It’s funny how much Atlantic City wants me to come back! First they sent me an ad about a $25 gas card. All I had to do to pick it up was gamble on a specific date. Travel expenses alone would exceed the $25 dollars. Then they “sweetened” the offer by promising me a $15 gift card to a department store, again if I gambled on a specific date. I will go back eventually, most likely next Fall, and hopefully they’ll comp me something a little bit better. I got free breakfast the last time I was there, and I only had to lose a few hundred dollars the night before in order to get those $13.

We’re only a few days in to the new year, although we’re a lot closer to two weeks in. Already I got a call from one of my bands to play a Memorial Day gig I usually play for another band. “Yeah, but we called you first. You’re one of our regulars.” insisted the bandleader’s son when I explained I’ve been playing for the other guy every year. I gave him a tentative yes, but he never finished high school, and may not know the meaning of the word “tentative”. So if the other guy calls me in a few months, I can either cancel on the first guy, or tell the other guy that they got to me first this year. I can’t split myself in two, so someone is going to be offended. I just need to gamble that they value my abilities enough not to kick me out for missing one job or playing for a rival. No one has in the 20 years or so I’ve been playing, but it never gets any easier.

I think this is going to be a very, very complicated year for me. I’m seeing new options and opportunities in places I never expected. I’ve gone from not having any choices to suddenly having multiple choices. I think. I don’t know. It’s all very exciting and scary, and I’m taking one day at a time, and dealing with each surprise as it pops up. And still I can’t split myself in two or three, and so will eventually have to make a choice. If history is any indication, I think I know what I’ll end up doing(or not doing), but more and more the person who’s been surprising me the most...is me.

I felt the shift on Sunday when I was updating my credit card. After a refreshingly automated phone system that had voice recognition, I completed all the steps necessary to activate my new card. I should have ignored the computer voice telling me to stay on the line for a live person. My new card was active, and would be until 2012. I had to get online and update all my automatic billing. Also, there was a lot of static on the phone. Soon, a fast-talking man with an Indian accent was calling me “sir” and rattling off a bunch of stuff I didn’t catch, until the end when he asked me to, “Please say ‘okay’?”


“VERY good sir! Pleablahblahblahblah......blahteeblah....lahhhhOhhhhkay?”


“Excellent! How much balance do you wish to transfer?”

So I had to come clean and tell him, as politely as possible, that I didn’t catch a lot of what he said, blaming it on the static, which honestly wasn’t helping. He spoke slightly slower as he explained my card was updated and I’d be getting a confirmation in the mail, and then launched back into the scripted spiel about balance transfer checks. I keep things simple. I have one credit card, and I pay it in full each month. I don’t have a balance. I think he was trying to loan me money or something, which I’d have to pay back with interest. I told him I didn’t want that, just for my card to be updated, which it was.

“Yes sir, I understand your concern, but I am telling you we will send you a check and if you do nothing in 90 days there will be no obligation. So what amount should I send you? $3,000 is the maximum.”

“Yeah...I’m not...I don’t want that.”

“Yes sir, I understand your concern, but I am telling you we will send you a check and if you do nothing in 90 days there will be no obligation. So what amount should I send you? $3,000 is the maximum.”

“Right...I’m not interested...”

“Yes sir, I understand your concern, but I am telling you we will send you a check and if you do nothing in 90 days there will be no obligation. So what amount should I send you? $3,000 is the maximum.”

This happened a few more times where I’d say “no” in a different way, and he’d VERBATIM tell me about the stupid checks. I finally cut him off, which was no easy task, because he continued for like 3 sentences while I was talking over him and asking about the credit card being updated.

“Yes sir, the card is updated. But we’d...”

“That’s great. Thanks. Thank you. Have a good day. Good bye. G--Goo--Good--G’b--Good--bye”

The reason for the stammering is the guy kept trying to interject, and finally I just hung up. I proceeded to update my Verizon billing information and anything else that was connected to the card, and then headed out to do some shopping and take some pictures. When I got home, I was unable to connect to the internet. It happens every couple of months, and I no longer panic. I turn off the modem for a few minutes, turn it on, and I’m good. Sometimes I need to restart the computer. Sometimes I need to check the DSL filters around the house, although I’m not sure if that’s anything more than a psychological exercise. In any case, I kept getting a red light next to the word “internet”. I let it go for a few hours, watched a movie, watched all my shows, and came back around 11 PM. The problem persisted.

“I bet it was that guy!” said my mom, thinking the credit card guy had canceled my account for spite, thus cutting off my internet service. I wasn’t so sure, but I was getting frustrated and concerned. Long story slightly less long, after dealing with another automated phone service, this time Verizon’s tech support, the recorded voice and I came to the conclusion that turning everything off and on didn’t fix the problem, but that my phone line was fine. It’s kind of cool that she(it was a female voice) could test my line. I waited for a live person, who didn’t have an accent, and there was no static on the cell phone I was calling from. He ran me through several steps and ultimately I had to use a paperclip on a reset button on the back of the modem to get up and running. I jotted down everything we did, so if this happens in the future I now know what to do.

I like to keep my life as simple as possible. I’m not going to be able to do that forever, am I? I am starting to think that complicated, however, is synonymous with interesting....


Blogger b13 said...

Verizon has stated to me that all of its operators and tech help are based in the USA. No outsourcing. Another reason to give them my support.

1/12/2010 11:02 AM  

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