Monday October 22, 2012

AT&T saga, part 2

This is just a quick followup to my AT&T post from three weeks ago. It’s long, but you should read it before proceeding.

AT&T I vaguely remembered that both my iPhone orders, the one that supposedly went through and the one that was supposedly canceled, indicated that I’d get my phone between October 21 and 28. This Saturday was the 20th, and I still hadn’t received an email confirmation of placing an order (much less that anything’d shipped) so I figured it was time for a call back to AT&T. I’m battle hardened, so I’m expecting problems. But I’ve also got order confirmation numbers, and a list of phone numbers. I call the one for AT&T “Premiere,” where I was last told they had the information about my order.

When the system comes on, I start hitting “0” per Get Human. The frist thing you get is a long recording giving you all the reasons you might want to hang up and abandon your call. (“If you ordered a phone, it’ll ship in 14 to 21 days. We can’t change your shipping address. Check your status in your account online.” etc.) When the system finally receives your first 0, a much louder and sterner recording comes on.

“I’m sorry, I didn’t understand you!”
“I’m sorry, I still didn’t understand you!”
“Thank you for calling AT&T. Bye!”

And yes, the machine hangs up on you. I call back, and now I have to actually listen to the options. There is (of course!) no option to talk to a human being. I go through the “check your order status” section, knowing full well that I can’t trust what the system will tell me. I’m on hold, and the recording, still trying to convince me to hang up, tells me I can check my “Premiere Order Status at,” a secret page that doesn’t get linked from AT&T’s website or from your account page. I hang up an give it a shot.

It’s a modest page with a single form field. I punch in my order number, and I get a page that says “Your order has been processed and will be shipped shortly.” Online system speak for “fuck off — you’ll get your thing when you get it.” For shits and giggles, I reload the page and punch in my other order number. “Your order has been processed and will be shipped shortly.” Now I’m starting to lose my shit a little. But I call back, go through the system again, and wait on hold.

When I’m “connected,” something very odd happens. I get a strange staticky recording, kind of like you’d hear in a bad WWII movie when the pilot’s way out of range and can’t communicate with the tower? I actually can’t make out most of what it’s saying, but the gist is clear: we’re not here. Call back Monday. And now I really lose my shit. I start sputtering about how I’m going to call back monday morning, cancel my order, dissolve the family account, and get a phone from Verizon, Sprit, anyone but these asshats. Then I decide to hit the twitter.

I don’t think the tweet embed shows you the time it was posted, but it was at 12:52 pm. A few minutes later at 12:56 pm, I added this one:

Obviously I’m not expecting a response, but I got one! At 1:07 pm, this:

Which is pretty strange … if he’s there M-F, how am I getting a tweet? Does he not want me to respond until Monday? Also, AT&T has people answering customer service complaints on the weekend but not anyone answering the phone? And what’s up with the format of this response? A signature?! Whatever. I ignore it. Saturday. Shit to do.

The kicker comes later in the day when I check my email. And now you’ll understand why I went back and double-checked the time on those twitter posts. Here’s 1:16 pm, exactly 20 minutes after my tweet and 26 days after my actual order:

AT&T order confirmation

Coincidence? Seems impossible to believe. But it’s also impossible to believe that a guy that’s on Twitter on a Saturday afternoon can get a phone shipped off. Basically, I have no idea what happened here. All I know is that I’m stuck with AT&T for at least another two years. But yeah, the next time a Republican tells you how efficient free enterprise is, and how government programs are bureaucratic and inefficient, do me a favor. Just chuckle quietly to yourself.

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