Customer Service Issues with AT&T Wireless Telephone

So, two years ago, I got a LG (Android) tablet from AT&T as one of their “get a free tablet when you get an iPhone, if you sign a two year agreement to pay for a line for two years.” The two years expired, and I did not use the tablet in such a way that it required a telephone line. I only used it at home, using my WiFi. And, I did not like the Android as much as I liked the iPad that I got for my hubby.

This month, the two year agreement had expired, and now I was going to have to pay $20/month for the line. I called AT&T and asked them to disconnect the line, explaining that I did not need the line. The customer service rep kept trying to overcome my objections, kept offering me a discount on the line, and would not agree to disconnect it. I persisted, saying I did not want a discount, I wanted to disconnect the line. Finally, I asked to speak to her supervisor, and, after repeating my desire to speak to her supervisor about eight times, she finally put me on hold. When she came back, instead of connecting me to a supervisor, she started to speak, non-stop, for the longest period of time. I kept saying “no, supervisor” repeatedly. When she finally paused for breath, I repeated “supervisor” and she said “hello? hello” I can’t hear you, so I’m hanging up now!” And then she hung up!

I called AT&T back, spoke to a different customer service representative, explaining how frustrated, and angry I was with the representative I had just spoken with. She agreed to disconnect the line, effective today. I asked if I could speak with her supervisor, explaining that I wanted to register a formal complaint against the previous service representative. She immediately transferred me to her supervisor, and I explained the situation, saying I wanted to register a formal complaint. He took the information, and said he would send the complaint to the appropriate department, and arrange for the previous representative to receive better training. Then I asked him for a customer service credit, and he acted like he had never heard of such a thing! I had to explain to him that companies can (and often do) give a customer service credit (on their bill, for example) as a way to “set things right” with customers when they complain about having received poor customer service. So, eventually, he agreed to give me a $25 credit on my bill.

I don’t think that I should have had to go through all of that, and I think that the supervisor should have offered me a customer satisfaction credit, and not waited for me to have to ask for it. With all of the competition out there, for cell phone service, I have to say that I’m surprised at this poor customer service experience that I had today!

The Newest iPhone Makes Life Interesting

Oh, dear iPhone, you certainly make life interesting!

A few months ago I purchased the newest iPhone 6s, and it has been an interesting experience! There are frequent system upgrades that I have to perform on it. If I don’t run the upgrades, it does not allow me to make and receive calls, or texts, and acts crazy in general. Even if I do run the upgrades, it still runs crazy. I try to blame it on solar flares, giving Apple the benefit of the doubt, but I’m not really sure if it is solar flares, or hackers, or if the phone haunted by evil spirits, or if it is simply poorly designed. I wish that Apple would send me a text when an upgrade is needed – sometimes I don’t know an upgrade is needed until I am far away from home, and in the middle of something, and need my phone to be working properly. When performing an upgrade, I can’t use my phone. Sometimes the updates only take ten or twenty minutes, but sometimes they take hours! It would be nice to be able to schedule an automatic time for updates to happen, like in the middle of the night, when I’m asleep. But no, I only find out when I’m trying to use my phone, and it is acting crazy! Very inconvenient!

Speaking of crazy behavior, one example is that many times, (several times a day!) when I have the phone resting on a nearby counter, or in the console of the car, I notice, out of the corner of my eye, that it has decided to initiate a phone call with the last telephone number that either called me, or that I had called! I usually notice it fast enough to disconnect the call before it goes through, but sometimes the call is to someone with caller ID, and they will call me back to ask me why I was calling them. When I explain what happened, sometimes I get the impression that they don’t believe me! I wonder if this happens to anyone else……

The dictation feature of the phone gets crazy sometimes, as well. In fact, many times, it stops working completely and I have to reboot the phone, or turn the dictation feature off, then on again. Sometimes that is an indication that it needs an upgrade. Many times the dictation feature does not understand what I am speaking, and types something completely different! For example, once I said “Facebook” and it typed “Face butt.” Yesterday, I was using it to dictate a text message to someone, telling them that I was just getting ready to go into the Giant Food store in Warrenton. This is what it actually typed:

Giant orange zombie
Giant orange zombie

I almost hit “send” before proof-reading it! I can only imagine what the reaction would have been from the person I was sending the text to! What I had actually said was “We are heading into the Giant Food Store in Warrenton.”

