A lot of people have angry blogs. Blogs that they use to criticize and ridicule and vent their frustration at the world. While mine is not one of these kind of blogs, my next entry could be classified in the "venting" category, but it is not my intention to vent so much as it is to recount a moment of triumph.
It's about 3:30 in the afternoon. I'm sitting on the couch with my 3-month old who is happily working away at her bottle. The phone rings. Rrrring! I'll just let it go. Rrrring! But I am expecting a couple of calls... Rrrring! Yeah, I'd better get that. With the poise of an Olympic gymnast and the agility of a border collie I spring from the couch, wrap my free arm around the baby while still holding the bottle to her lips, and dash over to the kitchen counter. Rrrring! I quickly shift into a Flying Crane stance that the Karate Kid himself would applaud, balancing the baby and her bottle on my raised knee without disrupting her mid-day meal, allowing me a free hand to grasp the receiver.
"Hello?" I gasp into the handset.
"Hi!" says the perky voice on the other end. "This is Andrea calling from Qwest, your telecommunications company! How are you today?"
I feel my eyes narrow.
"Fine." I reply through clenched teeth, tucking the phone under my chin and trudging dutifully back to my seat on the sofa.
"First of all," Andrea continues, "We'd just like to thank you for doing business with Qwest..." she pauses, and I can't decide if she is waiting for me to hang up or to begin thanking her for such impeccable phone service. I want to tell her that a card would have sufficed, but having been recently convicted over my conduct with telemarketers, I stick that one in my back pocket.
"Uh-huh..." I say, skillfully side-stepping her corporate manipulation tactics. Her perkiness is undaunted.
"Well, we wanted to inform you of some of our additional services that are available to you!" Andrea announces, with a level of cheerfulness that would be merited only had she just told me that Qwest had decided to pay off our mortgage.
I am incredulous. Qwest has control of our telephone service, our television service, and now, our high-speed Internet service. Unless they plan on sending out a representative to do our laundry, I'm not sure how much more involvement they can have in our lives at this point. Caller ID, I suspect, would be among her suggestions, one that I find particularly enticing at the moment. The baby is crying now, and, this being the fourth or fifth call I have received from Qwest since we switched to them a month ago, I am not amused.
"Is there any way that I can not get calls from you guys anymore?" I ask, ignoring the introduction to her gospel of call-waiting and additional phone lines. "I'm on the Do-Not-Call List."
"Oh, are you on the National Do-Not-Call List?" she probes.
"Yes..." I reply cautiously, wondering if perhaps they have evaded my only weapon of defense by stationing Andrea in Mozambique.
"Oh, well you see," she explains, "Because we have a business relationship with you, we are still allowed to call you, even though you are on the list."
And Qwest wonders why the average American regards them with contempt. Could it be because they reward their newly acquired business relationships by descending upon them with customer service evocative of a cloud of gnats? I shudder to imagine the consequences were I to initiate a personal relationship with their company. Feeling defeated, I begin to envision myself twenty years from now, fending off their attempts to sell me videophone service, when Andrea pipes up again.
"Would you like me to sign you up for the Qwest Do-Not-Call List?"
My eyebrows rise in disbelief. Was this a trick question? She wouldn't try to pull anything over on me, would she? Surely not, especially not with my call monitored for quality assurance. I take a moment to grasp the magnitude of what I am about to accomplish with one simple word.
"Yes." I say definitively. "That would be great."
She types in the necessary information and gives me one last chance to change my mind.
"You do understand that by signing up for the Qwest Do-Not-Call List we will no longer be able contact you by phone for any promotions or additional services that could be available to you?"
I can hardly contain my glee.
"Yes, I understand."
"Well thank you for choosing Qwest and you have a wonderful day,” she concludes.
Oh, I will Andrea. I will.
Feeling like a man marooned on an island that has just stumbled upon a freshwater spring, I hang up the phone in triumph. A wonderful day indeed.