today, my Internet days might end. On the other hand, they might not. God has opened doors before and hopefully he will again.

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