If Bell’s Gonna Pimp, I’m Gonna Whore

How’s everyone enjoying their phone service provider?  Is everyone basking in what is unparalleled customer service and big business value?

I didn’t think so.

My latest episode (and believe me they are all episodes, often with sequels, but then again I’ve got a raging libido) involves Bell Canada.  I’ve been with Bell Internet and land line service for about 10 years.  We’ve had our ups and downs.

Here’s what recently went down.

I made the decision to cancel my home phone line and put my money into a smart phone.  It was no surprise to hear that it would take Bell 30 days to cancel it.  After all they would be dispatching four boys in horse and carriage along dirt trails and often treacherous passages within the great Dominion of Toronto to locate my phone line through trial and error and un-weave the wire one careful twist at a time.  I fully understood.  I was on the hook for one more billing cycle.  I went about researching cell phones.

When the home phone cut off date arrived, I anxiously lifted the receiver to listen to the glorious dead air that would indicate I had managed to sever my over 30 cumulative years of land line dependency.  Except the dead air did not come.   I called Bell the next day on my fully functioning phone.

As has generally been the case when I have called Bell, I usually get the result I want.  Bell seems to like relationships where they keep pushing the money grabbing envelope until, if ever, the customer pushes back and at that point Bell rolls over, spread eagle.

Indeed, the lovely lady on the other end apologized, acknowledged I was right, explained to me that I would receive a credit for those days over and above the cut off date, etc., etc.  Fabulous.  Bell was my bitch now.

Except two days later when my phone finally died, so did my Internet.

You see, no one at Bell had thought it prudent to mention that when they cut my Bell phone service, this would also cut my Bell Internet service.  I was feeling pretty bloody stupid for not making the connection myself.  I borrowed my daughter’s cell phone and called my reinstated lord and master, Bell, for help.

Once again, legs spread and more apologies. They set me up with a dummy phone number through which I couldn’t make calls but could run my Internet.  If I wanted any credit for the number of days I didn’t get Internet before the dummy line was up and running, I would have to call another department.  As it was, it only took to the end of the day to get my Internet back.  Lucky me.  There must have been a plethora of boys, horses and carriages available that day to complete the job.

My “final” land line phone bill arrived, duly listing the credit that had been promised for Bell’s late cancellation.  Yet, a miscellaneous charge sat below the credits.  A Smart Touch 30-day notice charge to the tune of $5.00.

What is this, I wondered?  Back on my daughter’s cell to Bell to have it explained that whatever the hell this never before mentioned Smart Touch feature was, I was getting charged for cancelling it.  Hang on, I had just been forced to pay for 30 more days of service I didn’t want cancelled my phone (somewhat unsuccessfully I might add), been promised a credit, and now Bell was charging me some random, previously undisclosed five dollars for a feature I wasn’t even aware of?  I expressed my displeasure.

Once again, apologies and promises of crediting me with the five dollars.  The woman explained that I would now get an additional “final” bill showing the reversal and credit, followed by a cheque.

I was getting myself and my long-term partner not only wet, but to climax.

The end was in sight.  I secretly rejoiced in my success.  As really old people like to say to me, persistence pays off.  I waited, rubbing my hands together with glee.  Not exactly for $5.00, but for the fact that I had stamina that only guys usually find opportunity brag about.

November, my “final” bill came.  For some mysterious reason (though one fully understood by Bell no doubt) it reflected a $3.36 credit not the $5.00 I had been promised.

The days of my short-lived victory were over. I wasn’t going to fight for an extra $1.64.  I have my pride.  Truth be told and stamina be damned, I was spent.  I couldn’t quite buy a pack of smokes to lay back and inhale after my frolic with Bell, but I could go out and get a nice post-fornication latte when the big money came in.

December found an envelope from Bell in my mailbox.  I felt like the dad in “A Christmas Story” upon receiving his brilliant leg lamp delivery just before Christmas.  I ripped the envelope open with an equal amount of glee.  Could it be?  Was it?  What was it?

It was another “final” bill.  There sat the $3.36 credit with a regulated late payment fee of .92 cents and an unregulated late payment fee of .41 cents.  My credit had gone down from the original $5.00 to $3.36, to a stunning $2.03.

How much longer could I ride this give-and-take emotional roller coaster?

How many more “final” bills would it be until all my credit was used up with late payment charges?

Was I incorrect in thinking I was being charged for something that was mine, earned through copious amounts of time spent on hold and good damn effort?

Had I been that lousy a bedfellow?

The time would surely come when all my credit would be late charged away, and I would begin owing Bell money for a land line that no longer existed.

Bell and I had at some point, unbeknownst to me, moved out of the bedroom.  This was some serious mind fucking going on.

Meanwhile, I had shopped around during my 30 (really 34) day land line window and found the cell phone for me.  The Samsung Galaxy III.  I checked out all the deals with the main cell phone providers.  High on what I thought was going to be $5.00 slipped into my G-string from Bell, I ended up getting my Samsung at The Source for $0  – back when they were $159 everywhere else – plus a $35 store credit, by signing a three year contract – with Bell.

Let’s just say… it’s complicated.

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13 thoughts on “If Bell’s Gonna Pimp, I’m Gonna Whore

  1. We’ve had nothing but trouble with Bell. But it’s not like we have too many options here in Montreal. It’s like the bigger they get, the more incompetent and disorganized. It’s almost Kafkaesque. I wish you well in the madness that is Utility Provider Dating.

  2. I’m happy to send you the difference if only for your being able to experience the full $5. It will take me some time to call in some favors and get the money together, but I’m happy to do it.

  3. Wow. You came up against pure evil. And survived. I personally think you did pretty good. And that’s something about your writing style that leaves me breathless, confused, and looking for a running washing machine to rub up against.

    Remember the old days when the phone company had a monopoly grip on your throat and a customer service attitude to match?

    I can honestly say I have absolutely no problems with my phone company. One of the most exciting days of my life was the day I told them to go to back to Hell. And I meant it, too.

    You see, I have no telephone. The world is prejudiced against my particular form of freedom, too. I often find that when I place an order on the internet, phone number is a required field. You see, it’s absolutely inconceivable to some people that a person would opt-out of phone service. What? You don’t have a phone! Who died?

    I have found it to be about a billion percent more effective at stopping telemarketer phone calls than the Do Not Call list ever was. (It’s a sham.)

    For my next trick I plan to get rid of my house so assholes won’t leave flyers and useless tree-killing phonebooks on my front door any more. I’m getting rather sick of that.

    Thanks for sharing your inspirational story!

  4. Totally, TOTALLY entertaining – & relatable, mind. I love the way you wrote this – the ‘mind fucking’ & G-string – ah, it’s GREAT!

    What a terrific write 🙂 I pay $29 a month for my landline, though I don’t use it other than for internet connection, because Telstra (Australia) tell me I am unable to have internet without landline. $29 a month. Very pissed, can’t wait until 2 years is up & I’m changing.

    VERY relatable.

  5. Wow. Sounds like any time I have to deal with my old gym, 24 Hour Fitness…except they didn’t roll over spread eagle. They slapped me upside the head and started a dual. It wasn’t pretty. But I got my $800 in the end…those damn jerks. It only took a year.

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