Never a dull moment with my iPhone, that is for sure!

Donating Items To Goodwill or Salvation Army

Over the past several weeks, my sister and I have been putting items in bags and boxes that we wanted to donate to charity. We normally donate items of that type to the Goodwill facility in Culpeper, and the friendly (and helpful) employees give us a receipt for the items, which we can use as proof of donation at tax-time, should we need proof. They also give us a coupon for a percentage off of the items in their store. The drawback (in my mind) to donating the items to Goodwill, is all of the bad press that Goodwill has gotten for how their executive makes a huge amount of money, while the employees are paid very little money. In contrast, the Salvation Army has a better reputation. So, this time we decided to donate my items to the Salvation Army, which has a location in Warrenton. We go to Warrenton more often than Culpeper, so we thought that donating items to the Salvation Army would work out just fine.

The process started out as a challenge. Although we already knew how to get to the Salvation Army location, we thought I’d use my smartphone’s Google Maps app to guide us there. I was thinking that maybe Google Maps would have a creative way to get us there faster, or with shorter distance involved. With my sister driving, we were following the Google Maps directions, zigzagging through town (instead of a direct route that we normally would have taken) up until it told us to turn the wrong way down a one-way street. At the time that it told us to turn, we immediately realized that Google Maps was taking us the wrong way, and we didn’t turn. But, that was rather a scary thought that we might have blindly turned down that road if we didn’t already have a good idea of the roads in town!

So, we ignored the Google Maps directions at that point, and continued on the way we already knew how to get there. Upon arrival at the Salvation Army’s location where they accept donations, we saw a very small loading dock, with the words “employees only” painted on the edge of the dock. On the walls beside the loading dock we saw a lot of “No Dumping” signs. There were several items on the ground beside the walls, and in front of the loading dock, and some items on the loading dock. We could see some employees inside the facility, but they did not seem to realize we were there. We could not see any kind of buzzer, or bell to activate to get their attention, but we decided to start unloading the car.

I put a few items on top of the loading dock, and my sister put a few boxes on the ground in front of the loading dock. Before we were finished unloading the car, a lady came out of the facility and before we could even say “Good Morning,” she started to scold us for putting items on the ground. She told us that there was “No Dumping” allowed. We told her that we were not “Dumping,” we were “Donating.” Continuing her scolding, she pointed to the “No Dumping” signs on the side of the walls, and told us that any item not placed on the loading dock itself was considered “Dumping” and that the employees were not allowed to touch anything that was not left on the loading platform. She said anything left beside the walls would simply be hauled away to the dump!

We said “oh, we had no idea, but the loading dock was full and there is no room for the items we wish to donate, so we were leaving the items on the ground in front of the loading dock.” At that point, a couple of more employees walked up behind us and started to move items off of the loading dock, making room for our items. My sister picked the boxes off of the ground and put them on the loading dock. My sister encouraged the employees to take care with putting their hands in one of the boxes, as there were some sharp kitchen knives in the box, and she did not want them to cut themselves. These employees simply said “OK” and started to remove our items from the platform.

None of the employees (volunteers?) at any point, smiled, or said “hello” or “good morning” or “thank you” or offered a receipt. They were all quite abrupt. This was very off-putting. About four hours later, we found ourselves driving past the facility again, and say a huge amount of black trash bags and items of furniture lined up against the wall, under the “No Dumping” signs. We wondered if the people that left those bags and items there realized that the Salvation Army would not even touch any of those items. How many people have been taking their items to the Salvation Army, thinking that they are doing a good deed, leaving them beside the tiny loading dock platform, expecting the Salvation Army will put those donations to good use?

Next time we decide to donate items, I think it will be somewhere else. I’d at least like to see a smiling face when I am donating items!

Fluctuating Weight

All of my life I’ve had fluctuating weight. It is not unusual for me to gain, lose, and then regain twenty pounds, or more, every year. Because of this, I keep at least three different sizes of clothing at hand. When people give the advice “if you haven’t worn it in six months, get rid of it” I ignore them. Most of my clothes are “classic” style that never go out of style. I could not afford to keep buying new clothes every year when my size changes!

