Friday, June 1, 2018

My Troubles With AT&T: Update June 1, 2018

I thought my troubles with AT&T were over. I really did. And in large part, they are. The major problems were resolved on May 24, 2018, thanks to John and Peggy. But then last night when I got home from work I noticed an email from AT&T, letting me know how much my next bill will be. And guess what? The amount is wrong. Shocking, right? This time it’s only off by approximately ten dollars. Not much, I admit. But my cynical brain said they’re trying to screw me slowly. Basically, after months of dealing with a large discrepancy, they think I’ll let this small one slide. And if it were for only one month, I might very well have done just that. But if that keeps up, over the course of a year, then we’re talking about a more significant amount of money. Now, again, this was just my thought process. I’m not saying that is the company's actual intention. I do not really think there is any sort of plot like that. But the amount needed to be addressed, regardless of intentions.

June 1, 2018
  • At 1:29 p.m., I once again placed a call to my friends at AT&T. Let me mention once again that I despise these automated phone systems. AT&T is particularly irksome, with the fake sound of someone typing, as if the recording is trying to look up information.
  • At 1:33 p.m., Joy (ID# AB49P) answered. I explained that my bill was wrong. After a few moments, she told me that the actual amount I owe is $66 ($8 less than I’d expected it to be, and $18 less than what my email indicated). I repeated the amount three times to her, to make sure it was correct. It seemed strange – first because it was lower than I’d expected, without my having to argue at all; second, because it was even amount. Bills almost never are (though there is a 1% chance that each one will be). And she assured me three times that the amount is correct. I owe AT&T $66 for the next billing cycle. 
  • As far as I was concerned, the call was then over, but Joy started asking me what my favorite movies were. I recommended “Harold And Maude” and “The Last Picture Show.” When I told her the years of the films, she said, “I wasn’t even born then.” Odd response. Anyway, she then tried to sell me some television package, but I told her I was not interested, that I don’t watch TV. Then she tried to sell me a movie streaming service. I explained that I wasn’t interested in that either, that I don’t watch movies on the computer or phone. And I started to get annoyed, feeling that she was wasting my time. I was polite, but said again I wasn’t interested, and told her to have a great day. And I meant it.
  • The call ended at approximately 1:45 p.m.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

My Troubles With AT&T: Update May 24, 2018

After three different AT&T employees, on two different days, assured me that my service would not be interrupted until May 31st or June 1st, while the problem of the bill was being solved, today I woke to find my service had been shut off. But after a couple of calls, involving a total of seven AT&T people, it seems that the problem may be at an end. As you'll recall, I had been promised that two bills would be reduced to $0 because of the poor service. But Patrick, the man who made the promise (on March 12th), failed to follow through, and also failed to document the call. So I've been fighting for what I was promised ever since.

Here is the latest (and I hope final) installment in "My Troubles With AT&T":

