This Story Will Restore Your Faith...But Not Your Phone Service

Dear Verizon:

I know you are extremely busy repositioning yourself as St. Giles the Abbot, patron saint of the disabled.  And it’s surely distracting having to stuff so much cash into the coffers of lobbyists and members of Congress. And this matter today is almost certainly either above or below your pay grade.

So I don’t wish to be a pest, but I do have a suggestion. It’s a technology thing.

But, wait. I also don’t want to be guilty of a spoiler, so I’ll tell you at the end. Meantime, while maybe I do have a tiny little beef with you, my errand here is truly just a customer-relations suggestion meant in the generous spirit of the season. Because, look, I know stuff happens.



Sometimes, say, your day gets away from you and various unexpected complications arise and for reasons totally beyond your control you miss five consecutive appointments. It could happen to anyone.  Obviously. In the last week alone, you did not arrive on Thursday, you did not arrive on Friday and then – though you gave me a one-hour window that you’d appear on Saturday – you didn’t show up for that, either. When I called to complain, you graciously gave me a brand-new one-hour window for later on Saturday.

For which you didn’t show.

No problem. Maybe the traffic was heavy. I wouldn’t know. I was inside all day waiting for you. Maybe I’ll call the people I was going to be with to see if they also got tied up. Clear weather is such a wild card. (And the rest of the day was just going to be Christmas shopping, which I can certainly squeeze in after the holidays.) As for the repair itself -- to my ISDN line -- the only thing I really need that for is my…whaddyacallit?...livelihood. So, no harm, no foul.

All I have is a Relationship Era suggestion… and okay, maybe one question: If you’re going to choose a customer to be unavoidably detained from five times in one week, wouldn’t be wise to check him out?

Like, was he possibly the creator, a few years back, of a Web site devoted to shaming a major telecom on a grand scale? Is he someone who understands when a personal experience may stand for a much larger problem of negligence, arrogance, incompetence and overall systemic rot?

Is he someone willing to rally the faithless into demanding better -- NOT to resolve his own situation, which will eventually get sorted out (it’s only been a month, after all), but to inspire and motivate the huddled masses yearning to breathe free. Because that could really be a nuisance, as many can attest.

Questions worth posing, seems to me. You could maybe Google it. It was in all the papers.

But the fact is, I’m out of the consumer-jihad racket. I just don’t have it in me anymore. As I said, this is gesture of Christmas spirit. Because ‘tis the season. Friends shaking hands, saying, ‘How do you do?’ I’m really saying, ‘I love you.’

So here’s the suggestion: if you want to avoid misunderstanding among the customers you stand up repair ticket after repair ticket, day after day, ask your employees to give a quick call to the folks they are stranding. The technology I referred to earlier is called a “telephone.” If the repair folks don’t have a phone, try the Verizon store. I hear they make a great gift!

Season’s Greetings,


2 comments about "This Story Will Restore Your Faith...But Not Your Phone Service".
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  1. Scott Gilbert from The Radio Mall, December 22, 2014 at 11:11 a.m.

    Hi Bob.

    I am/was a big fan of and I really wish you hadn't killed it off. I'd even posted on the site a couple of times. It would be a great thing to show to any regulatory committee considering allowing Comcast to grow further. Care to put it back

  2. Faye Oney from SDS, December 22, 2014 at 11:30 a.m.

    Lol, Verizon is messing with Bob Garfield? Love the letter...I might have to hire you to write one for me to a local furniture store ; ) I have to agree with Scott, that site should stay up as a warning to the Goliaths that the Relationship Era isn't going away.

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