We still have a land line with AT&T and it costs us about $45 a month for the privilege. Just like with the cell phone, we don't use it much, but it is there if we do need it. We don't get a bill in the mail from AT&T because they just hit the charge card whenever they want their moola. Maybe because we don't get that paper statement anymore, they have no way of reminding me of their other very fine offerings, so they have taken to mailing me a very polite letter every month offering me a special deal if I combine my home phone service with their U-verse(r) High Speed Internet.
They started coming in like clockwork every 4 weeks about a year and a half ago. At first I opened the letters just to be sure it wasn't something important. After a few of them I came to recognize the envelope and would sigh knowing what was inside, but I still had to look to be sure it wasn't import information about our service. I started to voice my frustration out load and this was a mistake.
Donna decided to make a game of it. Because she was usually the person bringing the mail in each afternoon, so she would announce with seriousness, "This one's for you." Then try and hide her smirk. Or say, "What's this about?" "I think this might be important." A few months ago I got annoyed enough that I decided to do something about it.
I went to the web site listed at the bottom of the letter and entered my information, lo and behold, I couldn't take advantage of the this fabulous U-verse(r) offer even if I wanted to. Boardman Road must be in a whole different 'verse.
So I called the 866 number on the letter and talked with a CSR pretending that I wanted to take advantage of the their fabulous offer and she was disappointed to inform me that I would be unable to get the high-speed U-verse(r), but I could get their regular DSL internet with a 768 Kbps speed. I said, "Ma'am if you were giving away that service I still wouldn't take it. Right now I get something 100 times faster from the cable company." I asked if there was some way to get off the mailing list for the U-verse(r) stuff, seeing as I can't get it. She told me she couldn't do it, but would pass it along to the proper channel and get it stopped.
The next month, sure enough, a letter arrived in the mail thanking me for being an AT&T customer and having reviewed my account they have found that I qualify for a special offer that may save me money. Arrg! I tell Donna that the next time I get one of these letters we are going to dump AT&T and just get a cell phone plan and not even have a land line.
Well, 4 weeks later almost to the day an envelope from AT&T arrives. This one, I don't even open. I start shopping around on the net for wireless providers and it doesn't take long to get frustrated with the shear amount of phone options to choose from and the myriad of plans to pick from. The length of commitment required is troubling, but the kicker is the cost, all are more than what AT&T is costing us. We'll just stay put.
Wait a minute, the cable company offers phone service. Wonder how much that is? Atlantic Broadband's phone service is $36 month for their unlimited long distance plan or $26 a month and long distance would be 10¢ a minute. But wait, there is a deal for existing customers who bundle to get the unlimited for $29.99 - for life! So I call and go through the sales spiel with the cable company's CSR and all is progressing well until we get to the part about me owning my own modem. You see, to get the phone service you have to rent the cable co's modem at a cost of $9.95 a month. So, with taxes and fees we are back up to the same cost as the AT&T phone service. I tell the CSR that I need to think about it and hang up. We'll just stay put.
Two days ago, less than two weeks after that last letter, another one arrives in mail from my friends at the American Telephone and Telegraph Company. Donna opens the envelope and places it in front of my without a word.
Today I stopped in at the offices of Atlantic Broadband and ordered up their phone service.