May 21, 2018 (continued)
  • At 4:53 p.m., I got the mail, including a notice that my service will be shut off on the 23rd. The last I was told was that nothing would happen until May 31st. Can no one get anything right?
  • At 4:54 p.m., I once again called AT&T and was put on hold.
  • At 5:03 p.m., Scarlet (badge number VHRKVD6) answered and said she couldn’t hold the account any longer. She said the dispute was settled on the 15th, a lie. Then she asked me to watch my language, because I was like “Fuck me sideways.” I apologized for my tone, but seriously fuck me sideways.
  • At 5:13 p.m., she told me she couldn’t do anything, and transferred me to customer service and told me to request an escalation. Well, that’s what happened last time. I was put on hold again.
  • At 5:14 p.m., Alexander (badge number XL242D) answered. He told me I’m all set, that my services will not be shut off until June 1st, but that I should be hearing from them before then with the resolution to my problem regarding the bill.
  • At 5:27 p.m., the call ended.
May 22, 2018
  • At 4:29 a.m., when I turned on my computer, my server wasn’t connected. It only took a moment to connect, but this is how the trouble has started in the past.
May 23, 2018
  • At 6:56 a.m., AT&T responded to a comment I had left on the company’s Twitter page. This was the response: “Hello Michael! We are here for you. If you don't mind could you please shoot us a DM with more details regarding your service concern along with your account number for further assistance. We are eagerly standing by. Thanks! ^RazR”
  • At 9:39 a.m., when I saw this response, I in turn responded: “I don't believe you. I've gotten that same message from AT&T multiple times. Then I explain the problem. And then, nothing. Just nothing. My messages get ignored and so on. I need to talk to someone in charge.”
  • At 9:45 a.m., AT&T again responded: “We would love the opportunity to change your opinion about us! May you please send us a DM with more details of the issue and provide us with your account information as well? Let's get this going for you! ^JalG” (Once again, notice that it is a different name each time – RazR and JalG.)
  • At 9:47 a.m., I responded: “I sent ATTCares a message via Twitter two days ago, actually, with a link to my blog detailing the latest in this ongoing problem. Did you not read that message?”
  • I then sent them the link to my latest update on the blog again. No response.
  • At 11:10 a.m., I got another automated call from AT&T asking me to call the company’s 1-800 number to discuss my bill. Bloody hell, that’s all I have been doing. I’ve called that number so many times in the past few months. Now I demand that an actual person from that company call me.
May 24, 2018
  • When I woke up, I discovered that my phone and internet service had been shut off. Yup. Even though both Kelly and Cheryl promised (on May 1st) that my service wouldn’t be interrupted until May 31st, and Alexander (badge number XL242D) promised me (just three days ago) that my services would not be interrupted until June 1st (and that the problem would certainly be solved before then), my services were shut off. Incredible.
  • At 10:19 a.m., I called AT&T using my cell phone, and of course was put on hold before reaching a real person.
  • At 10:20 a.m., Marie (badge number KS338R) answered. I asked to speak with the head of customer service and explained only that my services were shut off after I was promised that nothing would happen until June 1st. I didn’t get into the specifics of the whole problem, though I did give her Alexander’s badge number. She said she would speak with her supervisor, and put me on hold.
  • At 10:28 a.m., she got back on to tell me that the head of customer service would be calling me back on my cell phone. I asked if it was possible to get this person on the phone now, as no one has ever called me back during this entire thing. Marie was surprised by that, and was so sweet, and said she’d try to get him on the line now for me.
  • At 10:30 a.m., she got back on the line to tell me that she tried to reach him, but he was on another call. She promised me he would call me back in ten to twenty minutes. I told her I would try to remain optimistic.
  • At 10:50 a.m., he had not yet called, making me wonder if he really would.
  • At 11:06 a.m., my optimism began waning. Why can no one at AT&T help me? I tried to remain calm, but I didn’t want to spend yet another day dealing with this problem. I had stuff to do. Of course, most of those things required that I be online.
  • At 11:15 a.m., I was getting depressed. Ten to twenty minutes had now stretched to forty-five. At what point do I call again, and start over? And is there even a point to any of this? I was beginning to doubt that anyone at AT&T was even willing to help me, never mind capable.
  • More than an hour passed since Marie promised I would be hearing from the supervisor within twenty minutes. Did he get the message? Did his phone call run long? Is he at lunch? Have I been forgotten once again? I wish Marie would call me back to let me know. That would have been nice.
  • At 11:43 a.m., I was almost certain that no one would be calling me.
  • At 11:44 a.m., I called again. Depressed and angry.
  • At 11:46 a.m., Jake (employee number JP250M) answered. I told him I needed to speak to the head of customer service. He put me on hold to find out who was available.
  • At 11:50 a.m., Ron (employee number RC100R)  answered. I briefly told him the story. He said he needed a couple of minutes to read over the report. He then told me he couldn’t make the adjustments that were promised. I told him my bill would have to be $0 for me to stay with AT&T. He saw in the record that my services should not be interrupted until May 31st. (I guess Alexander didn’t follow through on his promise to adjust that to June 1 to accommodate my work schedule.)
  • At 12:03 p.m., he put me on hold to check something, not sure what exactly.
  • At 12:05 p.m., he got back on to tell me he was reaching out to someone from collections, and put me on hold again. This time, with music.
  • At 12:06 p.m., I heard a ringing. And an automated voice told me my approximate wait time was seven minutes, and more music played. So I guess he transferred me to someone. Would I have to tell the story once again? And did this mean Ron wouldn’t help me any further?
  • At 12:15 p.m., Mike in accounts receivable (employee number MD1415) answered. I briefly told him the delightful story. He pulled up the account and read some of the notations.
  • At 12:22 p.m., he told me he saw the note about the guy calling me back within 10 to 20 minutes, and said he was going to try to get that guy on the line for me, because he was the one who could help.
  • At 12:24 p.m., I heard ringing again, and was placed on hold. I’d been transferred again. John (employee number JO608H) answered. I told him the story. He said the only person today who put any note in my record today is Jake.
  • At 12:37 p.m., he told me he’d restore my services, and that nothing would happen until the end of the month. I’d heard that before, but was still hopeful. I told John that basically there are many people at AT&T who are not doing their jobs. I mean, this would never have been an issue at all if Patrick had simply done what he promised, or at least noted the promise in my record. He did neither. And of all the people I’ve spoken with today, only one made a note in my record. So who knows how much of the actual story is in even in the record for John to read? My guess is that 20% of it is in there, and that’s an optimistic and kind estimate.
  • John put me on hold, while he was restoring my service. And I realized this second call (which I placed at 11:44 a.m.) was now nearly an hour long.
  • At 12:44 p.m., we hit the one-hour mark in the call, and I was still on hold.
  • At 12:45 p.m., I got a call on my home phone. So is my service working? Or maybe I still can’t call out? I figured it was AT&T testing the line, and I answered, but the woman on the other end asked me if I speak Spanish. “Yes,” I said. “Is this AT&T?” The woman replied, “No.” So I told her I needed to go.
  • Though still on hold, at 12:47 p.m., I placed a call using my home phone. And it worked. So, hurrah, John followed through.
  • At 12:49 p.m., he got back on to tell me that my services had been restored. Regarding the bill, he said he was escalating the matter to the head of customer services so that the problem would be resolved. As far as I recall, this is the third (maybe fourth) time I’ve been told the issue was being escalated.
  • At 12:53 p.m., I heard a ringing again. Gina (employee number GBW9BY9) answered. As I started to tell her the problem, she interrupted to tell me that I’d been connected to the wrong department. Oh boy. She was from the wireless, cell phone department. I asked her to transfer me back to John, but she told me she was unable to do that. So I asked her to transfer me to the head of customer services. “I can’t make any promises,” she told me. Hey, there is some honesty! And I was put on hold again.
  • At 1:03 p.m. Peggy (employee number PW4247) in Atlanta answered. I told her the story. She put me on hold to see if a supervisor could make the necessaryadjustment to the bill. She came back after a few minutes to say it would be a little longer. I was calm and suddenly optimistic. Could this be the person who finally solves the issue?
  • At 1:18 p.m., she came back on the line and said that her manager will take care of it, but that it might take a little while, and I needed to be placed on hold again. Peggy was so nice, and now I was certainly optimistic that the problem was going to be resolved.
  • Peggy came back on to say her supervisor gave the adjustment the okay, and that all that was left to do was get the okay from the manager who had already left for the day. So tomorrow morning it should happen first thing. Hurrah!
  • At 1:26 p.m., the call ended. And I then listened to Grateful Dead’s “Peggy O” in honor of the person who finally solved the problem. And then I listened to “Uncle John’s Band” in honor of the person who had my services restored.
What do you think, folks? Could this be the end of the story?

