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Tom Hyland

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By Tom Hyland
Posted: Thursday, May 14, 2009
Last edited: Thursday, May 14, 2009
This short story is rated "G" by the Author.
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The following is all TRUE.

No names were changed to protect the Innocents - WHY? there were NONE!


Would citizens be better off?


© - Tom Hyland - 05-12-09

God Save Us from Corporate Incompetence!

Verizon - the Communications Company that does Not want to communicate with you! Nor - apparently, for you to be able to communicate with other Human Beings! Non-Service is their most important Product!

I live in a trailer. Outside ia a grey plastic box. Every time there is a heavy Rain - my Verizon land-line service SHORTS OUT. This dilemma has been re-occurring for over Six Months now. I have to use my cell phone to call their Stupid Voicemail Repair Number to try and deal with a Stupid Computer Voice System! My cell phone plan costs me ten cents per minute - trust me - this adds up to DOLLARS!

Trying to get to talk to an actual Human Being is totally frustrating. Pressing “O” does Not work! Screaming “Human Being - Human Being - Human Being” into the phone will finally get this beautiful, soft-spoken, computer-generated woman’s voice to finally respond -
“Would you like to speak to a Representative?” MY GOD - YES! Yes! Yes!

NOTE: for your personal edification - WRITE THIS DOWN -
Say the word REPRESENTATIVE - apparently, it is the ONLY word that their programmer allowed into their STUPID SYSTEM!

NOW - for the Facts - “Just the Facts, Ma’am!” as Friday used to say, on DRAGNET -

1. When this recurring problem first started, months and months ago, I followed the complete computer voice instructions - got a test phone, went outside in the pouring rain - unscrewed the one Phillips’ head screw and opened the door to their little grey box -
un-plugged one of the connectors from its insertion spot, on the right side, plugged it into my phone, and did NOT get any DIAL TONE! NADA!

Then, re-inserted that plug back into its resting place, and repeated the same procedure, using the plug from the left side - NADA! No Dial Tone! I even checked each of the tiny screws, which held the various sets of colored little wires in place, to be sure they were not loose. Closed the little door - re-screwed the door securing screw, and went back inside to DRY myself off with a towel!

Then, I re-dialed that wonderful supposed REPAIR SERVICE number again, went through the whole procedure AGAIN - punched in the appropriate response numbers to each STUPID question and THEN - was told by that same wonderful, soothing sweet voice - DON’T DO THIS TEST IN THE RAIN - YOU MIGHT GET AN ELECTRIC SHOCK! DUH!

When I finally learned HOW to get to a human being, and recounted my sad, tedious story - to a Repair Technician - he graciously said he would run a line test, or whatever, at the Central Office, I think?

VOILA! In less than ten minutes, my land-line Home phone actually RANG! That same Male voice told me that he Re-set the line and my phone was fine! I thanked him, and was pleased that Somebody actually KNEW what he was doing. There was No Need to send out a Repairman, No reason to threaten me with a Huge $91 Repair Charge - No trouble Inside my trailer - apparently someone simply had to LOOK - PRESS A BUTTON - and it was fixed! At least that was what I thought at the time.

2. Sometime later, maybe a month or so? - Another heavy rainstorm and - ZAP! No service again. As this was discovered in the evening, after returning from work, the ‘normal’ procedure above would not work, because all the human beings had gone home to their families and phone services that still worked properly - it was ‘after hours’ so to speak, and all the computers were now IN CHARGE!

It has been so long ago now, that I honestly don’t remember if the following morning’s Reporting of the problem was handled in the same manner as the last, but ultimately, my service was restored somehow - and NOT by any repairman actually coming to my residence! It should be noted here, that sometimes, if the next day was a decent sunny day, my phone would miraculously just WORK!

3. Just a couple of months ago, the problem reared its ugly head yet again - I called again - was told by the woman in the Repair department that a Repairman was scheduled for a certain date (note that this date is somehow always 6-9-12 days in the Future - never ever RIGHT NOW!) - Anyway, the next morning, when I tried to LOG ON - the ‘miracle’ had occurred again, and my line worked! So I logged off, called repair and told someone the ‘good news’ - and cancelled the service call.

However - after being home all morning, then running out to the store, and returning - Lo and Behold - I had Two Messages on my Answering Machine (not their expensive monthly program - a cheap $10. Electronic Wonder which I purchased years ago) - one message was a male voice saying that he had been there and checked the line, about 9:15 or 9:30 am, it was recorded - then, the second message, recorded about 10:30 am - that HE FIXED THE LINE!

