“The corporate man is the man of the future.” Heinrich Himmler
I am urged to be proactive about this, now seven week, lack of internet and phone service. I call today on Sekhnet’s land line, browsing the internet as I punch in my various responses on the phone’s keypad. After a remarkably short five minute wait a human at Verizon picks up.
“Do you have a contact number?” he asks and I give him the cell number they’ve already made several robocalls to, the number I was promised Tuesday, falsely but hopefully by a sympathetic young woman in Pittsburgh, would be called on Wednesday.
He will email the cable maintenance department, they will contact me. He has no way of checking what is going on directly. His last record shows a service call on May 9, which is what the robot that greets me every time I call keeps asking me if I want to reschedule.
“Is the Cable Maintenance department part of Verizon?”
“Yes, sir,” he says.
“Would you please connect me to them, then.”
“We’re not able to do that. I’m going to send them an email and they’ll contact you.”
I take a breath, ask the young man to put himself in my position. I tell him the story, without snarling. Then I ask, if he was me, would he thank him for the help and wait for Verizon to contact me? Especially if multiple promises to contact him had already not been kept, and a bill for undelivered services sent to him five weeks after the service was promised to be restored?
“I would not like it,” he admits.
“Please connect me to your supervisor,” I tell the pawn.
“She’ll tell you the same thing,” then he promises to walk over and get her. Fifteen minutes of blaring muzak follows. Can you spell GO FUCK YOURSELF ASSHOLE, I work for these Nazis, do you think I have a good life?
Someone who is not programmed to be a victim, I suppose, maybe someone tenacious, with legal training and great verbal and people skills, would find a way to fix this, I guess. Seems impossible as I waited for a ‘supervisor’ (the minimum wage worker in the next cubicle, most likely) that I was forced to hear blasting, ever more maddening generic music on a speaker phone that even at the lowest volume was at an unbearable level. I suppose I could have put it into the drawer here and closed it until the supervisor came on.
To cheer myself during the wait I looked on the bright side. I had printed out the actual size mock up of the label Sekhnet painstakingly designed and created. It fits the Idea Book nicely, looks great, I’m going on-line to order a thousand as soon as Verizon gets done with me. A very handsome piece of propaganda it is, really gorgeous– if the stickers look 70% as good as this print on matte photo paper I’ll be delighted. I also paid for and have so far taken three CLE credits from a corrupt outfit that allows you to do an hour’s required Ethics CLE in only 15 minutes or so, if you’re prepared to be a weasel, which I might be tempted to become as I have eighteen more credits to amass in the next few days to keep the shackle lawfully attached to my leg.
Then, suddenly, the muzak stops and the lovely Ms. Green introduces herself.
During our conversation, making this call to Verizon a svelte forty three minutes at its end, I learn that three to six months would be optimistic for renewed internet service, that they will in fact be replacing miles of crappy copper wire they no longer service with fiber optic cable all over northern Manhattan, eventually.
She tells me that I will continue to get bills during that time that I must pay, but I’ll be reimbursed when and if my service is ever restored, and she’s sorry if I think that’s unreasonable, it’s just the way they do it. The bills are generated automatically unless her office informs the business office that there’s no service, and that’s more complicated for everyone. Just pay the bills and you will be reimbursed, and also, we will never come in your mouth or in any other orifice you may or may not have.
She promises she’ll call me tomorrow when she hears back from the Cable Maintenance Department. She stops me as I begin again, she promises, gives me her word again, even though she tells me she understands why I’d be skeptical to hear her say that. She will give me the details as to what they predict as far as resumed service to tens or hundreds of thousands in my neighborhood and she suggests I call the business office if I want to complain about being billed for services they will continue to bill me for until service is restored, if ever. There is no direct number to her, but she promises again that she will call me by noon tomorrow, and reminds me that Verizon offered me a free second cell phone that I declined.
To her credit she neither thanks me for being a Verizon customer nor apologizes for her employers’ treachery. After all, I realize, they’d lose maybe a hundred thousand customers at a shot if they told them the truth or kept them informed. Fair is fair, you know what I’m saying?
I resist urging her to ‘have a nice day’ or making any of my obligatory references to corporate psychopathy, Hitler, or anything else illustrative of the corporate culture we must endure daily, as she tells me again that she’ll talk to me tomorrow. Under the circumstances, which must be extremely trying for her, she sounds pleasant as a spring breeze. No wonder they pay her ten dollars an hour to supervise the other, far less skilled, telephone operators Verizon employs in that cube farm where human misery is cultivated while Verizon fosters communication while tending assiduously to the corporate bottom line.