Sunday, September 27, 2009

Can You Hear This?

Last month’s cell phone bill was HUGE. The month before, when the boys were out of school, was relatively normal. Then, school resumed.

Did I mention that last month’s bill was HUGE? It doubled, actually. I first became aware of this when Verizon sent me my handy-dandy reminder notice:

“Hey. Your bill is now available for viewing….and (of course) paying. And it’s a doozie! You really ought to check it out. For a serious chuckle, go to www.verizon.net.
See you there!
~ Your buds at Verizon.”

By the time I’d figured out how to sign in, I couldn't understand any of the usage details...but the total was painfully clear. I’d immediately put a call in to customer service, spoke to a nice girl named “Shandra” who happily informed me that Taylor (17) had gone WAY over on his texts and that this, combined with both of us going over on our shared minutes meant one heck of a payday for Verizon!

Noooo, there was nothing she could do about the existing charges…but she could offer me an upgraded plan for the future, including double the shared voice minutes and triple the text messages for Taylor…all for only twenty dollars more per month! We were already halfway through the next billing cycle and after gleefully informing me that Taylor had already burned through most of our minutes/texts, she said she could put through the changes immediately, if I’d like.

Okay...whatever.

(Crap.)

Today, I received my monthly email from Verizon:

“Hey. Us again. Want to see something really funny? Be prepared for some side-splitting humor…and don’t be surprised if you hear your father’s famous “What? You think I’m made of money??” remark bouncing off what’s left of your brain. So, pour yourself a drink and meet us at www.verizon.com. Be there, or be square....either way, be prepared to meet dispair! HA! We crack ourselves up!”

THIS bill was UP $100 from the LAST bill. After my head exploded, I called Verizon’s customer service:

“Verizon Wireless. This is David. S’up?” (He may have actually said “How may I help?” but my head was still exploding, so I may have missed it.)

Kathryn: “I……my bill……you’ve got to be freakin’ kidding me…..wha….???”

David: “Please hold while I pull up your account. You may want to use this time to get a towel to start cleaning up that brain matter that’s all over the floor.”(Muzac plays….Roberta Flack’s “Killing Me Softly”, but the instrumental version…much classier, in my opinion.)

David: “Thanks for holding. No sh!t! (Uh. Pardon my French) That’s some bill ya got there! Who’s doing all that texting? That you??”

K: (Indignantly) “No! That would be my son.”

D: “My bad. Well, I see you upgraded to 1400 text messages to out of network calling people with a minimum of seven calling ratios divided by the timetable of the equator times pi, minus your three-hour substation invariability factor.”

K: “Uh.”

D: “Problem is, your son went over his quota.”

K: “By how much?”

D: “Please hold.”(Muzac resumes…this time, it’s Debbie Gibson’s “You Light Up My Life”…skillfully remastered on the accordion, I believe.)

D: “He used 2,682 texts...that's like way over, dude.”

K: “…………………………”

D: “You might want to think about switching to an unlimited plan. For ten dollars more a month, he can call ANYONE, ANYTIME. Except he can’t call anyone…ya know, internationally, or anything. Oh, and that means he can’t call Canada, just so you know…I learned that one the hard way....”

K: (emits feeble strangled sound)

D: “My supervisor’s standing right behind me. Ya want me to ask her if I can reverse some of these overages? She’s eating a burrito and she looks pretty happy...”

K: (emits cry in a somewhat positive tone)

D: “Please hold.” Silence. (I guess if you’re on with them for this long, they figure they don’t have to offer any further auditory entertainment…you’re basically on your own. I found myself humming the Star Spangled Banner....then seamlessly switching to "Ladies Who Lunch" from the Broadway musical Company.)

D: “Okay. She says we’ll eat 70% of the overages...on account of your brain exploding and all...SCORE!”

K: (finds voice) “That’s freakin’ great! Tell her ‘thanks’!”

D: “No big whoop. We’re all rolling in it anyway. Tell your son no international girlfriends and no voting on American Idol….they get, like, 99 cents a minute for those calls, ya know.”

K: “Huh. I was not aware.”

D: “Can I help with anything else?”

K: “Um….do you have any pull with the electric company?”

D: “Dude.”


K: “My bad.”

All around Mom said...

Hi there just wanted to say that i really enjoy reading your entries. As a single mom of three, it makes me kaugh bout some of the things you are going through that I did, and vice versa. Well just wanted to say hello, and hope to hear from you.

Peaches and Cream said...