How remarkable! A line that ALREADY WORKED was now Fixed! Will Wonders Never Cease!

4. On Sunday evening, May 3rd, during another heavy rainstorm, I tried to log on to the Internet and discovered that there was no dial tone yet again! I called on my cell phone and reported it again to the lovely computer voice - hooped and hollered and finally got one of the thousands of fine, capable human beings who would report the problem to Repair.

By Tuesday evening, May 5th, there was still no dial tone, so at 11:40 pm, I called again, finally got through to a nice lady named DARLENE, who was way down in Virginia somewhere, not a local Baltimore ‘service’ - and could do nothing to check anything, but she would report the problem to Repair, via Dispatch (don’t you just Love the Jargon of the trade?) - as I was in mid-sentence, the line WENT DEAD at 11:50 pm!

Now, she HAD my cell phone number, because she asked what line I was calling from - YET DID NOT HAVE THE COURTESY TO EVEN CALL ME BACK! So, I had no idea if and when a Repairman would come out! By now, I was seeing a pattern here - DUH! And, I had told her that I SUSPECTED that the rubber seal of the door of the grey box was LEAKING every time a heavy rainfall occurred, and maybe, just maybe someone could actually CHECK IT for possible replacement!

5. Today is Tuesday, May 12th - I have had NO PHONE SERVICE FOR 9 DAYS - I am completely and totally frustrated, so I took the time to write down a List of all my complaints, BEFORE calling, so I would be both organized and calm. At 8:55 am, I called, and after carefully enunciating Each and Every Number of my phone - THREE TIMES - the lovely computer voice got it WRONG THREE TIMES - this is when I started screaming - REPRESENTATIVE -repeatedly, until ‘she’ acknowledged my request - whereupon a woman named CHRISTY asked what could she do for me.

After relaying all of my list to her, all she could do was schedule a Repair for MAY TWENTY-SECOND - 12 DAYS HENCE!

As I didn’t ‘buy’ that answer, I asked to speak to a Manager or Supervisor - after holding a brief while I explained to a lady named BEA - what needed to be done - A. a human being to get off their Duff, and go CHECK the Central Office button, or whatever, for RE-SET - and B. someone to physically FIX the lousy grey box!
Then, she starts asking me about the ‘TEST PHONE’ procedure, which I told her I did not care to do again! Then, she tells me that she just tested my line, and it tested fine!

After more running around in circles and more rigmarole, I complained that Darlene and Christy didn’t do their jobs, and was told that they were BOTH SUPERVISORS, as was she - whereupon I said: “I want to speak to a Manager, or their Boss!”

By then, it was 9:15 am, this call had been now 20 minutes, which cost me another $2 - but, she assured me that someone would call me back - WITHIN THE HOUR - to straighten out my problems!

It is now 11:00 am - in fifteen more minutes, two hours shall have passed, and NO PHONE CALL YET!

Am I sure? Yep! My trusty little Cell phone is plugged into its charger, just WAITING to be activated …


FOOT-NOTE - How come a customer who is On Record on Their Computer as having reported a service problem over a week ago - has no precedence over ‘new’ complaints coming in After the Fact?
Is it possible, that like the BIG THREE - Verizon is in dire financial straits, and about to go ‘Belly Up?’ Will they soon be whining for a ‘Bail-Out?’ Time will tell!

As this continuing saga unfolds, let it be noted that my mind has been active - although I have been totally unable to post my writings online for over a week now, my grey matter, unlike Verizon’s grey box has been both fertile and functional. I have completed no less than Eight Poems - Two Articles - and One Story.

And, I’ll bet that there are over two hundred emails in my inbox by now! My God - people will think I am DEAD!


I called again at 12:15 pm, finally got to Rep - IRWIN - told him I wanted to speak to the Highest Ranking Officer on duty, that I could talk to Right Now! He could only get his Supervisor! Mrs. CRONIS then came on line, relayed short version of Failure of three supervisors to do their jobs! Asked if she was a Manager - NO - but she IS the highest ranking person on duty!

She listened intently, said she would like to work through this problem with me right now, if I was willing. OKAY! She said that line was testing okay. She asked about number of phone jacks in home - only ONE. Asked me what kind of phone - cordless, so needed to unplug both phone line and electric line. DONE! Then, told me to reconnect lines - still no dial tone. Asked if I had another regular phone that was not cordless. Looked in office, could not find any, think I threw all away. Then spotted wall phone, took it off and she said to plug wire into it. Has two different jack holes and two buttons - L1 and L2 - tried both holes, both buttons - nothing. Then I asked if the cord from jack to phone could have gone bad. Worth a try - swapped for another cord - tested both phones - nothing.