Monday, May 21, 2018

My Troubles With AT&T: Update May 21, 2018

I am so incredibly frustrated with AT&T, mainly with the company's failure to honor promises regarding my bill, but also with its continuing inability to solve the issue. Over and over, I will speak with someone at AT&T who promises to get to the bottom of the issue. And then, invariably, I never hear from that person again.

Briefly, what happened is, after continued problems with my service, I was promised in February that my next bill would be $0. When it arrived, it was the usual amount. At that point, I was again without service (landline and internet). So I used my cell phone (thank you, Verizon) to call AT&T on March 12th. On that day, an employee named Patrick promised me he had taken care of that bill, and promised me that my next bill would also be $0. He didn't. And it wasn't. So now AT&T was demanding money, including a late payment tacked on, for bills I was promised would be $0. Again, that was on March 12th. It is now May 21st. Not only has the problem not been resolved, but no one has followed through even on the various promises to keep me apprised of the situation. You see, all calls to AT&T are recorded. So there is, somewhere, a recording of that March 12th call. I was told they couldn't find it; then I was told they hadn't looked for it; then I was told they never listen to those calls anyway; then I was told again they would find the recording.

Here are links to earlier updates:
- April 12, 2018
- April 12, 2018, Part 2
- April 13, 2018
- April 16, 2018
- April 29, 2018
- May 1, 2018

And now here is the latest:

