Saturday, October 17, 2009

I want my minutes back

Is there anything more frustrating than trying to deal with your cell phone company???

My current phone is one of the oldie-but-goodies, with no Qwerty keyboard. So it's a pain to text anything on. I'm supposedly eligible for a FREE upgraded phone. Supposedly -- but I have tried and failed.

I have spent all morning trying to fix my upgrade order (an order which also ate the better part of a morning). The first phone I ordered was back-ordered — I figure since it was free, it is a bait and switch deal. So I decided that I would swallow the bait and order another one that I actually had to pay for. Only, since The Dear Husband is the primary account owner, he had to call and give permission to change my phone order.

Then I carefully researched phones, chose one and called and waited and waited for “the next available representative,” only to be told that the phone I wanted required a stripped down data plan. So then she suggested I order another phone, for $49, but I’d have to change my plan, as it would not work. She assured me the plan was the same price.

Only, when I went to do it, it totaled an extra $10 a month — for no more benefit. Aaargh.

So then I called BACK and waited and waited and waited, only to have another guy try to explain how the new plan really WASN’T ten bucks a month extra, but you had to order it a different way. Riiiiighht. Color me cynical, but I’m still trying to apply new math, old math, any sort of math to make it work out.

Finally I got frustrated beyond belief at the amount of time I’d wasted on this, asked if the other phone I’d ordered (and was apparently in eternal backorder) would work on my current plan. "Yes," he said, sounding disappointed. I figured that if he sounded disappointed, it must mean I was choosing wisely for my pocketbook.

"OK," I said. "Let’s just go back to that one." I may never get the phone, but if I do, it’s free, and it will work with my current plan.

One thing I won’t ever get back is the time I could have spent writing this morning. Wonder if I could send the wireless company a bill for Premium Weekend Writing Minutes consumed ...

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Ben Franklin Rests In Peace Again

Well, I say he is. I'd been following on various blogs and websites the travesty of Philadelphia's libraries being threatened with closure. The day of doom was to have been Oct. 2.

Public libraries closing? In Philadelphia? Where Ben Franklin, the first person to open a lending library, lived?

I'd thought it was bad enough that my own library had begun closing at 2 p.m. on Saturdays. But to not have a library at all? Yikes.

I credit public and school libraries for helping feed my voracious reading habit. As a relatively poor kid, I found my reading pace outstripping my wallet's ability to pay for books. The library is where I find new authors and try them out before I put them on my auto-buy list. When I need to research something, I go to my library. It's where I find the audio-books that I must have if I'm going to drive any distance at all.

The best part about public libraries is their egalitarian spirit. Anyone with a library card can check out a book -- any book they like. And mid-list authors' books cozy up to the volumes of best-sellers with no threat of returns to publishers.

Libraries aren't just another line item in a budget, to be slashed in hard economic times, even if some elected officials seem to think so. I'm glad to know that Philadelphia's bibliophiles fought back and won -- and the libraries in the city continue to be open to the public.