When I lived in New England, my weight gain often coincided with winter, and I called it my “winter weight.” That really did not seem to be related to what I ate, or what activities I participated in. My doctor always seemed to be fine with my weight, whatever it was. Interestingly enough, for about the past twenty years, I have been “borderline diabetic” which means that my A1C count was “almost” at the diabetic level. The doctor always had someone from staff call me with the blood test results, and counsel me on what foods to eat, what foods to avoid, and counsel weight loss. Even when my weight was below the accepted normal weight for a woman my age and height!

Healthy weight (free clip art)
Healthy weight (free clip art)

What has been frustrating is that I have always eaten the “right foods” and avoided the “bad foods” and it makes no difference in my A1C levels. I would have to say that my weight fluctuations have been related to medications that I have been on, and related to stress levels. Sometimes I stress-eat. Sometimes I stress-fast. Whatever. No matter what my weight has been, since I started having children, my doctor has never told me to my face (and the official guidelines for healthy weight for a woman my age always say I am within the normal range) that I need to change my weight. The last time my doctor was concerned was when I was pregnant, and he told me I was gaining too much weight too fast. So I stopped eating a donut for a between breakfast and lunch snack, and switched to yogurt. Problem solved.

One of the interesting things about getting together with extended family for holiday celebrations, is how many of the family members feel that they need to comment on my weight. Most of them are critical of my weight, no matter what weight I am at the time. That makes family gatherings very interesting for me. Knowing that my family cares is fine, but it is hard to keep from feeling defensive all of the time about my weight when my doctor keeps telling me that I am fine (except for being borderline diabetic, which seems to simply be a forever state of being for me!)

Have you lost a black cat recently?

Over the past several years, there has been a longish haired black cat roaming the Shadow Springs Ct/Jeffersonton Rd neighborhood. Nobody seems to know who owns it, but some of the neighbors have been feeding it, as it comes onto their porch and begs them for food. The cat is very friendly. There is a good chance that the owners of this lovely cat moved away – there has been a very high turnover of real estate in the area in the past few years.

Last night, after dark, I was returning home from visiting friends. I was entering the house through the garage door, and I saw the cat in the shadows nearby. At first I thought it was one of my cats (I own black cats) and I called out to it to come inside to eat dinner. The cat approached me, and as it got nearer, I realized that it was not my cat at all, and it was limping badly. Recognizing the cat as the friendly cat that my neighbors feed, I let it into the garage, and shut the door.

I called the neighbors that I knew fed the cat, and advised them that I had their cat, and it was injured. I told them that the cat needed to be taken to a vet for treatment. They said that they did not own the cat and that they would not take it to a vet. They said that they had not seen the cat for more than three days and they had assumed that I had taken it in. (Why, I don’t know….)

Not being able to afford to take every stray, injured animal that I see to the vet (the last one was last spring, and it cost thousands of dollars – and died anyway!) I told them that I couldn’t afford to take it to the vet myself. Again, they said that they would not take the cat to a vet and wished me luck.

I called the non-emergency number to the county Sheriff’s department and asked them to have animal control come get the cat and take it to a vet, and to the shelter. Animal control office had closed for the day, and they took down my name and number and said that someone would call me back.

Waiting for the return call, I went out to the garage and fed the cat. The cat was so hungry – it ate more food than I’ve ever seen a cat eat! The cat also drank all the water in the water bowl.

I fixed up a litter box and a bed for the cat, and filled the bowls with food and water again, and warned everyone in the house to stay out of the garage until animal control could come get the cat.

Animal control came out this morning to pick up the cat. The food and water bowls were completely empty again. The cat was so glad to see us! Came limping up to us as quick as it could get to us, and was rubbing up against our legs, wanting to be loved.

The lady from animal control told me that she was going to take the cat straight to the vet. She said that they would do everything they could to fix the cat up and then take the cat to the animal shelter. She agreed with me that this cat had, at one point, been somebody’s pet. When we picked the cat up, we realized that the cat was injured in more than one place, and the lady from animal control said that she thought that maybe the cat had been “hit.” The left front foot had an infected spot near a claw, and the cat was not using it’s rear left leg at all. She promised to keep me informed as to what they do for the cat. I hope they do, and I hope that the county decides to have the vet fix it instead of putting it down (due to expense.) I hope that someone adopts the cat and gives it a wonderful, loving home.

I am saddened that someone would have abandoned this cat, leaving it to fend for itself in the countryside.