January 12, 2007
MarkBernstein.org
 
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Tomlinesque

Lilly Tomlin used to do skit about the phone company, back before the breakup. "We don’t care. We don’t have to. We’re the phone company.”

Our DSL goes out, periodically. Restarting the modem usually fixes the problem. Sometimes, you need to do that twice. Sometimes, you have to wait ten minutes and recite Matthew Arnold poetry to the modem. Sometimes, it gets better.

Yesterday it was bad in the morning; usually, it gets tired in the afternoon. I thought it was better this morning, but it wasn’t. So I called....the phone company.

You know how this goes.

But in the end, here I am with a DSL supervisor and a repair dispatcher on the same line, and the repair dispatcher droned this dreary monotone repetition that they can’t do anything until it happens again. And maybe its our router. Or our computers are 'broken'. And everything in a whiny, bored, finger-pointing monotone.

It was so bad the supervisor disconnected her and apologized to me.

But you know, the breakup was in 1982. I'm talking to one of the Baby Bells, 25 years later. You could work there an entire career and never have known one day when you didn’t have to care because you were the phone company.

To avoid a $100 service call, Verizon is practically begging me to go down the street to CableVision. It must cost them much more than $100 to get a customer; it costs them a lot more than $100 to get on old customer.