“Good morning, Ms. Cone or is it Cohan?” asked the young man from AT&T.
“It’s neither,” stated my seventy-five-year-old mother followed by, “what do you want?”
“Well, Ms. Cohan, I am calling from AT&T and it states on your account that you do not currently have call waiting – is that correct Ms. Cohan?” the poor schlub asked while attempting to stick to his script.
“Yes, that is correct and I do not want call waiting on my phone. Did my daughter put you up to this? She’s always after me to get call waiting,” she stated.
Onward he presses, “No ma’am, I don’t know your daughter.”
“You should, she’s a very nice woman and I’m sure one of your loyal customers if you check your records,” she said.
“I’m sure she is a nice woman and a loyal customer, however Ms. Cohan, AT&T has an exciting offer for you. Since you have been such a loyal customer, if you allow us to add call waiting to your service, we will reduce your monthly bill by $1.00,” he blurted out before she could interrupt.
Never losing the opportunity to save a dollar, she opted in for the service, which would be operational within 24 hours. Knowing I would be thrilled, she hung up and immediately called. “Well, now you can call me and get through anytime because I just got call waiting on my phone. A nice young man from AT&T called to say they would add it to my service – and – I do not have to pay a dime! Instead, they are reducing my monthly bill by $1.00. I told him you were a nice woman and a loyal customer. Do you receive a $1.00 off each month?”
“No mom, I do not get that discount, but I’m happy that you finally got call waiting,” I said. “Do you want me to call them and tell them you should be receiving that discount too?” she asked. “It’s okay, mom – I already have call waiting as a service on my cellphone and it’s not that expensive.” Knowing I had ruffled a feather, I winced as she replied, “A dollar is a dollar!” Thankfully someone beeped through on my phone. “Gotta run, mom – call you later,” I said switching over.
I lovingly call my mother a “plaid dog” because she knows everyone and for that reason, she is always on the phone with one of her pals. It used to be frustrating to call and get a busy signal. However, today when I called, even though the call waiting feature was in full swing, all I got was a never-ending ring.
After finally getting through to her I said, “Mom, didn’t you hear me beeping through on the call waiting line?” “Is that what that is? It is driving me crazy! All I hear all day long is beep, beep, beep while I’m talking to my friends,” she retorted. “That’s what the call waiting feature is, mom – it beeps at you so you know there is a call waiting,” I said. “Well, I don’t want something beeping at me all day long, and it’s just rude,” she told me in her best mom voice.
The next day she called AT&T and emphatically said she did not care if she saved a dollar or not, she wanted that call-waiting service removed from her phone immediately. I am certain that AT&T has placed a “do not call about call-waiting” warning for other unwitting schlubs, in her permanent record.
As I patiently wait in the busy line for a turn to talk to my mom, it reminds me that technology, and people born before 1940 do not mix well and that we, as their children should leave it that way. After all, there is something to be said about a time when Call waiting, Caller ID, Star 69 and all those other features did not exist. How did they get started in the first place? What happened when a busy signal meant exactly that? If someone else was on the line, all your gossip would just have to wait until they were finished and the line was free.