Less I$ More

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.

It’s rude.

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.

“What?”

“To get Call Waiting alone will cost $1.20 extra. Plus tax.”

For godsake.

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. :roll:

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SewingLibrarian February 5, 2013 at 10:43 pm

Yes, Call Waiting is in our AT&T bundle, too. I hate Call Waiting for the same reasons as you. I always ignore it and keep talking with my original caller.
Your phone and Internet bill seems high to me, and I have AT&T, as I mentioned, not a discount provider. I hope you can find a better deal.

TB at BluecollarWorkman February 6, 2013 at 6:41 am

I’m gonna say something crazy. Get ready. Here it comes. I’ve had good experiences with Verizon. I know! It’s crazy. Comcast is the devil though. And I bet that Cox is the evil stepdaughter or something.

It’s crap though, I agree when you try to not “get more” or want less services and they look at you like you’re crazy, and they charge you more. Probably because it goes against their system and is an inconvenience to them. It’s a dumb system.

And yeah, call waiting is fricken rude.

funny February 6, 2013 at 6:20 pm

Hmmm… On closer inspection, it appears that the only companies offering high-speed internet and a phone connection in the Phoenix area Comcast and Cox. That would explain the high prices.

Linda February 6, 2013 at 8:38 am

Have you looked into Google Voice? Yeah, you’d have to get a new phone number and there are some changes you’d have to make to how you take your calls or access them, but it may work well for you. There is no cost for getting Google Voice account/number or for voicemail, call forwarding, etc, etc. You can use it to make phone calls at no cost to numbers in the US and Canada, and the international rates are very low. You can even set it up to make calls via WiFi and your smart phone. Just sharing the info in case you feel like really sticking it to Cox!

P.S. I switched to A&T UVerse for my Internet at home and shaved $20 a month off what Comcast was charging me AND I got faster service, too. When the AT&T rep came to my house and said they had just made UVerse available in my neighborhood I just said “Sign me up now!” :-)

Mrs PoP @ Planting Our Pennies February 6, 2013 at 4:23 pm

Land line? What’s that? =D

Most people that I know who did have one and wanted to keep the number have transfered the number to a cellphone that they generally keep in the house. Works out to be cheaper a lot of the time, and nowadays you can keep the same number.

funny February 6, 2013 at 4:40 pm

Because of my age and tendency to fall, I need several extensions within easy reach of the floor. If I fall and break a hip or a knee, there’s no way I’ll be able to reach a counter, nor do relish having to drag myself up a hallway to try to find a cell phone. That’s the reason I keep the land line.

When you change phone companies, they’re required to let you keep your number now.

Linda February 6, 2013 at 6:10 pm

You have a valid point about needing extensions around the house. Nonetheless, you may want to probe a bit further on your options if you can make the time. I used to have a VOIP phone account (Vonage is one of the bigger carriers offering this) and through a very simple reconfiguration of the wiring in my phone box inside the house, I was able to set up a connection to ALL of the handsets to use this connection. After a while we simply got a cordless phone with multiple handsets, with the master phone connected to the VOIP box to make things easier. But, if you prefer the corded handsets, VOIP (and much cheaper rates!) is still possible with a bit of diligent searching on how to configure. It all just takes time…which we’re so lacking in these days.

funny February 6, 2013 at 6:36 pm

Hmmm… Is that so? I’ll definitely look into that!

No, I hate the corded handsets… Costco sells a set of wireless phones with four cordless handsets plus the base. So I’ve got five phones, four of which are walk-around numbers.

Looks like it’s $10/mo for the first three months but then goes up to $26 a month plus taxes and gouges. In AZ the taxes and gouges are huge…the would almost certainly push the bill over $30 a month.

Looks like they have caller ID, but it also comes bundled with call waiting…don’t see an option to take one or the other.

Oh! Here’s a cool little cost calculator! After the promo period is over, in this area code the cost would be $36.93. I’ve been paying $31.51 for Cox’s land line; it’ll go up to about $40, if I’m understanding correctly. A three-dollar difference doesn’t seem worth the hassle…

CF February 6, 2013 at 10:23 pm

I don’t have a land line but I believe that call waiting is bundled into my voice mail package as well. :p Because it’s better to charge me more for stuff I don’t need than just charging me for the things I want…

101 Centavos February 9, 2013 at 6:14 am

It does take time.
Mrs. 101 made it a point to include a stop at Cox’s storefront on her exercise walks. It took being persistent over several visits, but the little extra effort shaved more than a few bucks off our bundling services.
Doing it over the phone? Forget it.

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