Mason County News
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The Idle American
AT&T'eed Off
Wednesday, October 5, 2011 • Posted October 5, 2011

There is much to justify high-fiving by the “glass half-empty crowd.” The “glass-half-full-optimists” droop, ready to admit that the tiny chip in their glass—like the pebble-pocked windshield blip—is widening.Encroachment is in vogue in our world of distrust, disgust, disharmony, dismay and numerous other “disses.” Now, we are judged guilty until proven innocent—180 degrees askance from what Constitution framers had in mind. Example: Gaining admission to a football game can be as complicated as boarding an airliner. Do security folks know something we don’t?...*****While admitting that additional security measures probably are necessary, I submit that mounting annoyances can finally tip the scale. A personal example concerns changes in my “rule of thumb” on whether to fly or drive to out-of-town speaking engagements. Before 9/11, I typically flew when distances were greater than 200 miles. Now, I favor driving destinations are within 400 miles.The National Football League provides another example. Heretofore, some fans attending games have been subjected to “waist-up pat-downs.” New procedures call for “pat-downs” from the ankles up. Technically, wouldn’t these be “pat-ups?”…*****News items concerning off-the-field violence at football games suggest that “upon further review” purview is justified at admission gates.With “hold-up” admission prices and “pat-down” procedures, fans may question both the value and the safety of the venue.After all, they can stay home and watch games on TV…. *****Statistical probabilities concerning our safety come into play at all levels—even at home.A cautious 10-year-old wanted seat belts on her piano bench.Puzzled, the mother had questions. “Because three-fourths of all accidents occur within 15 miles of home,” her daughter answered….*****The lot of us fall victim to “corporate clamps” that so easily ensnare. In such cases, security is for the “ensnarer,” not the “ensnaree.”Cloaked in fine print difficult to digest, the “clamps” are festooned with the prettiest ribbons, eliminating our ability to resist.For now, I’ll wear the horse-collar, admitting that I smiled with others at that years-ago ad: “We may be the only telephone company in town, but we try not to act like it.”…*****Recent experiences with AT&T suggest that it believes it is the only phone company in the world—and acts like it!I “bungled” in agreeing to the AT&T “bundle”—the one that saves us money and offers the convenience of paying for phones, cell phones, U-Verse TV and Internet in one hefty check.My biggest “bungle” was signing on for “ConnecTech Support Plus” for just $15 more per month. (That way, we’d have benefit of technical support personnel, 24-7.) Ignoring past realities (i.e., the guy who writes banks’ TV commercials is not the same one who makes the loans), I signed on for the whole “kit-‘n-ka-‘bungle.’”…*****For starters, if one begins the week with a “glass half-full” glow, it can be snuffed out in minutes with a call to “Support Plus.” It could be better named “Support Minus.”So far, I have not been connected with the smiling, confident All-American guy with the look of supreme confidence on the AT&T webpage. Instead, I’ve reached the ones who speak broken English at best, words echoing as if originating from the bottom of a barrel.I’ve called “Support Plus” on several occasions, spending 10-15 minutes each time explaining: “No, I don’t want to buy ‘Support Plus.’ I already have it.” I’m passed around to different technicians, each thanking me for my time, choosing AT&T and—finally—offering sincere apologies, with promises to “make a notation” so my request for “Support Plus” will be handled better in the future, etc., etc….*****My most recent “round” with the support program consumed one hour and 52 minutes. I was handed off to other technicians like a catsup bottle at a truck stop.Between sobs, I sat idly by as my call was transferred from continent to continent. Toward the end, a Canadian technician, exuding warmth and understanding, comforted me with assurance that her assistance would be quick and efficient. Sure enough, in minutes if not seconds, I was accommodated. She helped me with the simplest request: to change my email password.Other companies peddling “better bundles” are invited to call. I’m through with AT&T unless I’m given a direct line to that technician in Canada….*****

Dr. Newbury is a speaker in the Metroplex. Send inquiries/comments to phone 817-447-3872. Website:

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