First published 11/27/97
Recently I had a run in with a phone company. I won't mention their name. Let's just say they sponsor Telus Field and leave it at that.
Here's what happened: my girlfriend and I kind of forgot to pay our phone bill. And when I say kind of what I mean to say is we didn't pay our phone bill at all, for three months.
Now, at this point, some of you might be thinking: "Hey, Paul! Why should we feel any sympathy for you? If you don't pay your phone bill you deserve any kind of grief the phone company gives you!"
Well, to these people I say: Shut up! How much did the phone company pay you to turn against humanity?! Keep your mouths shut, collaborators!
Anyway, as I was saying, we didn't pay our phone bill for three months. And all this time we didn't hear a word from the phone company. If you looked really closely our phone bills had a tiny little "hey you owe us money" message stuck between blurbs pitching cutting-edge digital communication services that make your phone beep at you in new and annoying ways. But there was no big giant "hey stupid, you haven't paid your phone bill for three months" message, which is the kind of thing I would send if someone owed me money.
So we had no idea that anything was wrong until we got a call from this phone company -- again, I think it's better if I don't mention their name.
"Hello, this is Telus calling," said the guy from this unnamed phone company. "You haven't paid your phone bill in three months."
"Oh," said my girlfriend, "you didn't send us any kind of special notice." "Yes we did," said the guy. "No you didn't," said my girlfriend. "Yes we did," said the guy. It went back and forth like that for a while. Finally, my girlfriend said, "Fine, fine fine. We'll pay our phone bill!" and she hung up the phone.
Well. That was her big mistake. Never hang up on a representative of the phone company. You must treat a phone company official with the same kind of deference and respect you would give to any other king or nobleman. Because, if he wants to, the phone company guy can cut off your phone for no reason. And that's exactly what this guy did.
So, we had to run down to a phone booth and call this company -- let's call them "Telus" (short for "Tell us you're going to pay your phone bill but do it really politely or we'll cut you off anyway"). By the time they re-connected us, we had to pay them so many fines, deposits, and penalties that we ended up forking over twice as much as we originally owed.
All because my girlfriend hung up on some guy! If I got hundreds of dollars every time my girlfriend was rude to me you wouldn't be reading this column right now. I'd be living on a beach somewhere and you'd be looking at the extra phone sex ads they'd run to fill this space.
The worst thing is that the only revenge I could get was to switch my long distance service over to AT&T. Pretty crappy revenge. Telus doesn't care; one account switched over to another company doesn't make any difference to them. Oh well.
At least my girlfriend and I learned a valuable lesson. And that was this: AT&T has some amazing deals on long distance! I was really impressed! You should call them today and start saving money! Their number is 1-800-670-2266!
Again, that number was 1-800-670-2266! 1-800-670-2266! 1-800-670-2266! AT&T good! AT&T good! Telus bad! Telus bad!
And remember, AT&T's motto is: "AT&T. We're not a bunch of assholes like those pricks at Telus."
Originally published in Edmonton's See and Winnipeg's Uptown magazines.
© 1997, Paul Mather