I’m not a detail-oriented person. I’m a big picture kind of gal, a broad-brush person if you will. I’ve always secretly envied women who arrived at places completely pulled together from head to toe or the Martha Stewart-like women who have lovely hand towels placed just so in the bathroom instead of a damp, two-day old bath towel dropped in the middle of the bathroom floor. I never learned the fine art of accessorizing or even clothes shopping for that matter. I have a closet full of clothes that have been given to me over the years (mostly by my Mom) and a jewelry box full of various baubbles that I never wear. I have absolutely no idea how to pull it all together.
No, paying attention to details is not my strength. Especially when it comes to paying bills, which, I can tell you from experience, is, to coin my good friend Martha, most certainly not a good thing.
It may be time to turn over a new leaf.
Opening my bill from AT&T may have been all I needed to see the error in my ways. It seems that my good friends at AT&T took it upon themselves to combine my bills into one. Arriving in a big, white, 10 by 12 envelope, was a bill that included my home phone, my internet service, our new satellite TV service and wireless service for three phone lines.
It was bad enough that I had specifically asked them not to combine my bill. What really got my goat was that the three phone lines I was being charged $178 for were not even mine! And so, taking a deep breath, I called the customer service number listed on the bill.
I was now entering "The Twilight Zone.”
After navigating my way through the voicemail system that was designed so that they can “best assist me,” I was connected to a guy named Craig who empathized with my situation but couldn’t resolve it. “You need to speak to our combined billing department,” he offered. “They’re not open tonight. You’ll have to call tomorrow. I’m “annotating” your account so they will understand what we’ve talked about.”
Armed with the number from Craig, I vowed to call first thing in the morning.
Coffee in hand, I dialed the number. “Thank you for calling AT&T,” said the voice on the other end of the phone. “I’m Tania. How can I offer you excellent service today?”
You have to be kidding me.
“Hi Tania,” I began as I lay out the situation to her.
“You’re going to have to speak to our combined billing department. Just one moment and I’ll connect you.”
Wasn’t this supposed to be combined billing?
“Thank you for calling AT&T,” the new voice began, “I’m Cynthia. How may I offer you excellent service today?”
Well at least they’re consistent.
Tania talked to Cynthia while I waited on the line. (I’ll have my people call your people….)
“Where are you calling from?” Cynthia asked Tania (as if I didn’t know.)
“California,” Tania replied.
Wrong answer. Cynthia could only help people in Connecticut. However, she would be pleased to give Tania the correct phone number for California.
“Thank you for calling AT&T, this is Greg,” he started. Tania mercifully cut him off before he could make the excellent service offer.
Satisfied I had finally been connected to the right person, my agent took her leave. After a somewhat confusing conversation with Greg while he typed diligently onto his computer keyboard, he promised to resolve my situation… by the 16th of January.
“OK,” I said, somewhat hesitantly having now spent 45 minutes trying to resolve this issue. “I would have preferred to resolve it today.”
“Before I let you go,” he continued, “Would you be interested in combined billing?”
Where is Rod Serling when you need him?