Not in the good frugal minimalist way. At Cox, it develops, “less is more” means “less for more.”
After endless calls from “Rachel of Card Services” (who actually is a recorded message used by several offshore phone solicitation scammers) and more recently from creeps who know my age and try to scare me into buying various redundant and useless “security” services and devices, I decided to quit resisting and shell out an extra $10 a month for Caller ID.
So this seems to be working. It’s kinda cool. The phones flash up the caller’s phone number, and for unknown reasons one of the extensions tries to enunciate, in Electronic English, the caller’s name, usually coming up with something unintelligible. Entertaining. And on the first couple of days it derailed several incoming scams. Nice!
Then a couple of people said they’d tried to call but the voicemail wasn’t picking up.
I figured they probably dialed the wrong number.
Yesterday I’m on the phone with a client. She’s calling from a cell phone with kind of a weak connection, so I figure the periodic BLEEEET in my ear is from some sort of interference.
Conversation ends. Check the e-mail. Message the first:
“I tried to call but your voicemail isn’t answering…”
Check machinery. Yes, it is answering.
Hmmmm….. BLEEEET…no busy signal…no voicemail…uhmmm… Duh!
So I kill another 10 minutes or so trying to get through to a live person at Cox. I figure the guy I talked to a few days ago added Call Waiting in addition to the Caller ID…must’ve figured he could do me out of another few bucks by tacking on an extra “convenience.”
Dunno about you, but I really dislike Call Waiting.
• In the first place, I don’t want to be badgered by someone trying, unknowingly, to butt in to a conversation I’m having.
• In the second place, it’s incredibly offensive when someone says “Oh, there’s another call! I’m putting you on hold so I can answer that.” Implication: you aren’t important enough for me to give you my full attention. Or, other possible implication: I think I, wonderful little me, I am sooo important I must be at the beck and call of all my operatives, underlings, and superiors. Either one: offensive.
• And in the third place, it’s just plain bad manners to push the person you’re conversing with out of the way so you can let someone else horn in. If, after all, the late-comer’s call is important, she or he will call back.
Rude. Rude, rude, rude.
Finally a human picks up the line. She confirms that yes, the guy I spoke with did give me a package bundling Caller ID and Call Waiting together.
I say I don’t want Call Waiting.
She says she can arrange that, but it’ll cost more.
“To get Call Waiting alone will cost $1.20 extra. Plus tax.”
Well, I figure it’s worth $1.20 — $14.40 a year (plus tax!) — to eliminate yet another of the myriad nuisances of life in the 21st century.
But boy, does it piss me off. Why should consumers have to pay more to NOT get something they don’t want?
Then she remarks that the total bill for the Internet and the land line will come to just under $100 a month.
Really? Seriously? A hundred bucks a month for about $30 worth of flicking services????
Started to look around for other high-speed providers. Looks like there are quite a few, and some, including Verizon (roundly hated, I know…but are any telecommunications providers not reviled?), offer the same things I’m getting for less.
So I guess tomorrow when I feel more like hassling with these people, I’ll start calling around to see if I can get a better deal.
Like I have nothing else to do with my time.