She asked me to take wallphone outside and plug jack from grey box directly into phone - she will call me back in fifteen minutes. OKAY. Got screwdriver and phone, went outside - tested in both jacks - nothing - still no dial tone!

Came back inside and busied myself waiting - half hour passed - no call on cell phone. At 1:10 pm, phone rang, only it was a Mrs. JONES now calling about my ‘problem’ - told her I was waiting for call from Mrs. Cronis, who promised to call back. She didn’t know that - she will check. Came back and said Mrs. Cronis was online with another customer, and would call me as soon as finished.

1:35 pm - still no call from Mrs. Cronis - KEY-RIST! Just WHO is ‘minding the store?’ Now on Page Seven of this treatise!

Am now considering sending copies of this ‘saga’ to:
The Maryland Attorney General’s Office of Consumer Affairs -
Governor O’Malley’s Office -
The Editor of The Sun-Papers -
Channel 11 News -

1:56 pm - cell phone rang - was in my shirt pocket - before I could get it out and flip it open - call Terminated! When I checked to call back - the number was RESTRICTED! No Call Duration! What a way to Do Business! Do any of you out there in Cyber-Space see a pattern forming here yet?

2:30 pm - still No Call!

While we are waiting for Mrs. Cronis’ phone call (highest Ranking person on duty) - let us ponder another question. While I may be a dumb layman, and certainly no electrician, most electric currents have a Polarity - a Negative and a Positive, right? And when it comes to things which operate with Motors, Polarity is quite important - reverse polarity will cause a motor to operate backwards. That is how your overhead Ceiling Fan works, when you flip the little switch. One way draws air up in the center, and pushes down at the walls. The other way draws up from the perimeter and pushed down in the center. The fan blades can spin either Clockwise, or Counter-clockwise.

And - We all know that the ever-lovin’ puters operate on a simple basic system of 1’s and 0’s - each little byte is either switched ON or OFF - right?

Anyway, because of this principle of Physics, the polarity of electric current - my question is quite simple - could anything in an electrical rainstorm actually Cause the reversal of Polarity in those little low-voltage phone lines? If so, would that cause a ‘line test’ to show Opposite results? i.e. if OFF, tell you it was ON?

2:58 pm - now over Two Hours have passed, and no phone call from Mrs. Cronis - you know, that one Promised in Fifteen Minutes!

3:00 pm - I am now dialing Verizon - AGAIN!

The puter’voice’ got the phone number WRONG AGAIN - every time I carefully enunciated - 288 - she said -282 - REPRESENTATIVE - then you have to answer about 4 questions before said computer can ‘connect you to the right department.’

About 3:05 pm - Mrs. EDWARDS - another Supervisor got on the line (I have now lost count - is that 3-4- or 5 today?) - gave her my phone number - and was promptly told that my Repair is Scheduled for May 22nd, between 8am and 5 pm - whereupon I told her that she was the THIRD Supervisor who told me that Today!

I can not wait that long - told her about Mrs. Cronis’ Failure to call me back - she checked and her line was busy - I asked if I could leave a detailed message. NO! She can only tell her to call me - I don’t want that - Hold - M’s ? LOFTON - yet another Supervisor got on the line - now we had a Three-Way conference call! WOW!
How sophisticated is that? Mrs. Edwards then got off the line and I explained to M’s Lofton, in detail as to what and why I was upset - and that this now Nine Page Document was going to be mailed to the persons mentioned above!

She apologized for the lack of my return call, and assured me that she would relay THIS message to Mrs. Cronis. I thanked her for her help and apologized for being so upset. I told her that maintaining a ‘civil’ tongue had been quite difficult!

NOTE FOR THE WORLD-AT-LARGE - I started this process at 8:55 am - it is now 3:30 pm - SIX AND ONE-HALF HOURS have now passed - and NO RESULTS! My stomach is in knots - am I am fuming!

Now, as an American citizen, do you think it proper that any company can hold a citizen HOSTAGE - simply because the Government ALLOWS them to maintain a Monopoly?

Oh - to be sure, one might say - “Change Company” - to What? to Whom? How? The lines buried under the ground ALL belong to Verizon!