5-1-18 (continued)
  • A little after 5:30, I tried to get online, but for some reason I was not connected. I then connected, but after a moment was kicked offline. I connected again, and things seemed to be okay. For eight or nine minutes.
  • At 5:42 p.m., I was kicked offline again. My phone, however, was working. And the broadband light was green on my modem. What new problem was this?
  • At 5:44 p.m., I was able to get online again.
  • At 5:45 p.m., I was kicked off again.
  • At 5:47 p.m., it seemed to be working. Nope. At 5:49 p.m., it went out again.
  • At 5:54 p.m., I called the last technician who visited me and left a message explaining my new problem.
  • At 6:01 p.m., I gave up and turned off the computer.
  • At 6:58 p.m., the technician sent me a text message: “Try factory resetting the modem by holding down the red button on the back for 30 seconds and let it reset. When the broadband and service lite go solid green u should be good to go”
  • I replied: “Thank you. Will try now…”
  • I dd as he suggested. I didn’t get back on the computer right away, because I was so frustrated.
  • At 8 p.m., I turned the computer back on. I was not connected to the server, but was able to connect quickly. However, it didn’t last. I was kicked off several times, and had to keep connecting.
  • At 8:07 p.m., I sent another text message to the technician: “Service cuts in and out, but green light on modem remains on. I have to keep connecting to the network.”
  • Problem continued. At 8:14 p.m., I had to connect again.
May 9, 2018
  • At 11:55 a.m., I sent AT&T this message on Facebook: “So now you're ignoring my messages? AT&T is the absolute worst company. Each person says he or she will help, but no one follows through.”
  • Since no one was even reading my messages anymore, I added this one at 12:09 p.m.: “By the way, what is the deal with this payment to Michael Cohen's fake company? You want some insight into Donald Trump? Here is some: He's a whiny, self-obsessed, sociopath who is incapable of caring for anyone but himself. He desperately wants people to love him, and thinks they do. I will accept my consulting fee now.”
  • Then, at 11:35 p.m., I sent this message: “I guess that's it, eh? From now on, you won't be responding to my messages. Nice.”
  • No response. These messages were never even read (you can tell when someone reads a message on Messenger).
  • At noon, I left this comment on AT&T’s Facebook page: “AT&T is terrible. I have been having a problem with the company following through on a promise. This has been going on for two months. Someone will respond, say he or she is going to help, and then never follow through. Now AT&T is ignoring all the messages I've sent through Facebook. And they haven't called me back, though multiple people promised they would. How can AT&T treat its customers like this?”
May 10, 2018
  • At 11:57 a.m., I left this comment on AT&T’s Facebook page: “So, is AT&T just ignoring the messages I've sent now? You say you'll help, but you never follow through. What kind of way is that to treat your customers? Is there is a single competent person in your company who can finally solve the problem I've been having for months? I don't think so.”
May 14, 2018
  • At 12:43 a.m., I sent this message via Facebook: “So, for the record, the last time you responded to - or even read - one of my messages was April 26th. What's the deal? Are you all busy doing damage control because of the insane Michael Cohen deal, and have no time to speak with your customers?”
  • At 12:45 a.m., I also posted that message on AT&T’s Facebook page. 
May 21, 2018
  • I received an automated call from AT&T, but hung up. It was about paying my bill. I do not accept calls from recordings. I demand to hear from an actual person.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Donald Trump And The Search For The Great Golden Fountains

