Wednesday, June 16

Procedures (and the AFDB)

If only I hadn't wanted to keep my old number. I activated my new cellphone via the web on June 2nd, and was finally able to use it yesterday -- when my old carrier finally threw in the towel.

The delay was related to The Procedures that my old and new carriers followed. I've always despised anything but lightweight procedures; they evoke memories of a factory job, or one of those Full Employment McDonalds (one person takes your order, another takes your money, and a third feeds you).

I'm sure The Procedures are there to "protect me, the consumer" but it's frustrating. What should have taken a few minutes (I understand the technical merits, trust me) stretched into 13 days of torture, because they are Just Following Procedures.

After another concall (realtime), we finally convinced AT&T that I really, really wanted to drop their service, and they agreed to release my old number. A few hours later, I got a Text Message on the new phone saying "Welcome to Virgin Mobile!" Yeah!!

Humor: I can still make outbound calls on my old phone (but it only rings on the new one). At some point, they'll fix that. I called the old carrier and asked to cancel the contract, but they said my new carrier would do that automagically. Indeed.

When I called my new carrier's tech support on Sunday, they said that they got a -1 error code when they tried to enable my service. Each time, I had to call them; there's no proactivity in the cellphone biz. Apparently my ESN [Electronic Serial Number] was Already In Use (obviously not purged when I initially activated the phone and was given a Shiny New Number, which I didn't want).

In case it's not obvious, precious little troubleshooting happens outside 9a-5p Monday-Friday. There are 168 hours (24x7) in a week, but a 40 hours US work week is less than 25% of that. In an environment where multiple companies must work together to solve a problem, it mostly happens in that 40-hour Window Of Opportunity.

The Hard Sell
Meanwhile, I took my car to the dealer for the last warranty service (Jack turns 3 this month) and proceeded to the car rental place for Today's Transportation. By the time I arrived, they only had 3 vehicles on the lot: a Mazda, a Taurus and a pickup. Before they plop the keys in your hand, they inspect the exterior for dings and scratches then try to sell you some completely unnecessary insurance for $16+ a day. The gent said "most people just buy the basic coverage" while not explicitly saying "your own insurance will cover this anyway". I smiled, then declined his offer.

Just to be safe, I'll just wear my Aluminum Foil Deflector Beanie [AFDB] today, while dodging the Coronary Mass Emissions (CME) which are blasting our satellites, Way Up There. I wonder if the staff at ABQ are advising passengers today? (note the quote: The Federal Aviation Administration earlier in the week issued an alert -- the first of its kind ever -- cautioning passengers about extra radiation they would receive during flights above 25,000 feet north of Albuquerque and similar latitudes.)

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