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May 08, 2011   •   By Master Hobbit

Posted under: Finances



After joining modern life a year or three back through upgrading my ‘connectivity’ via smart phone plans and HD cable subscriptions, I’m going back to my cave.  Call me a Luddite, I don’t care. 


As a midlife man with way too many things going on at this point, the cost of connectivity was simply getting too high for my taste.  That cost was more than the $150 per month family cell phone plan, it was the silliness of having emails from five accounts plus every trivial Facebook post ‘ringing’ me up to notice. 


I’m checking my phone so frequently now and I’m wondering for what?  Well, nothing.  I’m just looking.  What is this all about, I sez to myself?  I’m looking just because I can.  Now that just seems a bit of a problem to me.  I wonder what I did when I didn’t have such connectivity.  Was it really nothing?  Must have been.  Even if it was simply me picking my nose, that would have been more satisfying and productive.  But, then again, it might be that I actually accomplished real tasks, you know, like my job or something.  Heaven forbid!


The price of extracting yourself from this circus is not cheap.  Verizon shared with me their own brand of customer retention by stating the obvious, which is that I have a contract. The message I heard in all this is that I’ve been handcuffed to a Verizon post and I can’t go until they tell me I can.  Well, anybody that knows me more than five minutes knows that that pitch really doesn’t work for me. 


I, being the customer, informed them that my life circumstances had changed and I would like to step down to an individual plan with the appropriate monthly charges.  Of course, they apparently didn’t recognize me as a customer but more as some traitor or insidious insurrectionist, as they tagged me for $230 plan change charge, or so I thought.  Apparently Kermit in Verizon-speak is equated with Osama. 


The poor organisms in customer service, a misnomer in itself, are apparently paid to tell me that which I already know, that I signed a contract – jeez, that’s REALLY deep, and thank you for your help.  Gads!


I informed them that I was leaving, complete with appropriate words and hand gestures.  I mean, after being plundered by someone there is just something wrong with simply taking that as somehow okay.  I went back to AT&T.  I felt like I had redeemed my own dignity somehow.


Well, they weren’t done with me yet.  I noticed that one of the lines was still active.  I spoke again with one of the organisms in customer service to learn that they see my plan as really two plans, one for each line.  Cha-ching!  Another $230 to cancel that one.


By this time I’m feeling a bit abused.  Ok, I’m waaaaay past that point, I’m frickin livid!   Then, the organism I was speaking with, true to her script she’s dutifully learned, asks ‘Is there anything else I can do for you?’  Picking up quickly on my role here in this surreal scene, I simply smile and say something to the effect, ‘Well, after being raped, pillaged and plundered by Verizon, what more is there to say?’  She continued on with her line unhindered by my unscripted belch, saying ‘Well, ok, thank you for calling.’ 


I again used the appropriate language and hand gestures, after I hung up, of course. For the record, I don’t bother to disrupt the harmony of the organisms by my verbiage.  I stay pretty close to their script – for their sakes.  But after I hang up, I turn toward Verizon headquarters and offer up my poetry to those sorry sons a…., uh, ok, I’ll spare you the list as well.  However, know that this list of word combinations is extensive, brilliant, and a true work of art.


I wish I could say all is ended on a better note, but AT&T texted me and said I needed to call them in order to get my 15% institutional discount.  I did and they proceeded to tell me that unless I provided copies of my organizational ID card and contract, that I would not get the $7.50 discount.  I informed the customer service gal that she should get it from the store that collected this information and entered it into the system.


She informed me that I would not get the discount if I didn’t fax these documents.  Fax?  Does anyone use a fax anymore?  She assured me it was a working technology.  I informed her that my time was worth way more than seven bucks and invited her to keep it!  I did mention something to the effect that if Verizon is guilty of grand larceny, AT&T was simply a petty thief!


Turns out that customer service at AT&T hires the same type of organisms.


So, I went from ‘smart’ to ‘dumb’ phone for a mere $500, from $150 per month down to $55.  After this, I may regress to simply email and if that becomes a problem, then I’ll write letters!  I’ll show’em!


Next target in my sights, Cox cable! 

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About the Author: Master Hobbit

Master Hobbit is the creator of 4060men. After a marriage of over 30 years ended in divorce, he journeyed for over 5 years as a single midlife man. He remarried in 2012. He is also the owner of the blog platform,, and a blog platform review site,

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