      Donald Trump and his girlfriend Ivanka were playing Donald’s favorite board game, Monopoly. Donald had adapted the rules somewhat, and would begin each game by borrowing heavily from the bank. Often he would keep his game piece at the bank, and instruct other players to make the purchases he wanted. In that way, no one was really playing against him. And that’s how Donald liked it. His best friend, Michael Cohen, was usually his favorite companion in the game. But Michael was busy buying sixteen new phones and destroying secret documents in his tree fort, and Ivanka filled in nicely for him. She and her pet rabbit Jared were willing to play the game however Donald wanted it played. They both understood that rules don’t apply to everyone in the same way. Donald made sure the bank gave them some money and property too, though he didn’t allow any other players to put up hotels on their properties. While Donald was busy putting up his newest gold hotel (he’d had a servant paint the pieces), he received an urgent call from his pal Vladimir.
     Vladimir had helped Donald out of several jams in the past, but now Vladimir needed his help in solving a mystery. Two of Vlad’s best gals had disappeared. At first Donald wasn’t sure why he was being called about this matter, until Vlad told him the names of the missing girls – Cherry and Nikki. Donald knew them well. They had helped him get revenge on one of his major adversaries, Barack, by urinating all over a bed that he once slept in. It was a sweet moment, perhaps the best moment of the last decade, and afterward Donald had made a list of other items Barack had touched, for further revenge. So he was eager to get in touch with these two beautiful women anyway. Great gorgeous golden fountains, he thought of them. And he loved all things golden. But now they were missing, and it was up to Donald to solve the case.
     Vlad told him he could assemble a small team to aid him, that he would cover the costs, so Donald invited his close friend Sean and his human gargoyle, Rudy. Donald explained to them the mission. Both were excited about the trip to Russia. Rudy showed his excitement by catching small rodents in his teeth and leaving them in front of Donald’s bedroom door. Sean exclaimed, at receiving the invitation, “Oh, we can have a pajama party in the hotel, and I can wear my new big boy pajamas.” He added, “It will be even better having you right next to me than talking to you all night on the phone.”
     “True,” Donald agreed. “But remember, we have a job to do. Our focus must be on the golden fountains. Code name: pee-pee girls. We have to find them and give them this list I made of things for them to pee on.”
     “Of course,” Sean said. “But we’ll have the entire plane ride over to cuddle and talk.”
     And that’s exactly what they did, while Rudy slept peacefully in the cage at Donald’s feet. It was a good thing Rudy was well rested, because as soon as they landed, Donald sent him out to catch the scent. “Find anything that’s been peed on,” he told Rudy. Donald gave him a small strip of the bed sheet he had saved from the hotel room he’d shared with the golden fountains. Rudy held the cloth in his mouth and bounded out into the streets. “Go get ‘em, boy,” Donald shouted after him in encouragement.
     Sean then turned to Donald, and said, “Should the two of us get settled into our hotel room?”
     Rudy ran through the city, the soiled sheet dangling from his mouth. It wasn’t long before he picked up the scent. And once he caught it, he couldn’t lose it. These girls had peed on everything! It ended up confusing Rudy, and he leaped from one side of the road to the other, from park bench to parked car, from building to building, clinging to fire escapes and balconies, his nose aflame with the scent. Was there anything these girls hadn’t peed on? But Rudy soon realized these were old trails. He needed to find a more recent sample of their golden delights. He was going to need to do some investigative work. But first he needed to go to the hotel room for a treat.
     When he got to the suite, Donald and Sean were in bed. He bounded over to Donald’s side of the bed, and sat on the carpet, waiting patiently for his master’s attention.
     “Back so soon, boy?” Donald asked when he noticed Rudy several minutes later. “Oh, I know what you want. Sean, hand me my pants. I keep treats for Rudy in one of my pockets.”
     Once Rudy had eaten a couple of treats, he was ready to make his report. “The scent of Cherry and Niki is all over this city,” he told Donald. “But the trails are all old. I need to go to their home, or wherever they were last seen, so I can pick up a fresh trail.”
     “Good thinking, Rudy,” Donald told him. “We’ll all go together.” He turned to Sean. “Sean, you’ll have to change out of your pajamas.”
     Sean pouted, but obeyed, pulling off his one-piece pajamas that had “I’m a big boy” printed on the front.
     Less than an hour later the three of them stood in the girls’ apartment. It was Donald’s first time inside it. On his previous trip he had simply honked his horn, and they had come running out to the street. Their apartment was surprisingly tasteful, rather sparsely decorated, and Donald didn’t care for it. Sean stepped into the closet to look for clues while Rudy began sniffing around on the floor. When Rudy got near the bedroom window he started salivating.
     “Found something, Rudy?” Donald asked.
     “The trail begins at the window,” Rudy replied.
     The window was open, and Rudy immediately leaped out through it onto the walkway
     “Sean, let’s go,” Donald shouted to his friend. “Rudy has picked up the trail.”
     Sean stepped out of the closet, wearing a long, terribly revealing dress which was much too snug for his generous frame. “I thought it might help to have something of theirs,” he explained.
     “Quick, out the window,” Donald told him, and Sean climbed out, as Donald made his way around through the door. By the time Donald made it to the side of the building, Rudy was beside himself with excitement, leaping and shouting. The gargoyle had a lot of energy, a lot of spirit, and was eager to please his master. Perhaps that was to make up for moments when he had disappointed him, saying things he shouldn’t have said. Rudy loved to talk, and he loved being at the center of events, and sometimes that eliminated his underdeveloped sense of discretion. Donald reprimanded him then, taking away his favorite squeaky toy and not letting him drink the blood of any stray dogs for a fortnight. It was an ache and humiliation Rudy did not want to suffer again. He would never let his master down in that way, not if he could help it. And now he felt positively electric, the stench of urine strong in his nose, victory nearly in reach. But he had to wait for his master to give the signal. Donald seemed to enjoy keeping Rudy in this heightened state, waiting several moments to catch his breath after the walk around the building before finally saying, “Okay, let’s get them.”
     Rudy then leaped straight into the air, propelling himself forward by his own foul and fetid wind.
     “That creature is full of surprises,” Sean observed, and he and Donald followed him down the street. Sean, who never really looked into matters very closely, began to ponder the girls’ fates. Clearly, someone had grabbed them. Or scared them. People don’t generally leave their apartments through their windows. He didn’t doubt that they would find the girls, but he wasn’t sure what condition they’d be in when they did. Donald’s extended plans for revenge might not work out. Of course, he kept those thoughts to himself as they followed Rudy through the city.
