Saturday, May 19, 2012

The Phone

I am not a phone person. I don't like talking on the phone - never have and don't think I ever will. The longest phone calls I have are with my mom and my sister and I tend to keep others shorter to make up for the time I'm on the phone with them. There are times when people call and I just look at the phone and think, "there's no way I can pick that thing up and talk to anyone right now." So to be stuck on the phone for hours is a nightmare I'd just as soon avoid. Yesterday, unfortunately, was a time that couldn't be avoided nor ignored any longer.

With Nate working, I decided that I should call all of the utilities in Michigan to get them disconnected and also call all of them in Connecticut to get them hooked up. I began at 8 am. My first call was to Comcast. We had heard that it was possible to transfer your service so you wouldn't need to disconnect one and connect another. However, I have since learned that only works if you are moving within a state. Because we are crossing state lines we do have to disconnect service, return the equipment to our nearest Comcast location and schedule new service to be hooked up in New Haven. I talked with 4 different people during this phone call and when it was finally scheduled for June 7 from 9-11 am, I received a confirmation e-mail detailing that it would be set up on Saturday, May 19 from 11 am-1pm. Of course, I did not read the email until I was on hold with the second company for an inordinate amount of time, and of course, it was a "" address, so I had to call them again.

The second phone call was with the gas company which actually has a letter of apology on their website,and a repeating message of apology as a part of their "hold muzak" apologizing for how long their customers are having to wait on hold for assistance . They are blaming this on a new phone system they have recently set up. I finally did get through to a customer service representative, James, who put me on hold for the longest time until I accidentally hung up trying to see if we were still connected, which led me to need to call back and go through the whole process again with Stuart.

The third phone call was to the electric company who claimed that someone had already set up an account for us and wondered who had called them. I asked if they had any sort of connection to the gas company and they said, "oh yeah....we're owned by the same company." If that is the case, and they use the same database, why oh why did I have to call both individually to set up service? Couldn't one call have sufficed?  My other question is if they are owned by the same company, could they not just go by the same name?  One thing that was different about this call was that about every 30 seconds there was a loud and sharp "beep" that would ring through my ears.... quite pleasant, I assure you.

The fourth phone call was to the Regional Water Authority. If you recall, I began my phone calls at 8 am. I placed my phone call to the regional water authority at 11 am. I had not moved from my position nor had I done anything other than make some posts on facebook while I was on hold with the various companies to help vent my frustration. My ear felt warm - and if I do end up with brain cancer from holding the cell phone to my head for hours on end I will know who to sue. So, I placed the call to the regional water authority at 11 am. Throughout my time of going through their automated menu and sitting on hold they continued to warn that they were experiencing a "high volume of calls" and that I should not hang up. Well, I certainly didn't want to endure what I went through with the gas company so I kept telling myself that hanging up would only make me have to go through this all over again at some other point. So, I continued to hold. At 11:45 (yes, that's right.....FORTY-FIVE minutes on hold) they said they were transferring me to someone who could help. I was so relieved to finally be almost finished with this ordeal. A very friendly woman answered the phone and as I told her why I was calling I realized that she was only typing a message to the water authority. At the end of our conversation she said, "ok, I'm going to forward this message to them and they will call you back as soon as they are able." Excuse me?  I sat on hold for 45 minutes to be transferred to a call center?  If I think about it logically, I guess I'm glad they did that so that I didn't have to call back at some other point and go through the whole process again. But, I didn't hold out too much hope that we'd have running water once we were in the house. Each hour ticked by incessantly with no return call from the water authority. At 6:20 pm the phone rang and it was Sharina from the water authority. I was so shocked I exclaimed quite boisterously that I was so glad that she called back. After she chucked over my reaction, she explained to me that there had been no need for me to call. In CT the closing attorneys contact the water authority and the account is automatically transferred into the new owners' names. I have gotten very used to Michigan where everything is privatized because the government can't afford to control anything. In CT, it seems that the taxes actually cover something other than the legislators' salaries. It is the same thing with the trash as well - no need to set up a new account. It's all covered by our taxes. I'm trying to not  think about the time that I spent on hold with the water authority when I didn't have to do anything in the first place. I'm just glad to have it finished.

And I apologize to my sister who called later on in the day and I just couldn't bring myself to pick up the phone. Please understand that I'm just trying to avoid the additional radiation exposure.

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