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Member since: Sat Dec 16, 2017, 01:51 PM
Number of posts: 5,335

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I detest AT&T customer service

Like a lot of people, we have moved among cell phone carriers now and then, mostly due to special offers. Right now we're with AT&T.

Now, our expectations from a cell phone carrier are very simple: we expect to be able to make and receive calls, send and receive texts, and download the occasional app. That's it. As long as we can do that, we're fine; no issues with the carrier. However, every time I've had to call them for the past few years, which has been (thankfully) maybe once a year, I've wanted to throw the phone through the wall. Over the past couple of days I've had to call them three times.

First, we received a text message that they hoped we were happy with Smart Limits, and that our free trial would end on such-and-such a date, after which we would be billed $4.95 a month. Problem is, we didn't sign up for this service. So I logged on to their web site to see if I could delete the service, but I couldn't find where to do it. I could find everything else, but not that one.

So I called Customer Service. The first thing I got was their electronic voice asking what I wanted. From previous experiences, I bypassed this, which took some doing, but finally I was able to talk with a real person. Now, I just wanted to do something simple: get rid of Smart Limits. But for some reason we had to go around and around before she finally accepted what I wanted to do. She even asked me about other services I had; she sounded ready for a sales pitch, which I turned down. So we took care of the issue, but all this time I had to listen to a very thick accent and ask her to repeat herself a few times.

I thought that was the end of it.

This morning I get an email from them confirming that we changed our passcode. WTF???? So I tried to log in again, and the system wouldn't let me in. So I said something rather... ummm... strong... and called them again.

After working around the automated voice again, I ended up with a rep. This guy had an even stronger accent than the lady yesterday and kept asking me for IDs and other stuff. Basically, he said he could only talk with the owner of the account. I explained that both our names were on the account, but he wouldn't accept it. Back and forth. Finally I said I would call back and talk with someone else.

Called again, got through the electronic voice, and asked for a supervisor. The rep I spoke with (another heavy accent) asked me for ID and found us (didn't say anything about only talking with the account owner), so he transferred me. A bit later, someone came on (he also had a thick accent) and asked me for ID all over again. This time he couldn't find me: he said none of my passcodes (or whatever: the same stuff I had just given to someone else) worked. So he sent me a text with a number, and blah blah. Finally we straightened out the passcode issue, but then I asked why I couldn't log onto the site with my usual password. His response (as far as I could tell) was that sometimes their system "does that" with customers who have more than one service. So I asked, are you telling me that your system deleted my password because we have more than one service with you? As far as I could tell, he said yes. We reset the password. This time the call took maybe twenty minutes including wait time.

Okay, I said above that my expectations for a cell phone service are simple, and I think they are. But my expectations for a customer service department are also simple, and one of the few things I expect is to be able to understand their reps. I couldn't care less if they are from the U.S., or another part of the world, or Mars, as long as I can understand what they're saying. It makes getting to the heart of the issue, and fixing it, much more efficient. And it takes less time.

On the other hand, I have to wonder if AT&T does it this way on purpose to discourage customers from calling in.

Hopefully everything will work okay for the next year or so and I won't have to call them again. In the meantime, I'm going to start reading reviews on other carriers and seeing what we can do about moving to one of them.

A few obesrvations on shrinks over 40-odd years

I discovered this group yesterday while looking around DU for something (anything) on grief. After reading a number of the posts here, I decided to add my own thoughts.

First, though, what prompted it was one of our cats going to cat heaven yesterday. Burt, an orange tabby, was with us for about twelve years. Friendly, curious, playful, smart, the whole bit, and we like to think he was a happy guy until we took him to our long-time vet yesterday and she gave us the bad news. We are both devastated, and I'm not even a cat person - far from it.

Anyway, I've seen a small number of shrinks on and off, for short periods, over the past forty-odd years, and I've noticed some interesting differences in their approaches. I'm in a creative field where a lot of people think depression goes with the territory, but I've also noticed that people in the artistic end of my field are far more prone to it (artistic and creative are two totally different things, but that's a whole other conversation).

