Total Disconnect

Aug 15, 2012 | 3 comments

The U. S. Justice Department killed Ma Bell in 1984.  We now refer to the break-up of the Bell Telephone System simply as “deregulation.”  And, as far as I’m concerned, communication by telephone has been a disaster ever since.

Increasingly, we’ve paid more and received less.  We can’t understand our telephone bills – what are all those extra fees and charges, anyway? – we can’t get a live voice, and most of the time we can’t get service.

Well, to be fair, we can’t get service on a ‘smart phone.’  Not at our house.  Not in our garden.  Not in Oysterville.  We’ve tried various companies over the years and two and a half years ago we were sold a bill of goods by AT&T who told us, unequivocally, that there was service in Oysterville.  Their map says so.

I don’t know how many times I’ve had the fruitless no-service conversation with some pleasant-sounding, well-meaning “service representative” at the other end of my telephone – my land line, that is.

Which brings up another point.  We thought we could give up our land line, at least with respect to long distance service.  NOT!  So, instead of minimizing our telephone expenses, we’ve done the opposite.

A few months ago, I changed our AT&T ‘phone plan’ to the bare minimum.  When the next bill came, it was not too bad.  Then, yesterday we got the next bill and it was a third again as much.  I couldn’t find out why.  We hadn’t used all our minutes – like how could we, we don’t get service.

So once again, I called.  The service representative, who told me her name was Katrinka Beaver (and I wondered for a moment if I had mistakenly dialed some exotic porn site) compared last month’s and this month’s bills “with” me on the phone and then put me on hold for a while. During the interim, while I listened to a recording of all of the wonderful services AT&T provides, Katrinka discovered that whoever had given me the lower-priced plan had made a mistake.  Our bill would continue at the higher amount.

“I think not,” said I.  “I would like to cancel our service with your company.”

That’s not as easy as it sounds either.  I had to explain my reasons to yet another service representative and listen again to him tell me that I do, indeed, have service.  I was reduced to the totally useful response that I hear teens give: “Whatever…”

I do believe we are now disconnected.  For a while I’ll probably miss getting my email on the road and a few of the apps we used when we were traveling.  But we won’t miss the aggravation or the phone bill.  Over and out.


  1. Kathleen Shaw

    Go for a TracPhone. Cheap, cheap, cheap, and you have safety on the road. No frills, no e-mail (I think, I haven’t tried it), and pretty good coverage on the Peninsula (though not in Oysterville, as you noted last time I visited). However, when I’ve needed a tow company or such, it worked.

  2. Pat

    Sydney…this sounds almost exactly like our experience with ATandT….we felt trapped and the cost was way out of line for the little we used our phone.
    We now have a tracfone and it fits our life perfectly….and you can buy online. Since we don’t use ours very much we went on a plan that is ten dollars and change a month and the minutes are automatically added to our phone..and the minutes accumulate. There are many plans like this or you can go on an as needed basis to add minutes. Good value

    • sydney

      Yes, we’ve done the Track phone in the past and may well resort to that again. I must admit that I liked all the other features of the i-phone, but the monthly cost (both in dollars and in aggravation) was way too high!


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *