Moral Fiber

I knew I would have to suck it up and deal with this eventually. Verizon, which was the first network to get high speed internet to my address ever (only five years ago), has decided to completely do away with DSL — which was meeting my simple needs just fine, thanks — and convert the whole locality to high-speed fiberoptic. They will be doing this tomorrow, so I will be off line for a handful of hours.

If you have ever been badgered by your cat for some particularly tasty whiffy tidbit you have an idea of the crazed persistence of Verizon FiOS sales people, who would probably butt you with their heads, wind around your legs and jump up on the counter if they were actually agile enough. As soon as they laid the cable — you noticed their red and white trucks and red-poloed workmen puttering around the hood — solicitations began to drop into my mailbox. Some were in legal envelopes, some in full-page size, all sporting slogans like “This is FiOS. This is Big.” If nothing else it was a goddam big direct mail budget. Periodically there would be rashes of calls from Verizon which I never picked up; no one left a message. The one thing they didn’t do was send me e-mail, oddly considering that Internet connectivity was my main reason for switching to their service in the first place, but they did send a succession of hail-fellow-well-met blowhards to knock on my door and annoy me. One of them even got through a whole sales pitch and almost had me signed up, referring only to a “promotion that would lower my bill from what I was paying,” before I realized this was more FiOS crap and that no one was willing to ballpark an amount for monthly service after the end of the “promotion.” He did not jump up on the counter, but very nearly went flying off my front porch (in the end I considered the complications from assault charges and simply slammed the door in his face; I had to do one or the other since he ignored two direct requests to get off my property.)

It made me surly, I can tell you. It became a point of moral courage with me to spurn their frapping FiOS for as long as it was humanly possible. Sure enough the price on the BLAZING FAST INTERNET promotions that dropped into my letterbox kept coming down. Finally a couple weeks back the characteristic red-festooned envelope bore the admonition IMPORTANT TIME SENSITIVE INFORMATION — CALL TODAY.They were pulling all the DSL service within weeks and would give me fiberoptic for two full years at THIS LOW PRICE.

I got a guy named Tony, somewhere in Rhode Island judging by the accent. I know Rhode Island guineas and I loved the hell out of Tony immediately. “Miss S., lemme tell ya, they want ya to sign up for this so bad the CEO would stand onnis head if it would help. Here’s what I can get ya…”  I ended up with twice the “promotional period” that Smarmy Polo had offered, a deeper discount and no contract, and a sneaking fantasy of meeting Tony on Federal Hill for capellini. I hope that he really was from Auburn or Cranston and not someone in Bangalore that had been trained in regional accents.

They come tomorrow. Tony swore that “When they leave, it works.” I’ll report out.


9 thoughts on “Moral Fiber

  1. I think you’d probably have to get up pretty early in the morning to get Tony’s number.

    And here I am staggering and bleary trying to get out of the house, work out and buy groceries before the guys in the red polo shirts show up. Gaaah.

  2. I get cable internet at my new digs day after tomorrow. I’m looking forward to it — currently either surf at work or bootleg a weak signal I get occasionally — but I feel as though my instinct for the value of a dollar is about twenty years behind.

  3. Update: as you can tell, they got me on line, and in two rather than the 4-6 that were gloomily predicted as the needed work time. Other than that Red Polo #1 smelled like the “before” part of the Lifebuoy Soap commercial, they were pretty professional. Didn’t stomp my plants or track stuff in on my carpet and asked with enchanting politeness before using the bathroom. Even configured the wireless connection on my laptop instead of leaving it for me to do.

    But, you know, after all those hysterical convulsing ads, it’s just Internet — not something I would have paid extra for back at the point when it would have cost me extra. The one page that shows the difference is — you guessed it — ICHC, which is a good test case for loading speed. I see all the little kitties much quicker now.

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