I know, I know, they won’t notice. But I’m done doing business with them.
(Note: If you work for Qwest, please read on, and feel free to respond. After all, it only takes one person to completely destroy your company’s image. It’s possible, though only remotely, that one person can save or restore it.)
So… I’m hard at work trying to bang out the last two pages of Bonus Story for the next book. I have seven more rows to color, the flooding is done, and I’m painting. My music is blaring, the house is empty for the next three hours, I’m in my happy place…
And the phone rings. Number Unavailable. Private caller.
I pick up.
“Taylers’, this is Howard.”
“Are you Howard Tayler, of Blank Label Comics?”
Sounds like a salesperson, but he might have legitimate business with our little collective.
“I am.” I say, with that practiced inflection that says if you have legitimate business with me, now is the time to get to it.
“Has anybody from Qwest talked to you about lowering your small-business calling rates?”
“No, they haven’t. Please put me on your no-call list.”
And I hung up, cranked the tunes, and got back to work.
The phone rang again. Number Unavailable. Private Caller.
Ohhh-kay. This is either ILLEGAL (No-call means just that, and there are legal ramifications to calling in spite of it), or accidental, or it’s a coincidence.
The same voice I spoke to before begins, as if we were old friends who had been cut off accidentally:
“Why would you want us not to call? We’re trying to lower your rates, not raise them.”
I let him have both barrels.
“You are quite possibly the rudest salesperson who has ever called me. When I-”
“I’m not a salesman,” he interrupted. “I’m trying to lower your rates, not-”
“And I said put me on your DO NOT CALL list.” (Note: I may have actually raised my voice at this point.)
“-lower them. And you’re the one being rude. Maybe we’ll raise your rates instead. How would you like that?”*
And then he hung up.
Had I the presence of mind to get his name (and had he lacked the presence of mind to refuse it) I would be on the phone with Qwest right now demanding an apology. Or maybe I’d be contacting an attorney, trying to find a way to sue these people for what has to be the most flagrant violation of “do not call” I’ve ever experienced.
Regardless, I don’t currently do business with Qwest. Our land-line is provided through my ISP, Comcast/AT&T. If this guy had my phone number, he also had the ability to look that information up, and could quite easily have determined that “lowering my rates” also required him to sell me something. In fact, I doubt he’s calling existing Qwest customers. He’s calling FORMER Qwest customers, trying to get back their business.
Hey, Qwest! At this point if you want to get my business back, you’ll
beat AT&T’s best rate by 95% or more for a period of no less than two years no, wait… screw that. You want me as a customer? Fine. Free phone service for two years, no strings. If I’m satisfied come August of 2009, maybe I’ll decide not to switch back to the folks who are currently taking pretty fine care of me.
These folks, after all, are the ones who provided me with high-speed internet access back in 2001 when you said it couldn’t be done. You whined and made excuses about how the line between my house and the switching station was too long for DSL. AT&T came by and laid new cable — no excuses, just great service.
In fact, now that I think about it, I still have quite a bit of loyalty towards my current provider. Forget it, Qwest. You could offer me free phone service for life, and I’d tell you to offer it to one of my fixed-income neighbors who needs it. But I’d warn her that your salespeople are pushy, and should be hung up on at her earliest convenience.
(*Note: The conversations above were not transcribed real-time, nor do I have recordings. I’ve paraphrased as accurately as I can, but rest assured, I’ve made nothing up. This guy really did threaten to raise my rates.)