Wow, just clicked through from the Blogs of Note page, and glad I did - this is quite hilarious! Will definitely be checking back regularly, maybe I'll even pick up some tips for my own blog, sometimes I think I'm being funny but, who knows!?
http://tinnedpeachesandcream.blogspot.com

Insanity said...

Haha...that was hilarious. It's a good thing I don't have kids that run up a big cell phone bill like that.

Kathryn said...

All around Mom: Welcome! I've reciprocated....I think you and I will have a lot where we can relate! Comment often!

Peaches and Cream: Thank you! I hope you'll visit again...it seems there's a never-ending stream of content to write about in my life.
Tks for the comment.

Insanity-Hey you! In time, you may. Fortunatly, for YOU, you can learn from all my mistakes! Thanks for the comment!

Ann said...

Love your blog, and really feel what you go through with kids. Thank goodness mine are all grown and out of the house. Oh, excuse me. My forty-five old son has lost his job and needs me to send money as soon as possible. Does it ever end?

f8hasit said...

Your son ain't got nuthin' on my bill a few months ago...
I forgot to change the settings on my iPhone, so while I was in the Dominican Republic my phone kept checking for e-mail etc. the entire time I was there, unknown to me.

So I got a $1499 bill that month. Yup.

But after my initial cerebral hemorage, I couldn't feel a thing. So it's all good.
:-)

Kathryn said...

Ann: Thanks so much! Oh, honey...it never ends! I know this...my father's almost 80 and he still takes my arm when we cross the street. ("Daaaad!")
Thanks for the comment-hope you stop back again!

Kathryn said...

f8hasit: .........................
(sputters) I don't even know what to say! GOOD LORD! I don't suppose you could get 'em to eat some of the overages??? I would have to have tried! Yikes! Talk about brain splatter!! Maybe I shudn't be so anxious to get a bberry....!

Lou said...

Amazing I actually got here before you had 50 comments - great post Kathryn, still chuckling as always.

Kathryn said...

Hey Lou! You're too funny! It's all thanks to Blog of Note...I'm hoping for a long ride! I guess we'll see. It's amazing, right??

Leah Rubin said...

Wow-- thank God my kids are grown and paying their own cell bills... I can't imagine what all this adds up to.

Glad they took off so much of the overages for you! Yay!

Geeta said...

Hilarious. Awful. All at the same time. & I totally understand that feeling... psh... they always get ya.

Kathryn said...

Hey Leah! Yeah, I felt Verizon deserved a shout-out for that one...also to say "Parents Beware!" With teens, unlimited texting is def the way to GO! Thanks for the comment!

Geeta: Thanks! It was like "Groundhog Day"...only it kept getting worse. I swear, Tay was completely oblivious. Just another case of da boys not giving me a heads up. (Heaven forbid.)
Appreciate the comment!

Spot said...

Hahaha. Oh Kathryn, I so feel your pain. And unlimited texting is a must with teens! My daughter sends like 8000 a month. Easily. The real killer was when one of my foster kids kept going over our daytime minutes! Huge bill. And hello...he's 21! Old enough to know better! Wait...old enough to get his own damn cell plan!!! But I digress...I upped minutes and upped all their bills (yes...after 16 when they get jobs, they have to pay me their part of the cell bill. Yes, I know, I'm so wise. Or mean. Or well...you know. Depends who you ask).

♥Spot

Kathryn said...

Hey Spot! Yes, you ARE wise! And you're right...unlimited texts are the only way to go. (I must admit, w/Twitter, I've racked up a decent amount of texts myself, altho I'm lousy at it!) Hopefully soon, we'll all have plans with unlimited calling-or kids that'll pay for their own damn phones!
Thanks for commenting!

C.G. said...

Ive read a few of your blogs today, & i enjoyed every single one of them.

You are one hilarious character!

Kathryn said...

C.G.: Why thank you so much, my dear. I'm glad you've enjoyed the read and hope you'll visit again soon. Thanks so much for the kind post!

Mark Price said...

I sympathize, My cell company actually called me because they thought our phones had been stolen based on the usages. No worries though only an extra $400 that month!! Almost had a heart attack. They were kind enough to "upgrade" us as well and saved me about $300. Live and learn I guess. Funny take on acrappy situation!

Reality Asylum said...

Okay, seriously. It's like i'm reading a sitcom that's WAY funnier than most sitcoms.

I don't enjoy reading. Bu I enjoy reading your writing. Freaking hilarious.

Glad you got some of those reversed! I've been in that spot too, a few times. Most of the times, those guys wanna help you out. Expecially if you're threatening to switch to a different company.

