I've spoken glowingly of Boost Mobile in comments here in the past. I get unlimited everything for fifty bucks a month -- minutes, long distance, roaming, email, text, 411, and probably more that I can't think of off the top of my head right now. I get reception where it seems nobody else does (ar at least I did with the old phone). I can even make calls from Mike's basement, and he lives out in the sticks outside Columbia. When my phone was stolen a year and a half ago, they were helpful and had my new one turned on within an hour.
But their corporate evilness is finally showing.
The bill's due on the last day of every month, and I forgot about it until yesterday when the phone stopped working. It isn't the first time that's happened. When it does I simply pay the bill and the phone is back on in less than five minutes. So I went down to Family Dollar to get cleaning supplies and pay the phone bill.
The cashier rang up the cleaning supplies, bleeped the bar code for fifty bucks worth of Boost, and the register displayed "TRANSACTION DENIED."
"Doesn't matter," I said. "I'll just get it somewhere else." I drove down to the Shell station at the corner of 5th and South Grand for beer and to pay the bill.
Now, at most places, you get a slip of paper with a code that you punch into the phone after dialing "reboost". At the gas station there, they put your phone number in and you get a reciept showing where you paid, how much you paid, when you paid, etc, and the phone comes on in five minutes.
An hour later the phone still didn't work. I got out the reciept in preparation to call their customer service, and only then saw that the cashier at the Shell station had put the wrong number in, with one digit's mistake -- a 1 instead of an 8. So I drove back down to the gas station. The cashier insisted that she's put in the number I'd given her. I'd already had a bad day, with the underpowered ten year old computer at work crashing apps every ten minutes, and the day just got worse and worse. "No refunds", the incredibly rude manager said adamantly. "You have to resolve it with Boost."
"I'll resolve it with the goddamned State's Attorney", I sneered, and got in my car to call BOOST. "Por español [unintelligible] cinco.", followed by "Welcome to BOOST mobile..." with its damned convoluted vopicemail menu. I finally got a human on the line, who must have lived in Gibberland because he spoke in Gibberish. "No hablo español", I said. "Habla engles por favor."
He hung up on me.
I drove down to the Sprint store, since Sprint bought BOOST quite a while back. The clerk looked like my nephew -- it seems everybody his age looks like him, with stubble where normal people have hair. But unlike the assholes at the Shell station (is everyone in the oil business an asshole?) he was polite and helpful. "I'll be right with you," he said. "Meanwhile you can call BOOST."
"I already did," I said. "They don't speak English."
He sighed. "Yeah, I've had that problem, too. Give 'em another try anyway."
The woman I finally got on the phone had a thick Spanish accent, but was understandable... just barely. I'm getting the idea that most of BOOST's US customers are Hispanic; certainly, all their call center people are, and the first few items on their phone web menu are oriented to Hispanics. I explained the problem to her. "Do you have a reciept?" she asked. "It's in my hand," I replied, and read off a few numbers from the reciept.
"You have to fax he reciept to us", she said.
"WHAT? I don't have a fax machine!"
The middle aged fellow who looke like my nephew overheard. "I'll fax it. Here, give me the phone and the reciept." The woman he'd been waiting on snickered. "They must think we all carry fax machines strapped to our belts!" she said snidely. I walked around the store looking at phones; my old one was about shot, and would only work as a phone in speakerphone mode. Hell, might as well replace it while I was here.
Stubblehead handed my phone back. "They said it'll take four hours," he said apologetically. "Is there anything else I can do for you?"
"Yeah, I need a new phone."
"Yeah, I saw that."
"You don't carry these any more?" I said holding up my phone. None of the phones I saw on display were as small as mine, and some of them looked like they were half the size of a netbook. You'd need a hobag to carry one around. These new phones look like retro nineties, what with how damned big they are.
I finally settled for one only slightly bigger than my old one. But it has a qwerty keyboard, a better camera, and a shitload more memory.
By ten the phone was still shut off and I went to bed. First thing this morning I tried to call my daughter. "You don't have enough money in your account..."
I just tried again -- and was able to call my daughter.
At least they finally fixed the problem, but I shouldn't have had to jump through so many hoops to do so.
I'm in the middle of rereading Foundation, and I swear it's an analog of 2011 USA. Where's Hari and Yugo when we need them?