Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Ernestine Still Calls the Shots at AT&T

AT&T no longer has anything to do with "Ma Bell." SBC decided to take over the name when they bought the company. Nevertheless, the cruel mindlessness embodied in Ernestine the Operator (as created by Lily Tomlin) is still with us. Today I received electronic mail from AT&T informing me that I had not paid my bill in full. This could only be resolved by contacting their Call Center, whose operator informed me that I had paid in full but that a new charge had been added yesterday. This involved a California tax on 911 services that should have been on the statement as of last January, meaning that it took them about half a year to update their billing software. The amount they added after the fact was $0.24, and I was assured I could pay it upon receipt of my next statement. I still remember Ernestine's words:
We don't care. We don't have to. We're the phone company!

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