I did not enter the Smart Phone era until about a year and a half ago.
A multi-tasking device providing me just a handful more options and services than… …what I grew up with…requiring you to coordinate fingers (or pencils) into appropriate circles and turn the wheel of fortune from one side to another…one digit at a time.
However, the Smart Phone went Dumb earlier this week. Mysteriously, the Internet access I enjoyed since my upgrade from the Dark Ages of Communication was non-existent. The explanation from the good folks at AT & T was “it’s the network towers nearby” and “you’ll be okay shortly.”
Indeed…albeit 36 hours later…connection restored.
This reminded me of another connection incident a few years ago…with a land line connection. Nothing as complex and mysterious as the Smart/Dumb Phone…right?
Imagine waking up one morning finding out the phone number you have used for three years is no longer yours.
Further, the company who issued you said phone number and has been accepting your monthly payments all along now thinks who has the rights to the number lives in Kentucky…when you’ve never set foot in Kentucky…and in fact have resided in Pennsylvania the entire time you’ve had the phone number…they gave you.
The real-life “Twilight Zone” began with the sound of silence…no dial tone…and ended after approximately two full hours of combined phone conversations over a three-day period with both my wife and I taking turns convincing Verizon we really, really had been their customers all along.
We dealt with six different human beings, eight various automated attendants…and the true irony was we could barely HEAR any of them. Even the “on hold music” was hardly audible. Not that it mattered what we heard as we were doing most of the talking – loudly.
Fortunately, our possession of the facts eventually seeped through the thick walls of corporate communication America and we convinced Verizon we never moved to Kentucky or changed our names. They convinced us all those prior payments were actually credited to our account. If we hadn’t paid…they might have shut our phone off.
Oh wait…THEY DID ANYWAY.
The explanation we were given for having our phone number taken was someone installing FIOS (Verizon’s fiber-optic super-speedy cable) at a location in Kentucky made a typo at their switching station, which somehow created the domino effect of essentially wiping us off the face of their Earth.
But the icing on the cake of this experience was the resolution…picking up my not-yet Smart Phone at work to find out I was getting a call from home. Since no one was at home at the time, you can imagine what went through my mind seeing a call was coming from…home. (insert any horror movie moment you like here…”oh my God, they’re calling from inside the house!”)
Turned out to be a local Verizon serviceman dispatched to the residence to ensure service was restored from an actual on-site inspection.
Communication is great…except when you can’t make a connection.