     Ahead, Rudy stopped in front of a particularly imposing building. He stared up at its dark edifice and grimaced. There was danger here. He felt it in the scales of his skin. But he was also certain that Cherry and Nikki were somewhere inside.
     “In there, Rudy?” Donald asked, when he and Sean caught up to him.
     Rudy nodded his head in reply, not taking his eyes off the structure. It was dark grey in color, and tall. Not as tall as Trump Tower, a fact which gave him some relief. But tall, with an aura that made him uneasy. Dark forces made themselves a temporary home here.
     “Okay,” Donald said. “Let’s go in.”
     Rudy was impressed by his master’s fearless disposition, and he did his best to dispel any lingering feelings of fright in his own warped body, as Sean opened the door for them.
     It was quiet inside. The overhead lighting had been dimmed. And no one was behind the front desk.
     “Weird,” Sean said.
     “Yes,” agreed Donald. “Why is no one here to greet me and tell me how great I am? Is this a dream?”
     Sean peaked behind the desk. There was no sign of anyone. And the security monitors were all turned off.
     “Are you sure this is where the pee-pee girls are?” Donald asked Rudy.
     Again, Rudy nodded, but said nothing. The scent of the women was strong, and it led him over to the stairwell. The women had gone upstairs.
     “Now, wait a minute, Rudy,” Donald said. “No one said anything about stairs.” He glanced at the stairwell. “You know, I could probably find two other girls to pee on Barack’s things.”
     But Rudy was already cautiously making his way up the stairs, and Sean followed. So after a moment Donald began in incredibly slow, arduous ascent, pausing after each step to reevaluate the situation. The situation was less and less to his liking, and things seemed grim. He was just about to give up the entire mission when he suddenly caught up to Rudy and Sean, who had stopped at the second floor landing.
     “They’re close,” Rudy said, sniffing the floor and looking down the long dark corridor. “Very close.”
     “Great,” Donald said. “Go find them, Rudy.”
     Rudy, eager to finish the mission, please his master, and get back to his crypt, happily obeyed. The trail brought him halfway down the hall. He stopped before a closed door. “Here,” he told Donald. But Donald could have figured it out for himself at that point, for there was a puddle of urine in front of the door.
     “I’ll take it from here,” Donald said.
     Something smelled funny to Sean, whose long-dormant power of observation, now having clawed its way to daylight through layers of fog and fat, was making up for all that time it had slept, ignored and unused. Everything told him something was wrong here, but before Sean could tell Donald that, Donald opened the door and stepped inside the room, quickly followed by his gargoyle. Sean loved Donald dearly, but his instinct was to flee.
     He ignored his instinct.
     Sean stepped into the room, shocked by what he saw.
     Cherry and Nikki were tied to metal chairs in the center of the room, their mouths gagged. Upon seeing Donald, they started shaking their heads violently, calling out to him, their words muffled by their gags.
     “Pee-pee girls, what happened?” Donald asked as Rudy removed their gags.
     “Get out, Donald, it’s a trap,” Cherry exclaimed as soon as she was able.
     “Is that my dress?” Nikki shouted.
     Just then, several large men stepped in behind Sean, blocking the door and eliminating any hope of escape. Sean stepped toward Donald instinctively for safety, needing his warm glow in this moment of fear and uncertainty. As he did, another figure stepped out of the shadows on the opposite side of the room, letting out a delighted, twisted laugh as she did. Donald, Rudy and Sean all spun around to see their adversary.
     “You! What are you doing here?” Donald asked, aghast.
     “Thank you for falling into my trap,” Hillary said, enjoying the moment immensely. “It was all too easy, just as the election should have been.”
     “Hillary, what do you want with the pee-pee girls?” Donald asked.
     Hillary shook her head in disbelief.
     “So many things should have taken you down, Donald. So very many things. But now I have you. In Russia with your prostitutes. With witnesses. This is the end of Donald Trump.”
     “Oh, I don’t like the sound of that,” Donald said.
     Sean clung to Donald in fear. “Is it the end of Sean Hannity too?” he asked nervously.
     Hillary turned her attention to him for the first time. “Sean, no one cares one way or the other.”
     “But people do care about me,” Donald said. “They love me.”
     While Hillary focused her attention on Sean and Donald, Rudy was busy slowly making his way closer to the guards. When he was next to them, he opened his mouth impossibly wide, his eyes bulging too, a dark noxious cloud issuing forth from his mouth and filling the doorway.
     “Now, Master!” Rudy yelled from within the dark cloud. He leaped over the bodies of the guards and made his way back down the hall, followed by Sean and by the furious screams of Hillary. Rudy and Sean reached the end of the corridor before looking back to see that Donald was not with them.
     “Master?” the concerned gargoyle called out. For a moment there was no reply. Then from the dark cloud in the doorway a large form emerged. For a moment, Sean worried it was the two guards, having combined their bodies into some kind of super guard, an unstoppable force. But then he recognized his sweetheart’s soft features.
     Donald stepped into the corridor, heroically carrying a girl under each arm. “I couldn’t leave the pee-pee girls behind,” he said as he rejoined his team. “I need them to pee on things for me.”
     Rudy started to head down the stairs, but Donald stopped him.
     “Hang on, let me call Vlad,” Donald said, pulling out his cell phone. “Should I just post a message on Twitter? He’ll probably see it. He always likes my posts.”
     “Maybe you should call him,” Sean suggested. But as Donald placed the call, Sean started to get another of those unfamiliar sensations. He would have called it insight, had he been familiar with the word. Could Vladimir have set them up? After all, it was his call that had led Donald there in the first place.
     “Hey, Vlad, it’s Donald. I found your pee-pee girls. Listen, I want to keep them, take them home with me. Is that okay?”
     Sean and Rudy waited while he made a deal to purchase the two girls. But by the time he hung up, Rudy was getting anxious.
     “We should leave now,” Rudy told the group. “That cloud won’t hold Hillary much longer.”
     “But how come the gas didn’t hurt us?” Sean asked.
     “It’s only deadly to Democrats,” Rudy answered.
     Just as they began to go down the stairs, the cloud dissipated and Hillary stepped into the hallway shouting, “I’ll get you, Donald. Mark my words. I’ll get you! And your little gargoyle too.” But she made no attempt to follow them as Donald and his team made their way down the stairs.
     “You are going to love the United States,” Donald told the golden fountains when they reached the street. “There are so many things you can pee on. And the people love me there. I’m like a king.”

