I’d recently developed the bad habit, over the last couple of months, of letting my cell phone service lapse until I got the tale-tale signal that it was time to pay my bill. I would pick up the phone to make a call. I’d press “call” and then… “doo da doo, your service has been temporarily disconnected.” Then I’d know; it’s time to pay the bill. Not the best or the smartest choice tree, I know!Each time this process repeated I had to pay not only my $150 cell phone bill, but also at least $30 in “reconnection” fees. I’m assuming that this “reconnection” fee went to pay the salary of the guy who had to get up out of his comfy chair, strap on his fifty-eight pounds of iron tools, walk five miles up the hill, shoulder open the four-hundred pound steel door, and then flip the giant switch that was dedicated to my cell phone. Yeah, I’m sure that’s what it was for.I thought it was my prerogative to suffer the penalty and pay when I felt like it (and, I did pay. Every month I paid. Boy, did I pay)… while, of course, contributing to job growth and security in our downtrodden economy.So a couple of days ago I heard the glorious news that I’d been waiting for. The iPhone 5 was about to be available for sale! I’d waited at least two years for this. I even let the iPhone 4S pass me by. I was certain and steadfast. I’d made the decision to save my coveted phone upgrade for the moment that really mattered, and now it had arrived!The morning of the announcement I woke and started my day with my priorities in check. I turned on my laptop, opened the browser, went to Apple.com and waited. Just me and the “We’ll be right back, we’re updating the store” page. And, I waited. Then, there it was. In all its promised splendor, iPhone5 was here. With the giddiness of Christmas Eve childhood glee, I checked my eligibility. Jaw to the floor eyes wide in disbelief… what was this? There must be some mistake. Is this screen really telling me that I’m not eligible for an upgrade until May of 2013?I have been a loyal AT&T customer for 10 years. I have stuck with this company through thick and thin, when everybody and his brother was jumping ship, I help on because that’s the kind of guy I am. I am nothing if not loyal. I fight to stay with the people and things I love. Even though I sometimes make mistakes and poor decisions, I stick. AT&T’s service has been notoriously horrible and, still, I stayed. When they offered the “microcell” to make up for the terrible connection and constant dropped calls, I stayed. They promised things would get better and so I stayed. I believed that my time and money investment would pay off. They had the best commercials. They were building in the newest technology and creating the best network. One day soon, it would happen.I was confident. These guys know me. I’m their biggest fan. So I call customer service and say, “Hey guys, how’s it goin’?” The guy took my info. Hey said that my account was up to date. So, it didn’t make sense that I wasn’t eligible. Then he said. “Oh here it is. I see the problem.” I’m saved, I thought. He continued, “I am looking at the notes and I see that your phone has been shut off a couple of time.” I said, “Yeah, I paid it late a few times.” And he said, “Well, what’s the problem? Why aren’t you able to pay your bill on time?” Really??!! His boss got on the phone and proceeded to lecture me for being irresponsible. They won’t give me the upgrade. I have been a customer for a decade but they still won’t help me out. They’ll “let” me get the new iPhone; I’d just have to pay $849. Really?? I’m your most faithful customer! I threatened to take my business and all my friend’s business to Verizon and she said, “I wish you wouldn’t, but there’s nothing I can do.”Although it broke my heart, I had no choice but to call Verizon. And, they said, “No problem, we’d love to have your business.” Turns out they have better coverage, a better network and, guess what… they’re cheaper! That’s right, Verizon’s service will cost me $60 less each month. Done!So, what’s the moral to the story:
Your relationships are an important part of your life. Pay attention to them.
Ignore the commercials. Consider the content.
Don’t suffer in silence. Make sure your needs are being met.
Be loyal to yourself first.
Look over the other side of the fence. Sometimes the grass is greener.
If it isn’t working, move on. You may be surprised by what’s waiting for you.
And, of course…7. Pay your bill on time!