Picture Imperfect said...

Oh I'm looking forward to reading *this* blog again! :) Thanks for the chuckles and I can relate to the huge phone bill!

Nisa said...

ahahaha, so what did u do to ur son? I'm 17 anyway, just like your son.

Nisa
nisaflamethrower.blogspot.com

Rosani Santamarina said...

Hi,

we can always find something witty we can relate to in your blog.

Regards.

Rosani Santamarina
http://santamarina.info

JD at I Do Things said...

HAR! Good one. I may have to take up texting just to get some of those hilarious bills from Verizon.

How's your head today?

jh said...

You poor thing! Ugh, they should read this & know what they put you thru.

Jen said...

Holy Crap! Take that phone away from the child. Who needs to be writing that many text messages? I realize he is a teenager but when he starts texting instead of talking to the person sitting right next to him, he's got a problem. I feel for you.

JP said...

So at what point do you give a kid a cell phone? My 11yr old desperately wants one and of course we're saying Norfolk and Waypal! Still her friends have one. Seriously WTF?

evilteenietiff said...

That's why I have my nifty prepaid plan.

I recharge with $30and get $150 with 0f credit with 50 free text, 100 free minutes with anyone on my network and a bonus prize that you get when you stick your voucher number doohicky online!

That and I hate reading texts that butcher the language:

Hi hws u, r u goin 2 da rkade dis wknd? c u sn.

Yeah an actual message I got once, took me ages to figure out what it actually said.

Maureen@IslandRoar said...

Oh, man do I hear you!
By the time my 3rd teen got her cell phone, I just caved and went to unlimited texting. Our cell phone bill for 4 of us is $150 a month, which I know is a lot for some, but with 3 teens and all this texting (I do it now too; they actually answer me 99% of the time if I text), it's much better than going over each month. You made this so funny, BTW.

Queen Victoria said...

BAHAHAHA! thats hilarioussssss

S said...

Hilarious! This sounds like my mom before she upgraded my sister and I to unlimited texting. Crazy how much drama goes into one bill!

jmberrygirl said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog. I really appreciate the support! I haven't been billed since Alltel was bought out by Verizon... it's been a few weeks now, so I'm really curious about when they're going to send that nice little e-mail. Huh.

Gingerella said...

Whew, makes me glad I don't have kids....or a cell phone for that matter... ;)

lifelove'n'wine said...

Oh man...WTH Verizon? I have them too and I swear they make up a million random fees to tack onto my bill every couple of months. That was nice of them to take off some of the charges though...but still.

Also, holycrapthatsalotoftexting!

Kathryn said...

Mark Price: Hey! ONLY $400/month, you say?? I can't believe THEY called YOU....like the old VISA ads...remember? "Unusual amount of activity" or something. I'm glad you could feel my pain. I've learned teens=unlimted texts. Period. Thanks for the great comment!


Reality Asylum: Thanks so much, sweetie! Your praise really makes my day....seriously! Yes, they ate quite a bit of the overages....I think the guy felt uber-sorry for me and didn't want to deal with the mess of closing all those accounts if I stroked out on him.!
Thanks for the comments--I'll keep 'em coming if you will!

Picture Imperfect: Thanks for being here! Your photos are EXCELLENT! Keep posting...both there and HERE! Glad to have you!

Nisa: He's a lucky dog. I increased his minutes and told him to slow down or he's gonna spring his thumbs! Thanks for commenting.

Rosani Santamarina:Thank you! I hope you'll visit often!

JD: Hey, doll! I do believe I lost some serious brain matter (maybe it's under the dresser? Ewwwwwww)-
this'll be my excuse for the next bill I forget to pay!

jh: Thanks, sweetie. But, why do I think they really won't care??

Hey Jen! See, that's the killer. The school has a scrambler on the roof, so they can't text during the day. He's avging around 4k a month now (on the unlimited)--he starts on the way home and it vibrates till bed. Unbelievable.

JP: Ah. Good question. Girls seem to want 'em earlier than boys, but girls are gen'lly more social, I think. I broke down for Connor at age 12 but only 'cause our landline is frequently down (Comcast) & I hate not being able to reach him. He never uses it, tho...by his own admission. My 12-y.o. niece, however....texts all the time. Tough call...good luck w/that, my friend!

evilteenietiff: So? Did you go to the arcade that weekend? That's how it is on Twitter (which I take it, you'd abhor...)I use it there 'cause it's SO HARD to stick to their #140 word count. Tks for commenting!

