Friday, February 28, 2014

Real Conversations with the AT&T Support Center

Hello all, this is a guest post from Travis as this story just had to be told.  You'll have to forgive Miriam for not posting lately, as wedding planning has kicked into a higher gear.  

Yesterday (Thursday) Miriam left home for the arctic one final time before the wedding. Flights this time have gone without a hitch and she has now arrived safely in Alaska, with plenty of time to spare. While she had cell service, she was actually able to text me for a bit.  One message caught me off guard however. "Dunno if you'll get this.... I just got a message that my data is turned off due to high international charges."

This entirely confused me.  For those how aren't certain, Deadhorse, one of the closer towns to Miriam's rig, is about 300 miles from the Canadian border, as the crow flies.  There is no way her phone is bouncing off a Canadian tower, and certainly not a Russian tower as that's over a 1000 miles away. So she forwards me the message and I call AT&T for her, as I'm at home for the night, and her signal is spotty.

Within 5 minutes I am on the line with the International Charges support line.  A very polite woman answers and asks me what exactly the problem is, and I explain the situation.  Luckily, Miriam and I already share phone service, otherwise this would have been a much bigger problem.

AT&T: "Well just let me pull up her data history real quick...... Ok sir, you say she is in Alaska? I have most recent data pinging off of a tower in..... Moroshskas? Norofjakfs?  Nicrohfpsjf?"

At this point she is just talking gibberish, unable to pronounce this area.  My first thought is that she's trying to pronounce a city in the Far East Region of Russia, but I'm not completely sure.

Me: "Well Ma'am, that can't be right, she's in Deadhorse Alaska.  Hundreds of miles from the nearest border."

AT&T: " Now sir, I have to ask, are you sure your fiancee went to Alaska? Because that's not what I'm seeing."

Me: "Yes, I am sure she's there, she's certainly not international, she doesn't even have a passport...."

AT&T: "Ok sir, let me put you on hold for a moment and speak with my supervisor."

This is a pretty quick conversation, maybe five minutes or less.

AT&T: "Thank you for holding Mr. Howard. So what I'm showing is that you currently have $630 worth of data charges on your account.  We understand that that there has been a confusion here, so what we can do is waive these fees by you purchasing the international data package for $30."

At this point, I'm a little bit mad.

Me: "No ma'am.  I will not purchase an international package. Miriam hasn't left this country in over 5 years. She is no where near a border.  There is a problem with your system, and I will not be paying any fees."

AT&T: "I understand sir.  Now I do want to ask again, are you sure your fiancee isn't out of the country?? I'm showing..... Nicarasdfjsdflj...... I really don't know how to pronounce it. But it's a country in South America."

My only guess is that this woman means Nicaragua, which is even more confusing, as this is where Miriam's father is from, and she has quite a bit of family there.

Me: "No she's not in South America.  We're talking about tens of thousands of miles away from where she is.  If she can be bouncing off a tower that far away, I need to complain about the dead spot in my bathroom."

AT&T: "Ok sir, can you tell me when she left for Alaska?"

Me: "Of course, she left Spokane Washington yesterday at 3:00 PM.  She's been flying since then, and stopped in Portland, Seattle, and Anchorage before reaching the arctic."

AT&T: "Ok sir, and when will she leave Alaska and be back in the country?"

Me: "She get's back on the........ Wait? Back in the country?? Alaska is a STATE. She is still in the US.  She never left!!!!"

AT&T: "I understand...... Then when will she be home?"

At this point I really don't want to get into the mess that is the wedding travel, and the fact that she won't actually come home for almost 5 weeks.

Me: "She gets back to Washington on March 14th."

AT&T: "Ok sir, there seems to be a problem, as her history doesn't match up with what you are saying. I'm going to need to transfer you to our Technical Services line.  Now, I do want to warn you, they are experiencing a very high call load, so I will have to place you on hold for a bit."

At this point, I am confused and a little bit tired of people insinuating that my soon to be wife has run off to South America and had the audacity to text me about her cell phone bill.  I decided to grab a glass and pour myself a few fingers of whiskey to sip on while I wait.  And it's a good think I did, because 20 minutes of texting Miriam in tropical Nicaragua Alaska later, I finally reached someone in Tech Services.

AT&T: "Hello Mr. Howard, what can I help you with?"

At this point I launch into a long story, and probably overwhelm the poor man with information that he didn't need, but frankly, I needed to remind myself of the situation because it had been so long.

AT&T: "Hmmmm, well sir, I've been reviewing your account, and I have to say, I have no clue what my co-worker was looking at.  I show her leaving Spokane, and currently in our Arctic Slope service area. And I see no charges on your account.  I do see that her data was suspended, but that must have been an error.  I've reset the suspension and you should be good to go."

Me: "Wait, that's it?? She's not in South America, and her data is turned on? And no charges??"

AT&T: "Yup, should be back to buisness as usual.  Let us know if somehow you get a charge, and we'll reverse it, but everything should be ok."

Me: "Oh.... Well.... perfect then. Ummmm..... Thanks?"

AT&T: "Of course sir, have a great day.  Thank you for calling AT&T Support."


And that was it, 48 minutes later and we determined where Miriam was. I'm still a little dumb founded, and the fact that Nicaragua of all places was brought up makes it even more confusing.  But Miriam's data has been turned on, and everything is fixed.  Now if only should could use it up there.......  

Note from Miriam:
I am most certainly not in Nicaragua. I'm definitely in the far away  "country" of Alaska. And my employers could vouch for me. This does make me question the existence of Dopelgangers and/or time travel. That's the only explanation I have.  That would also explain today's dinner. Apparently it's thanksgiving on the rig as I am eating a meal of turkey, stuffing, and cranberry sauce. Luckily I don't actually mind this because I love stuffing. I do feel like I'm having a surreal day though. Clearly the next three weeks until the wedding won't be ordinary!

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