John Y’s Musings from the Middle: Customer Service

1235499_10153249851185515_915033853_nYes! It really can happen. And just did to me.

No. Not anything catastrophically bad. Just something catastrophically idiotic and stratospherically unlikely.

I use these USB modems for remote internet access—live off of them, really. It’s a must have for me because I travel a great deal and work out of my car frequently.

So when I lost it several weeks ago I panicked. And scoured my office. And scoured my home office. And scoured the rest of my home. And scoured my car. And scoured them all again. Twice.

Finally, in desperation, after going two weeks without my usb internet lifeline, I broke down Friday afternoon and bought a new one. It was full price. About $150 and they set up a new SIM card for me in the store. It was like getting oxygen again for someone with respiratory problems. I could breathe again….internet-wise, anyway.

Friday was great. But then on Saturday I was in my car and needed to send some emails and tracked down my handy USB modem–but it wasn’t connecting. I tried again later in the day. No connection and a message to call AT&T to activate.

jyb_musingsI shrugged and figured it was new and the bugs needed to be worked out— and it would work next time–like it did Friday. But today and tonight it failed again. Frustrated…I called AT&T…and was put on hold for 26 minutes while I thought of all the reasons this shouldn’t be happening that AT&T should be made aware of…

After running through the first customer service rep who was stumped…I was transferred to a more expert customer service rep….She was stumped, too, after I explained what had happened and that my USB modem wasn’t working.

She then asked me to open up the modem and read her the SIM Card number. I ripped off the back of the modem and finally found the SIM card. I growled out the teeny-tiny numbers to her after pointing out “No human can read these without a magnifying glass.”

When I finished she said, “That’s not possible.”

“Why not, I asked.” She laughed and said, “That is your old SIM Card number.” And added, “You have apparently found your old USB Modem and lost your new USB Modem with the new SIM Card that is activated.”

I paused….for a long time. Part dumbfounded, part humiliated, part wanting to crawl into the fetal position under my desk. It seemed like 3 minutes passed before I spoke again ….but was really only about 5 1/2 seconds. “Well, um, can you fix it?”

“No. Not over the phone. That card has been de-activated and you’ll have to go to an ATT store tomorrow to get a new SIM Card for your old USB Modem.” Pausing before chirping helpfully, “Or you could find your new USB Modem. It should still work.”

So, tomorrow I’m scouring my office. And then my home office. And then the rest of my home and my car….to find the new USB Modem I just bought to replace the old USB Modem I had lost but inadvertently found and mistook for the new USB Modem. But can’t use anymore since I activated the new USB Modem on Friday.”

And customer service chalked up another “story” for the bar later tonight.


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