‘m in a really, really, really, really bad mood.
So what happened? You know how much I hate cell phones. We’ll, I’ve gotten to hate mine even worse – a week or so back it was unable to call out – totally cut off. Finally I had to go to the AT&T store and ask. Turns out I had to turn it off and on again. Yeah, that old IT Crowd joke. Yes, I thanked them but I was a little pissed that I had to dick around with it to make it work. My old cellphone never had these problems.
But that was the start of the terror. It got worse and worse.
Eventually I had to cycle the power every time I tried to use it. Sometimes I could just close the cover and it would lose its connection. So I figured, okay, let’s go back to the AT&T store (I’m bolding it so you don’t forget the name of the company that dicked me around) and get another humiliating answer.
So this store was manned by girls without masks, more like drooping veils. And we had to wait while customers chit-chatted with the clerks. When the counter help finally got to me, she couldn’t get our account up on our computer, she couldn’t get the phone open, and finally, when she had her manager open it (in his cave in the back of the store) she didn’t have a sim card for it. And so she gave me my phone back in pieces. She also gave me the AT&T support line, which turned out to (get this) the company’s promotion number. When I finally got support, I waited forty minutes and gave up.
Going to a different AT&T store, I ended up waiting for another twenty minutes. This clerk then gave me the AT&T warranty phone number. They would just give me a new phone. Fine. Went home and called that number. They told me to go back to the store and tell them to sim card it. Goddammit.
So back to the store I went. Another wait and then the same clerk handled me. And since the account is in my wife’s name, he’d need her identification. So I got to call her and wait for her to drive out (and, of course, the clerk quietly slipped out the back door for lunch without saying a word to his waiting customer). I was pretty smoking now, ready to got full AK-freakout on them. Finally another clerk came over, popped the phone open, popped the sim card in, and I was done. Seems like that fixed the problem.
So why am I mentioning this in a writing blog? Well, I was not sure what I was going to write today. Then this whole AT&T saga got rolling. And then I realized i could turn this crazy example of horrible customer service into a writing lesson. Here I am, storytelling what happened. And it’s therapeutic. I’m just bitching away about how bad this was, and you (my reader) are doing what millions of therapists and bartenders have done across the centuries: listening. I’m grounding my angry emotions, coming back down off my Hulk-high, dialing back. And this is the power of storytelling, that of shared experiences and sad-sack stories. Gilgamesh might have been the first epic story but I’m sure that even while that story was being typecast into clay, thousands of Sumerians looked over the clay rims of their cups of barley beer and bitched about life.
And I’ll bet it helped.
Helped me. Thanks.