Just noticed another amazing piece of evidential fact - in checking my cell phone record of today - ONLY 6 calls are recorded, with the longest one only being 4 minutes, or 40 cents cost to me - YET the longest phone call, with Mrs. Cronis on the line, when I did all that ‘testing’ had to be well over 15 minutes! How come? Are calls from RESTRICTED lines some kind of big SECRET? Is Big Brother watching? Am I paranoid - or what?

I was in the living room, unplugged the regular cordless phone, moved the TV cart out of the way to get access tob the Jack on the wall, went into another room, searched for a phone, got the one off the wall, tested it, changed the phone-line cord, re-tested - and ALL the while Mrs. Cronis was LIVE on my cell phone! Pray tell - what happened to that 15 minutes of my Life? Did I imagine it? ARE THEY HIDING IT FOR SOME REASON?

4:00 PM - another Hour has passed - still No Call! On Page 10 now.
Still No Dial Tone!

NOTE - I have purposely foregone making Any other Outgoing calls all day long - from 12:45 to now - for fear of her saying that she called and my line was busy! Also, please note that I have been a gentleman all day long, and did not CUSS one time!

5:15 pm - well, Pilgrims - today’s journey is o’er! ‘Tis past the bewitching hour, when all the incompetent human beans go home!
The puters now take over, and you may as well talk to yourself - not that all the talking to the ‘talking heads’ mattered anyway!

Tomorrow I must go to work. While I truly enjoyed wasting my entire day off - trying to get help from my Non-caring Non-service Non-provider - perhaps the morrow shall bring yet another small ‘miracle’ - maybe The Good Lord and the Universe will answer my plea?

I am now in such a vindictive mood that - should I actually win Millions of dollars on the Lotto, I would seek out an attorney and file a ‘Class Action’ Suit against Verizon, on behalf of All customers who have ever been SCREWED by them!

Is it any wonder that some people with less intestinal fortitude go off the deep end, and seek revenge in a more physical way? The true shame of it all, is that there is a Principle involved, and obviously, upper Management of this humongous Titan simply does not care to render true service. That, my Friends, is a real pity!

© - TKH

Thursday May 14, 2009 - 9:23 A.M.

GOD hath wrought yet Another Miracle!

Clicked to Log on Net - phone DIALLED -
Authenticated User - Connected!
One Hundred and Seventy-Nine Emails!
Still Loading!

How? Why? When?

Mrs. Cronis NEVER Called Back!
Tuesday - Wednesday - Thursday AM -
No One from Verizon Called Back!

No Repairman Entered My Trailer!
Nothing Changed Within my Trailer!

Am I to ASSUME that Someone from Verizon -
Finally got Off their DUFF -
And Physically Checked What I SUGGESTED?

Do I feel Vindicated? Am I still Angry?
Does Verizon Owe me an APOLOGY?
Does Verizon Owe me for 12 Days of NON-Service?

Will Anyone in the Government DO Anything -
When I MAIL this Eleven-Page Documentation?
Am I Justified to Seek Compensation for Damages for STRESS?

© - TKH


Reader Reviews for "VERIZON SUCKS !"

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Reviewed by J'nia Fowler
Yours too eh! We were recently threatened by Telus (tell us what? I might ask.)Said we had to pay 3 months today or be cut off. So we paid. Then the calls began, calls to clear up the problem, which took us on a 'round the world tour lasting some 40 days.The problem was that they were sending our bill to an address across town for 3 months and no one there paid it, of course. Turns out that it was a computer glitch and non too soon did we discover this as I spent a few hours driving around looking for the address they had been sent to. I was ready to call the cops. How do you say, "thank you for your crappy service in Hindi, or Tagalog, or Punjabi?????
Reviewed by charles Kelly
I completely agree with you about the computer voices. But at least when you finally reached someone, they spoke English. How can you cuss at a computer voice? When I have had trouble and had to call, it was usually someone who spoke some foreign language, and lived in India.
Reviewed by Jackie (Micke) Jinks
Thank goodness you are well...errrr...alive and kickin'! This has been the longest dry-spell by you: no poems, stories, etc! But with the dry-spell comes the worry of where are you? What has happened to you? Accident? Illness?
Alas, the old non-service-provider attack! Be sure they give you credit on your "bill" for the non-service down time...before you pay the bill. YOU have documentation of dates, times, names. Most all communication companies pre-charge for monthly service.
There is nothing more frustratin than having computer-voices answering your calls....grrrrr!
But it's good to see you online, again?

BTW - Has anyone heard from George Carrol? I'ts been 1 week and 1 day since his surgery, and no word from/about him that I know.
Blessings and Love, Tom...good to have you back - Micke

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