The first time I went, during grad school, I didn't know I was depressed; I just thought there was something wrong. After a couple of sessions, she discovered it: she told me I was "shoulding" myself -- as in "this should be this/that way" and "he/she should/shouldn't do this/that" -- and needed to "shove the shoulds." That was a revelation, and since that time I've tried to keep the word "should" out of my vocabulary. She also told me that one of my biggest frustrations was that I was a racehorse working with a bunch of turtles.

A few years later, in a different city, I went to another shrink. This woman was rather pushy, but she did give me two takeaways. One was that a lot of managers in my company were regular clients of hers (which I found surprising), and the second was to point out that I was basically cutting off my nose to spite my face on this one issue I had.

So far, two shrinks, each for a short period, and I was in my early thirties. So I thought, okay, great, I walk in with a problem and they figure out what it is and tell me what I can do about it. Just like an MD or a plumber. Cool.

A few years later, different city again, I discovered the other approach: keep coming back and talking about your problems. These folks didn't give me anything to take away -- it was like I was there to vent (with an occasional question from them) until I figured out for myself what was wrong and what I would do about it, and then follow up for another period of time. So sure, "your next appointment is next week" ad infinitum.

That's when I developed a game plan for the next shrink, who again was a few years later in still a different city. On the first session, I spilled it out: I was depressed about this or that, I thought it was a pain in the derriere because it interfered with my life, and I wanted to figure out what to do about it in a short period of time. Basically, I said I wanted to cut to the chase. I could tell from her face that she wasn't too happy about a short-term patient, but she accepted it and we went at it, although I did have to repeat "so what do I do about it?" several times.

I don't have a clue if my first two shrinks were trained differently from the second batch, but their approaches were noticeably different. One was "let's fix the problem" and the other seemed to be "let's talk about you."

I also don't have a clue if my situation is "different" from so many other people, or if I'm just "lucky," but I hope these observations will make a few people think about whether their current counselor's approach is a good match for them. In my case, it took several counselors to help me realize what I really needed.

"Fire Mueller!" "Fire Rosenstein!" Is there something we don't know?

Okay, I can understand why the media has these ongoing headlines about DJT maybe firing one or both: they're basically saying, "Come back later today for the next exciting episode of As the Stomach Turns and view our ads while you're at it." Fine. It's about viewer counts and ad rates.

But what I can't figure out is why other people (incl. Bannon) are urging DJT to fire Mueller when it's been reported so many times that it would be a disaster for POTUS, and especially with so many GOPers jumping ship or at least looking over the railing. Are these people (pushing for the firings) just not thinking, or are they using some kind of reverse psychology, or is there something else?

It's hard to believe that people who got so far in government or business are only looking at the short term instead of the long term, especially with elections coming up. So I don't believe it.

What do they want?

What are your favorite online news outlets?

I've gotten into the habit of checking six or seven news outlets on my tablet, three or four times a day. But I keep going back to the same ones and curious as to whether there are some good ones I don't know about.

So, which ones do you like? Online only please, and ideally not overly slanted one way or the other.

All these unethical people in the adminstration

Okay, I am not making excuses here, but I do have to wonder...

The stories about Pruitt renting a room for $50 a night, or the expensive flights, or the security details on personal vacations. All that.
Is it even remotely possible that some of it starts out because:

1. A lot of these people have ZERO experience in government and don't have a clue how things work (and haven't bothered to find out); or

2. They're going, hey, I'm in government now; I can do anything I want. And haven't bothered to find out.

Either way, it makes me wonder why "nobody" ever seems to say, hey, you can't do that. Are the lower-downs ignorant too, or just afraid?

Are we really as angry as the media says we are?

I am so sick and tired of reading about all this anger going around: people on both sides of this or that bashing "the other side." Tweets and counter-tweets. Protests. Yadda yadda. This morning I was ready to do a post here, saying, basically, "Grow the f**k up and get a life, America!"

Then I said, okay, wait one.

So I'm going to ask for your personal opinion, based on your personal experience: do you believe America is as angry as the media makes us out to be, or do you think a good chunk of the coverage is just to get people to read about it and see the ads while they're at it? IOW, clickbait?

And here's a bonus question: do you think all this coverage is actually making people angrier about the issues discussed?

My answers based on my experience: I think a good chunk of it is clickbait, and yes I think it's making some people more pissed off because they get caught up in it.

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