Wanderings – Some things are best left alone

I am not a cheap person. That is to say I am not someone who chooses price over quality. When I shop for products or services, I try to support local as much as possible. There are certain items that I will spend the extra money for brand name rather than the discount label. That said, I also try to be ethical in my purchases when I can.

Recently, I decided to axe my cell phone service for ethical reasons. I had already cut the cord with the blue monolithic telecom giant for my home phone, internet, and TV service six years ago. But my cell phone service did not change, until last month.

Earlier this year, a few people I know lost their jobs when said blue monolithic telecom company decided to increase shareholder dividends at the expense of people’s livelihood. I decided that now would be a good time to quit the blue monolith once-and-for-all.

Recently, Morrisburg received a new cell phone tower landmark, so I thought I would give that company a try.

Diligently I navigated moving not only my cell phone, but also my wife’s, to this new company. I thought I was doing a good thing. Cell service can’t be bad when the tower is nearly on your front door step, right?

This is where theory and actual experience draw far apart. The problem with upstart companies that are expanding is there may be gaps in cell service. In my case, this was more like a chasm than a gap.

This couldn’t be right I thought. The network map says that if I can’t use my “home” network I could roam. There is an old expression, “you know what thought did?” I soon remembered.
This foray into the new “local” provider lasted 18 days before I chucked the SIM cards in the recycling box and moved to another provider.

This next provider, known as the red monolithic telecom company, charged me for the SIM cards, but I just needed decent cell phone service. No sympathy was to be given for my ordeal so far.

The red monolith had better service if I was outside the Morrisburg village limits, but worse inside. Calling this brutal would be an understatement. But I was stuck. I even decided, while trying to deal with missed calls, dropped calls, and the usual issues that ensue, to record a new voicemail greeting to let the world know of my unhappiness with the red monolith.

That message paid homage to George Costanza’s famous “Greatest American Hero” voicemail greeting. For those who have my cell phone number, please do not call it now, I have changed it.

My experience with the red monolith was made more frustrating when I attempted to contact customer service to fix the issue. I received several offers to buy new phones or re-up my contract 12 days into having joined the red monolith as a customer. Those were all ignored by yours truly.

After 20 days of futility dealing with the red monolith, I was on the hunt for yet another provider.

The green monolithic telecom company was absolutely out of the question after my firing them eight years ago. High bills and unwarranted roaming charges begone! I do still miss my Blackberry though. Maybe Premier Ford will sell me a used one? I read he has quite a collection of those antiques.

I started to question why I had brought this pain and disillusionment on myself. Maybe it was Stockholm Syndrome, having been with the blue monolith for so long. No, it was just my need for reliable cell phone service.

In a group text with my comrades who had lost their jobs, I discovered that while they were no longer employed by the blue monolith, their phone service was still with the company. They did not quit a good service network, even out of protest against losing their jobs. Maybe they were on to something.

Quietly, I bought new SIM cards again and rejoined the blue monolith. My country for a decent cell phone signal, I guess.

Lesson learned. Sometimes things just work, and I should leave well enough alone.

Originally published in the June 16, 2021 edition of the Morrisburg Leader.