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

My Troubles With AT&T: Update May 1, 2018

Friends, I've been having ongoing troubles with AT&T, with both the service, and now mainly with the bill. Because of my crummy service, on March 12th an employee named Patrick (they never give out their last names) promised me that my current bill and next bill would both be $0. He did not follow through on this promise, and others at AT&T have since told me that Patrick didn't document the call, so I would have to pay the bills. I can't stand dishonesty. As I learned later, all calls to AT&T are recorded. So there exists a recording of Patrick making that promise to me. I was told at one point that they couldn't find the recording, but then later was told that no one had yet looked for it. Meanwhile, they've added late fees to my bill. A promise was made to me that they would find the recording. In the meantime I made sure that my services wouldn't be shut off. They extended the time before I'd have to pay a bill to May 3rd, and told me to call back if it weren't resolved by then. Well, that due date is in two days, and so I called today. That call (all 98 minutes of it) is documented in this post (scroll down for that part).

I've posted several updates to this story in the past couple of weeks. Here is the latest.

4-29-18 (continued from previous post)
  • Twitter had locked me out of my main account, but I left a comment on AT&T’s Twitter page using another Twitter account. This was my comment: “My troubles with AT&T have still not been resolved. Incredible! I am documenting everything, because apparently you guys aren't. Here is the latest.” And I included a link to my blog post.
  • At 12:15 p.m., I received this reply: “We'd like to help - please DM us with more info so we can investigate. ^ATTCareTeam”
  • So I sent this message: “Sure thing. I sent messages through my other Twitter account, but I can't access it. I have spoken with dozens of AT&T folks over the past couple of months - on the phone, on Twitter, on Facebook. I'm guessing if you look up my account, there will be plenty of notes. At least, there should be. My account number is (NOTE: I've edited my number out of this post). Let me know what the progress is happening please, if any.”
  • AT&T’s reply: “Thanks for taking the time to provide us with your account number! Before we review your account can you give us a few specifics on your concerns so that we can properly assist you in getting a resolution. We look forward to hearing back!^JayC Social Media Specialist”
  • Not wishing to repeat the entire story once again, I sent them links to three of my blog updates, then added: “I hope you enjoy the reading. I tried to write them with a sense of humor about the whole thing.”
  • This was the response: “We were unable to open the links. Can you tell us the service type and whether this was a billing or service issue? We look forward to your response. ^JReeves”
  • My response: “Weird. I opened them from those links. It was both a service and a billing issue. I was promised - because of multiple and ongoing service problems - that two consecutive bills would be $0. And neither was. I have been promised that they would listen to the recording of the call from March 12th, when the promise was delivered. (Actually, that was the second time I was promised that the first month would be $0, but that is beside the point.) I have been waiting way too long. Just tell me that the problem has been resolved. And I can't see why you are unable to open the links. Did you try copying and pasting them? You could also go to Google, and search for ‘Michael Doherty my troubles with AT&T.’ That works too.”
  • Late at night, I received this reply: “Good morning! We are looking in to your issue and will get back with you. Thanks for reaching out! ^PML”
  • My response: “Wonderful! Thanks.”
Then, nothing.

