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Out of business

When I called my voice-mail to check my messages, I heard those three tones you hate to hear: "Beep, Beep, BEEP — We're sorry, you have reached a number that has been disconnected."

What the what? Did I misdial?

Tried it again, and got the three tones again. My voice-mail number can't be disconnected; I'm pre-paid through June!

I called the company, and get this: They've sold a block of voice-mail numbers, including mine, to some other company — without a word to me or any of their customers. If I have a complaint, I'm supposed to call the other company.

"Screw that," I said in a pleasant tone of voice to the flunky on the phone. "I've never heard of this other company, never paid that company a nickel. I paid your company, so your company's going to refund my money." He didn't seem convinced that his employer would pay me back, but he said he'd relay the message. We'll see.

As a public service, here's an announcement: Stay away from Sam Mather Communications. They claim to be in the business of selling a service, but apparently they're in the business of selling their customers.

No, I did not call the company they sold me to. I'm not doing business with companies that buy me. Anyway, they must be incompetent, to buy me and then immediately disconnect me.

Instead I flipped through the Yellow Pages, found another voice-mail company, crossed my fingers and bought a new number — (415) ███-████. Please call that number, not my previous number, and I'll do anything legal for $5 an hour, or anything illegal for a slightly higher rate.

Of course, all the posters, flyers, and stickers I've spread around town for the past two months, "I'll do anything legal for $5 an hour," now ring through to a disconnected number. Doing business with Sam Mather Communications has put me out of business.

Fortunately I have steady work lined up, but instead of sleeping in on my day off, today I bought a money order for a new voice-mail number. Then I retyped and reprinted my "I'll do anything" ads, and took a hundred stickers on a tour of the city's finer laundromats and telephone poles. Where possible, the new sticker got pasted on top of the old sticker, so people don't equate "I'll do anything" with a disconnected number. 

And whether Sam Mather refunds my money or not, their locks will soon be superglued.

♦ ♦ ♦

After an afternoon on the bus and on my feet, I came home and wrote a post card to Maggie, replying to her phone call from last weekend:

Dear Maggie,

Yes, I got your phone message, but I can't afford to call you back, and you can't afford to accept the charges. We're still pals, I'm not angry, but poor people can't stay in touch via long distance. To communicate, we'll have to write, or wait until you're here in person, in June.

♦ ♦ ♦

Then I semi-cleaned my room, took out the trash, and killed some roaches. It's a pleasant diversion — splat — and it's kinda fun. We have plenty of roaches here in the apartment, more than I had at the rez hotel, and I don't mind. Squishing 'em is free entertainment, and Claudia the cat likes to chase 'em and chew 'em. They're crunchy! Sometimes I don't even know she's got one until I hear it being crushed, crumbled, and pulverized in her jaws.

The itsy-bitsy spiders are back, though, and they're less amusing. They're so small you can't even see them unless you're looking for them, abseiling from the ceiling in the bathroom, in the kitchen, and now in my bedroom. A little tickle on my arm means another damned spider, about half the size of a freckle, is crawling up my elbow.

Black Flagged the ceiling in every room, just like a few weeks ago only more so, but you know the spiders will be back.

A can of insecticide is expensive, too. Does anybody out there have a cheaper way to evict hundreds of tiny bugs?

From Pathetic Life #11
Monday, April 17, 1995

This is an entry retyped from an on-paper zine I wrote many years ago, called Pathetic Life. The opinions stated were my opinions then, but might not be my opinions now. Also, I said and did some disgusting things, so parental guidance is advised.

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