We Interrupt this Blog…

I intended to post about all the awesome things I accomplished today. I set an alarm for 4:00 AM so I could work on my stuff. I accomplished a lot, but it pales in comparison to this.

Consider these to be personal stories, but there could me a moral in there too. This is the tale of two corporations.

We raised three children to adulthood. Two of them are fully functioning members of society, and I’m very proud of them. One, frankly, isn’t. He’s nearly twenty seven years old, and continues to fail at jobs most would consider as “entry level”. The kind of jobs you tell your sixteen year old congratulations for taking. He quit his last job, because he got scheduled for two days off that weren’t adjacent. He would have thirty days of this, before being allowed to name his own schedule.

I’ve worked thirty days without a day off several times in my life, and think this is absurd. There was no reward except continued employment at the end.

We’ve helped all of our kids, and I don’t mind that. This one is no exception, and we’ve co-signed for cars where Mom & Dad had to make a payment or two. The last time he was unemployed, grandma paid the car off for him. He did not visit during my father’s eightieth birthday, or call, or send a card. I think you get the picture. The stage is set.

We got a letter from Sprint today. Our son hasn’t been paying his phone bill. Guess who co-signed so he could get this phone. Hint: It’s my wife.

My wife called the number on the bill to turn off the phone service. Her intent was to pay what was owed, and be done. That was not Sprint’s intention.

The first call began with an automated system that eventually led to a human. My wife needed her PIN number. We don’t have one, so she answered the personal question and provided the account number of the bill. This confused the Sprint employee, who put us on hold to look for a supervisor. Twenty minutes later, the employee could not help and only a supervisor could do that. She asked for a supervisor. About a half hour on hold, and the call was disconnected.

The second call was a repeat of the first. My wife said she was disconnected the first time. The new Sprint employee said, “No problem, we’ll call you right back.”

My wife said, “But I’m not calling from the Sprint telephone–

Cue the hold music. Forty five minutes later the call disconnected.

Third telephone call. My wife said, “I want to disconnect a telephone, I don’t have a PIN number, my answer to the personal question is XXX. I am not calling from the Sprint telephone number, so you can’t call me back. I need a supervisor so I can cancel a service. I’ve been hung up on twice, and I’m getting a bit upset about it.”

“Hold please.”

It took a long time for the supervisor, George, to show up, but he did. My wife explained that it isn’t our phone, and we are willing to pay, but do not want to continue the service.

George apparently misunderstood and tried to sell her a new and upgraded plan. She explained all of what she wanted to accomplish once more. George told her about the severe cancellation fee that comes with canceling a contract.

She explained that this phone hasn’t been under contract for two years. George seems to have some kind of impairment that doesn’t allow him to read his own fucking computer screen.

He generously offered to turn off the phone nearly a month from now and the bill would be $300+. My wife said we are not paying for future service for a cancelled contract, and in fact Sprint bills a month ahead and we were donating a portion of the bill back to Sprint. She was willing to pay the late bill, but that was it. This was her last attempt, and then Sprint could send the account to collections and receive nothing.

George finally gave up and my wife paid about half the amount that was requested. George said the phone is disconnected immediately, and accepted the payment my wife offered. He assured her this was finished. She asked for his name and he said, “Just George.” I doubt he’s the only George that works at Sprint. I’m sure we’ll get another bill next month.

Now I’m old enough to know this is all some bullshit game. The phone can be disconnected at any time with a few simple keystrokes. The hold and disconnect is part of the game. If we give up, they enter another billing cycle and it’s our fault.

We don’t know if we succeeded or not. Neither of us has any faith in George. My wife spent two and a half hours on the phone with Sprint to handle a five minute process. Here’s the credit card – turn off the phone. By my account, they owe her $40 for her time.


I don’t want this to be a complete downer, so here’s a happy story. It was New Years about eighteen or nineteen months ago. I decided to get a new vehicle. This is something I do every fifteen years or so, and it was time. I bought a new Toyota Tundra. I had them install stainless steel running boards as part of the purchase.

I love this truck. It runs flawlessly, and it gets 18 MPG.

My running boards are starting to rust. There is quite a lot of rust, so I had Peterson Toyota take pictures the last time I had it serviced. They called me today. Toyota will replace my running boards for free, no questions asked. The service department already placed the order and they will call me when they get here next week.

My father decided he wants a new truck and asked me to help him. I mentioned early on that he’s 80 years old. He really likes my Tundra and asked me to look some things up on that newfangled internet thingy.

He’s picked out a specific Tundra that’s on the lot at Peterson, placed a deposit to hold it, and I’m going to take time off Thursday and Friday to help him trade his old truck and chauffeur him to get the new one. This is a good product and Peterson has been very fair with me. I believe in saying something about good products and services.

That’s how I roll. If someone treats me well, I’m willing to tell others about it. I’m willing to go back, and my wife has her eye on a new Toyota SUV in a couple of years. I even referred my father to the same salesman who sold me mine.

I may also have something to say if my parents ever want to change telephone providers. It was a long post, but now I’ve told all of you too.


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13 responses to “We Interrupt this Blog…

  1. I seriously get you. Tried to call my mortgage company once and got a two hour phone tree before i could talk to a real person. AND I have a twenty eight year old son who has only worked real job for one day. In a grocery store. As a produce guy. It was too hard. He work a while on a fishing boat, but that was too hard. He helps his dad in GA keep up the farm and look after his grandparents, so I stay out of it. But I get you. I figured it up once and in three years I spent $38,000.00 keeping my daughter in school, out of jail, a roof over her head, and in a car. Now, she’s unemployed with two kids. Thank God for baby daddy.


    • I’ve helped all of mine at one time or another, and don’t regret it. I’ve needed help before too.

      What I regret is when they don’t even try to help themselves. I’ve never failed to hold a full time job, and many of those required massive amounts of overtime.

      I suppose it’s the difference between a hand up and a hand out.

      On the other hand, yay Toyota.


  2. As a Comcast customer, I understand all of the first section. In this position, I would have gone to the Sprint store, where i have a “person” who is more like the second section of your story. In order to resolve billing conflicts with Comcast, my husband and I drove 40 miles to their offices. We first got a letter from our previous apartment complex, and took our purchase agreement as well. Because sometimes, people move. And you can’t keep charging people for services they’re not receiving. While this all makes sense to us, as well as any logical reader, too many people are not as smart as we are.


  3. As for the Sprint interaction, UGH! THAT SUCKS! It’s too bad there wasn’t a store you could have actually gone to in person to see that it was done right, not that you should have had to waste the time and the gas to go there. I hope all goes as planned. As for your son, I’m very sorry. I have a daughter very much like that, so I can fully appreciate your frustration to say the least.


  4. A friend had the Sprint trouble here in the UK with Vodafone. She eventually rang a friend who works for them, explaining the problem. The friend advised her to do the two hour rigmarole, I’m afraid or go to a shop. Then to explain the situation, get the full and final payment and then DON’T make it on the phone. Explain that you will have to send a cheque and you need the address of the accounts department. Then you write them a letter, paying the agreed amount by cheque, explaining that as per you phone call (or even better visit to x shop and conversation with y employee) this is your full and final payment to cancel the phone number and that you will be making no further payments. After months of being pestered for more and more money by Vodafone, my friend tells me that this is what made them go away.

    Worth a shot if Sprint come back to you I reckon.




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