Monthly Archives: January 2011

T-Mobile Math Escapes Me

Dear Tmobile,

Back in 1996, when you were still a small cell phone provider called Powertel, I contracted with you for cell phone service. The phone itself was roughly the size of a hockey stick.  Well, I figured, at least it wasn’t a bag-phone.    We’ve been together through all of your changes, including the short lived lived Voicestream.  Since I was out of contract, even though your coverage wasn’t the best I stayed with you.  I even stayed with you when you stopped giving me a free phone upgrade every few years.  I was content to buy my own phone.  I’ve been with you for 14 yrs, and have never missed a single payment, or been even a minute late.
Recently, I added two lines for my children.  I payed to upgrade my phone.  What I didn’t do, however, was change accounts or account numbers.  When my bill arrived, I payed it, just like I have been doing for over a decade.  Imagine my shock when I went to use my phone in the middle of a snowstorm, and you had suspended my service!  Surely, I thought, this must be a mistake.  I verified payment was made by my bank, then contacted you.  Apparently, when I added these two lines, YOU GUYS ASSIGNED A NEW ACCOUNT NUMBER.  So, my payment was incorrectly credited.  I had a nice live chat with Shawn R., who was very sorry that he could not get my phone activated until I paid a small balance owed.  (Apparently, you credited the new account with the payment, minus what I owed for final costs of the old account.)   So, with members of my family out on the road, you turned off our service.  Just like that.  I guess you feel that we can’t pony up the 200.00 per line cancellation fee.  Rest assured I will be sending you 800 dollars and whatever final costs I owe.  It will be the best money I ever spent.

Your ridiculous billing has always been an irritation, and the fact that I am charged for texts i don’t want.  I never texted a soul until this year, but every month, like clockwork, I always owed something for receiving texts from people who assumed I had texting service.  I really won’t miss having to verify my account information 9 times when I call customer service.  I won’t miss the frustration I feel when i realize that your various departments cannot or do not share info, so that I have to start from scratch each time I run the gauntlet of your customer “service”.  I’m sure your actuaries have determined that the 200 per line fee covers your costs so you don’t take a hit from cancellations….but i have to wonder, at 168.00 a month, how much do you really stand to lose?  In 24 months, you will have taken in $4,032.00 from me.  So, I have to ask, why don’t you want my $3200.00?  That”s what was on the table.  800 dollars versus 3200 dollars, coming from a proven reliable long term customer, with impeccable credit.

Today, I’m headed down to Walmart, I’m going to purchase some phones, and still save almost 45 a month for the same service.  Viva StraightTalk!


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Where I Came Out

It feels like it’s too soon to write about the the assassination and murders that occurred in Tucson.  I was careful not to let my emotions dictate what I would ultimately choose to write about it, and I waited for the shock and outrage to at least subside a little (I hope it never completely goes away) before I placed my fingers on the keyboard.  I could have written quite a tome on the stupidity, insensitivity, and possible liability of that loathsome woman from Alaska, but I elected not to do so.  I could have raged away at our ridiculous gun laws that don’t keep the mentally deranged from obtaining a firearm, (especially one with a 30 round magazine) but even that didn’t seem particularly cathartic.  I wanted to call out some people who I feel are accomplices…those disembodied messengers of hate that are given fat contracts to keep us in a constant state of rage at some thing or someone, but I’ve become convinced that even the act of typing their names in my obscure blog gives them power over me, and I do not grant them that.

So, for now, I choose to rejoice, because I am still able to feel and experience empathy for both the victims, and, yes, the perpetrator of this crime.  I am happy and grateful that I am able to hold two conflicting ideas in my mind simultaneously.  I am delighted that I do not have a default position that prohibits me from true reflection or due consideration of the issues at hand.

In response,  I am prepared to willingly interact with every being I encounter, without prejudice, until I have determined that further contact would be harmful in some way.  I am resolved to acknowledge strangers, and communicate to them that I am open to approach and not a threat. (Though, this seems to be a source of amusement to a few of my friends, all the more reason to continue, I suppose).

It may seem counter-intuitive, but I believe that the best way to honor the people who lost their lives last weekend is to find even more reasons to not be fearful of the world or of it’s inhabitants.  It is decidedly difficult to embrace murder.  The thoughts of a bright and happy nine yr old girl lying dead on a cold tile floor and grace about it are not easy to reconcile.   I imagine that upon learning of it, Jesus wept.  All I know for sure is that there must be reward in the act of weeping.  The split second we put ourselves in her mother’s or father’s place, and feel what they felt, tells us we are still connected to something real, something bigger and better than our petty differences.

That has to be not just acknowledged, but celebrated.  I think any victory over fear is hard-fought and deserving of celebration.  Like most people, I won’t win every day, and perhaps not even most of the time, but I take some comfort knowing what it is I am battling, and maybe more precisely, what I am NOT.


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