Sunday, July 29, 2007

Fe, Fi, Fo, Fu...Fum

Friday morning, the caller ID identified the call coming from a neighbor of the Weebles.

“The telephone’s not working,” said Dad.

So, somehow it fell to me to report the problem to the telephone company. I couldn’t find a repair number in the telephone book. It used to be there. Now they list the web address, and I wanted to talk to a human. Finally, found a number and connected into the automated service trying to troubleshoot the problem. A tip from the several phone representatives I had talked to the week before was to keep shouting ‘agent’ at the computer and eventually I would be connected to a human.

“In order to help you, please briefly describe the problem…”


“If the problem has to do with billing say ‘Billing’”


“If you need technical support, say ‘Tech….”

“Agent! Agent! Agent!”

Himself was chuckling.

“nal Support.”


“I understand you wish to speak to an agent. Is that correct?” the pleasant automated female voice asked.


“Please hold while I connect you to an agent.”

There was a brief pause.

“For quality control purposes your call may be monitored.”

There was another pause.

“This is Jeremy, may I help you?”

“Yes, Jeremy, I’m calling to report a problem with my father’s telephone. You’ll need to send…”

“Oh, before we can send a technician we have to troubleshoot the problem. What seems…”

“My father is 88 years old. His telephone is not working. There is no one that can…”

“But we need to troubleshoot….”

“Look, my father is 88 years old. He isn’t going to be able to go to the network box outside, because he doesn’t know what it is. I’m 30 miles away and can’t troubleshoot for you. You people were out there yesterday and installed FIOS into his home.”

“But we can’t send someone to the house until we trouble shoot the problem. And if we send someone there will be a charge….”

“No, no, no, no, no! There will be no charge! You people were out there to install equipment. The phone was working before your people got there. It’s not working now. That means it’s your problem Something wasn’t installed properly. He shouldn’t pay so you can correct your mistake.”

“But we have to troubleshoo…”

“Connect me to your supervisor.”

“My supervisor is going to tell you the same thing…”

“Amuse me. Connect me to your supervisor.”

“But we have to troubleshoot the problem. And I don’t want to waste your time.”

“Your wasting my time now!” I shouted. “The man is elderly. He has no phone and won’t be able to troubleshoot the problem. I’m 30 miles away and can’t troubleshoot the problem. So, connect me to your damn supervisor!!”

“Would you hold for two minutes while I get the supervisor?”

“Yes, thank you. I’ll hold.”

There was dead air and I continued to talk just in case my call was being recorded. “You people really ought to change your policy when it comes to the Elderly.”

A faint click. “This is Jeremy. My supervisor said someone will be dispatched to the house, but there will be a charge…”

“No! What part of you people installed FIOS YESTERDAY and now there’s a problem with the telephone TODAY, don’t you understand! He is not going to pay for a service call for YOUR TECHNICIAN’S MISTAKE!”

The supervisor must have been listening in and signaled to Jeremy.

“There won’t be a charge. But someone better be at the house to…”

“Someone will be there.”

I think we each slammed the receiver at the end of the call.
I was worried Dad would happily skip downtown because it was Friday, and Friday is the Glee Club rehearsal at the Senior Center. As McNamara the leader of the band, he won't give up rehearsals or singing engagements for love nor money. I called the neighbor lady’s house, identified myself and asked if Dad was there.

“No, he left. I could walk up the street to give him a message.”

Now this poor old soul is in worse shape than my folks “I just wanted to tell him that the telephone repairman is coming and Dad needs to be there to let the repairman in the house.”

“You want me to tell him there’s a package coming and someone has to sign for it?

Help me, Lord! “No, Dearie, the telephone repairman is coming to fix the phone.”

“Oh,” and she hung up the phone.

A helpful but belated suggestion from Himself. “Why didn’t your dad just call the phone company?”

“Because he thinks I’m his secretary Janet and I’ll take care of the nitty gritty details of his day!”

I did a search for the Weebles’ other neighbors’ telephone numbers rejecting this one and that one.

“What about the people in the brown house?”

“She’s a nurse and works. What’s the name of the fella who bought your mother’s house? No, he’s a fireman and works day shift. His wife works too.” I tried calling the people who lived to the right of the Weebles, but got an answering machine. I hope
Dearie can make it up the street to deliver the message and then back home again.”

About an hour later, the telephone company called. “This is Pete. What seems to be the problem?

“Pete? I just pay the bill. I’m 30 miles away and can’t answer your question. All I know is the Weebles don’t have a telephone. My 88 year old dad, walked all the way down the street to a neighbor’s house to use her phone to call me. You just need to head over to their house. Someone will be there.”

Pete was very nice. Said he understood and would be on his way. I just hope Dad was home because Janet wasn’t going to be there to let Pete in.

Later in the afternoon, Dad called from his home telephone. “It’s all fixed.”

“Good, I’m glad. And Dad? Next time you have a problem with the telephone. You need to call the telephone company. They have questions they need to ask you. Questions that I can’t answer. I just pay the bill. I'm not Janet."

1 comment:

Erica Vetsch said...

Your weebles aren't crazy, but they're definitely carriers!