Hey Maureen! That's not so bad...ours is about the same. At least there's no cold sweat b/4 you open the bill each month, right? Thanks for the kind words.

Queen Victoria: Thank you! I hope I've made you smile....after that day, you could use some good laughs. Thanks for commenting!

Kathryn said...

S: Thanks!It's really quite the harrowing experience...esp when you realize you've GOT to get them to bring it down a notch...or you'll break the bank! Thanks for commenting.

jmberrygirl: You're very welcome. Yeah, I can't decide if I'm happy to have signed up for the email alerts....what they REALLY want is for me to go paperless and I'm not ready. The email is the precurser to the stroke...

Gingerella: No cell? Really?? Huh. Do you find that other ppl's cells annoy you 'cause you've got all that quiet in your day? Thanks for the flw/comment! Appreciate it!

life,love'n'wine: YUP! Alotoftexting,indeed! I HATE all the added fees...one time I made them explain 'em to me just for the hell of it....they thought I was nuts and I didn't understand a word of it. All I heard was "blah, blah, blah."

Dylan said...

Kathryn, great blog, and like most people who commented I'm sorry to read about the giant Verizon bill. At least your post was well-written and funny! I wanted to respond by mentioning that I work for the consumer advocacy division of the company Validas, where we electronically audit and subsequently reduce the average cell bill by 22 percent through our website, http://www.fixmycellbill.com. In other words, Validas is the wireless bodyguard protecting against frivolous and unnecessary charges that over-inflate 8 out of 10 cell bills. You can find out for free if fixmycellbill.com can modify your plan to better suit your usage by going to the website.

For more info, check out Validas in the national news media, most recently on Fox News at http://www.myfoxtampabay.com/dpp/consumer/conlaw/lower_cell_phone_bills_072409 .

Good luck on cutting down the Verizon bill and keeping it cheaper!

Dylan
Consumer Advocacy, FixMyCellBill.com

Kathryn said...

Dylan: Thanks for the comment, dude!

~:C:~ said...

Bwahahahahahahahahahahahahaha.

Oh my... I haven't laughed this hard in a long time... *wipes tears off face*

Let me know when you get your son's chiropractic bill (I assume with all that texting, his thumbs need tlc). ; )

Kathryn said...

~:C:~ HA! Girl, you are SERIOUSLY becoming one of my favs...your comments are fabulous! (And great for my ego, btw) It's funny you shud mention this....he offered to massage my neck the other day and I thought I wud DIE. He claims video games & texting make his hands unusually strong! OW!
Thanks for stopping by sweetie!

Ron said...

OMG, Kathryn...this was BRILLIANT!

I could actually hear your conversation and emotional expressions with Verizon!

I am SOOOO glad they wavered some of those charges for you.

I've heard of this happening with a girl I work with. And we she found out how MUCH she went over her limit she FLIPPED.

I don't have a cell phone ( I know, I'm weird), so I've never text messaged in my life!

Just call me Fred Flintstone.

X

Kathryn said...

Dear Fred Flintstone (RON!),
Well. This explains why you've never answered ONE of my text messages.

Huh.

Now I don't feel so bad.

Love you, Ron! Always great to see you!
xoxo

Tinkerschnitzel said...

That sounds like my cell phone bill! I have my husband, me, my mom, and my sister on my plan. Guess who goes over the minutes and texting? That's right, my sister who is half the country away. I got AT&T to comp us last month, but I think that's the only time they'll do that. Thanks for the birthday wishes on my blog!

Kathryn said...

Tinkerschnitzel: Sounds to me like your sister may need to start up her own plan! You don't need THAT surprise waiting for you every month! You're very welcome....thanks for commenting!

YYYY ancie`,,, said...

well actually you are WAY better then me. First, i'm only 17.My friend gave me a phone card last month. I give it to my sister who come to my country for 14 days traveling. After my sister leave. My friend call me as she received the bill for $115 between 10 days.Over surfing the Net,over international calls...I was so scared by telling mum. So i took out all of my pocket money to pay for my sister. However, another 2 weeks past, my friend call me again said she received the bill for $260 between 4 days...... i got mad! At last i have to tell my mum, She got crazy and said i have to pay it myself cause i'm too stupid..... At last i need to borrow money from many friends for paying the $bill....(Sorry about my unfluent English)

Susan F said...

Your heart must have stopped when you got that bill, Kathryn! We had a similar experience, with another bill recently ($1,400). I just about died!

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