April 30, 2018
  • At 4:35 p.m., I sent this message to AT&T on Facebook: “No word?”
  • I immediately followed that up with this message: “I find it odd that you haven't replied to any of my last several messages. Actually, no, it isn't odd. Par for the course, it seems, with your company. You reply at first, but then don't follow through.”
  • Having not heard back on Twitter either, I sent AT&T this message late at night: “Any luck? May 3rd was the deadline I was given. But obviously if no progress has been made, then another extension on my services must be implemented. I just don't want my internet and phone suddenly shut off. Can you reply to this specific request?”
No response.

May 1, 2018

Still no response from AT&T, on either Facebook or Twitter. And they haven’t called me either, which is what I was originally told would happen.
  • At 11:48 a.m., I sent this message via Facebook: “Still no reply, eh?”
  • And I sent this message to AT&T via Twitter: “I've sent you messages on Facebook too. And guess what? No response there either. What's going on?”
  • At 12:25 p.m., I left this comment on AT&T's Twitter page: "AT&T says they want to help, but they don't follow through. I have received no responses to messages I've sent via Twitter and Facebook. And I haven't been called back, as I was promised I would be two weeks ago."
  • At 12:34 p.m., I (reluctantly) called AT&T, hoping this wouldn't take a bloody hour. I refused, as always, to talk to an automated voice. Give me a real person! So I just mumbled nonsense into the phone until someone finally picked up.
  • At 12:37 p.m., a person answered. She introduced herself as Hannah Banana (badge # 248611). (And yes, I asked her twice to repeat her name, and indeed that is what she said.) I gave her a quick rundown of the problem.
  • At 12:40 p.m., she said she’d review my account.
  • She kept saying the bill was extended until May 3rd. I kept saying I know that, but May 3rd is in two days, and the problem hasn’t been resolved and the whole point of my call is to extend the extension. And it should be extended indefinitely, until the problem is resolved. 
  • She said she couldn’t help me, that it can’t be extended again until May 3rd, that I will have to call back on the third, which of course doesn’t make any sense. I told her I will be unable to call back on May 3rd, as I am going to be busy that entire day. 
  • Getting annoyed, I asked her to transfer me to someone. She said no one could help me, that it’s because of the system. 
  • Also, she indicated there was no update or notation in my account. So they haven’t found the recording of the conversation from March 12th. Have they even looked? She doesn’t know. Incredible. So nothing has happened in the last couple of weeks. AT&T is apparently just ignoring the problem.
  • I demanded to be transferred to her supervisor. She again told me a supervisor won’t help. I said, “Well, then he can transfer me to his supervisor, and we can work our way up the line to the goddamn head of the company if necessary.” I apologized to her for my tone, but I was getting furious. She must have understood my frustration.
  • At 12:56 p.m., she transferred me. Or at least she said she did. I was placed on hold. No music. Just space.
  • At 12:58 p.m., she came back on to say she was transferring me now. And guess what? I was put on hold. Bloody hell. These calls can never be quick. AT&T sucks.
  • At 1:08 p.m., I was still on hold, and becoming angrier. I do have other things to do today. How much time have I spent dealing with AT&T this year? At this point, I think they should give me another month for free just to make up for wasting so much of my time.
  • At 1:21 p.m., I was still on hold, and sent this message to AT&T on Facebook: “I am getting furious with AT&T. I am on hold at the moment, trying once again to get this problem resolved. Dozens of employees say they are going to help. But so far, not one has followed through.”  
  • At 1:34 p.m., Kelly (in the Detroit, Michigan office) answered. She said she has no badge number, but that there are no other Kellys in the Detroit office. 
  • Kelly told me they can’t even find calls, that searching for calls is something they don’t even do. “Then why do they record calls?” I asked. “That makes no sense. Why record every call if you never go back to listen them?” 
  • She told me she will note in my account not to shut off service, but that she couldn’t guarantee my service wouldn’t be shut off. Basically, she couldn't guarantee that someone would read her note. Insane.
  • At 1:48 p.m. I asked, “Well, what is the solution then?” She replied that she’d check, and she put me on hold.
  • At 1:49 p.m., she came back to say she’d transfer me to the collections department. I was put on hold again. She told me she’d explain the situation to someone in that department so I wouldn’t have to go through the whole story again. This AT&T story is becoming the story of my life. Does life exist outside of this problem? I don’t know.
  • At 1:53 p.m., Kelly came back on, as well as someone from collections, Cheryl.
  • At 2:02 p.m., Cheryl from collections said the bill will be extended until May 31st.
  • At 2:12 p.m., the phone call ended. Kelly assured me that everything would be held until May 31st, including the next bill, which I will actually need to pay. She also told me that she was “escalating” the resolution, and that her manager would have my contact information. So I shouldn’t have to call back. Someone will actually call me. Will that really happen? Stay tuned.