Funniness Negates Wrongness
Tuesday, August 24, 2004
Can A Good Man Get A Break?
Bone-us picture:
Before I get to the blog, I had to share this picture from a greeting card site ( Is it just me, or is Snoopy aroused?

Once again the gods have frowned on Rifleman. This time for the semi-princely sum of $91.08. And while that may not seem like a lot to you rich fuckers out there, I am personally a bit short this month, thanks to the deductible that I'm about to drop on the Riflemanmobile as well as paying for my rental car.

It all started last Thursday. I was sitting in my office, dreading that phone call from the insurance company, when it occurred to me that I hadn't yet paid my AT&T Wireless bill for the month. So I sauntered (whatever the hell that means) over to and logged in to my account. Checking the balance, I learned that I owed $91.08 these charlatans. Okay, I thought, that seems a bit high. But it was right. I'd forgotten about all those roaming charges from a business trip to Chicago as well as several hundred text messages that I had traded with the lovely Holly, the lovely Linz and the un-lovely Jordan over the course of the previous billing period. At 10 each, they tend to add up rather quickly. Oh sure, a dime here and a dime there don't seem like a lot, but 200 SMS messages is a cool $20.

Deciding that I did indeed owe $91.08, I did what I always do. I made an online payment with my trusty and well-used Bank of America Debit Card. The payment processed and I was done. Or so I thought.

Fast forward to this morning. I was tired, so I tumbled out of bed and stumbled into the kitchen, poured myself a cup of ambition. Or maybe that was just an old Dolly Parton song and I just kind of stumbled into the shower, having long ago given up on ambition. After my shower, I brushed my teeth, threw on some clothes and made my way out to the inferior substitute Riflemanmobile--that infernal Ford (cli)Taurus. I stopped at the Diamond Shamrock (aka the "My Nigga" Store) for some fuel--both for my car and for myself.

I arrived at my office, unable and unwilling to be cheerful towards my co-workers, and settled into my chair, wishing I could've stayed in bed for another hour or five. I worked on a project for a bit, then decided to see how much cash I had in my checking account, so I logged into the Bank of America website.

Ack! I had less cash that I should. I started scanning the transactions. Aha! There it is...$91.08, charged to my account twice by AT&T Wireless. That's odd, I only paid the bill once. I went to their website and confirmed my payment history. Although they had charged my account two times, they only posted a credit for $91.08, not $182.16. I started to get concerned. Would I be out $91.08? I called their customer service line, which has been carefully designed to confuse the hell out of you.

First, it uses voice recognition software to gather your responses to their automaton's queries. And it's these queries that aren't particularly well-scripted.

When it first answers your call, you're given three choices:

"You can ask me things like 'I want to pay my bill', 'I need technical assistance' or something else," says the prerecorded voice of some wireless harlot.

I didn't want to pay my bill, obviously, as I had already paid it twice. And technical assistance didn't seem to fit the situation. So what I really wanted was something else. I tried saying such things as "I need to inquire about a payment" and "Can I speak to the accounting department?", both of which elicited replies from the machine along the lines of "Hmmm...I didn't quite understand you. You can ask me things like 'I want to pay my bill', 'I need technical assistance' or something else."

"Goddammit," I replied, "This is so fucking frustrating. I just want to talk to real person." To which I received the same reply, "You can ask me things like 'I want to pay my bill', 'I need technical assistance' or something else."

"Fuck, I am saying something else."

"Okay, something else," it replied, "Hold on while I transfer you to a customer service representative."

You know, it would've been really nice of them to explicitly state that you needed to literally say the phrase "Something Else" rather than trying to guess at what you're supposed to say in a "something else" situation.

I talked to a CSR named Todd. I've never liked the name Todd, and this Todd wasn't doing much to reinforce my perception of Todds in general. I've never known a Todd that was particularly likable or bright. Of course, I've never known that many Todds. In high school, we had a Todd Wright, but that wasn't his real name. His real name was Tawakoni Dante Shenard Wright. And he was black, so goofy names are forgivable. Like that time I met a black girl named LaQuinta. I was dying to ask if her father's name was Howard Johnson. But she was really hot, so I couldn't ask...I was just looking for an inn with her. Hoped to give her my ol' Motel 6. (Alas, 'tis no Super 8). Never got to sleep with her, though...she was prudish...if I had wanted to get anywhere with her, I would've had to put a couple of Red Roofies in her Holiday Gin.

Todd wasn't very helpful. He tried to blame it on my bank. I blamed AT&T's incompetence. He tried to blame me, saying I must have submitted the payment twice on the website, to which I said that if I had, then it would've credited my account twice. He was perhaps the most useless CSR I've ever talked to.

In the end, he ended up giving me the fax number to the "PAYMENT INQUIRY RESEARCH DEPARTMENT" and I ended up saying to him "I hope you lose your job when Cingular takes over."

I still don't have my $91.08 back. But I'm still an asshole. Oh yeah.