Challenging The Verizon Gestapo: A Study in Technological Fascism

Aquarian Weekly 4/4/01 REALITY CHECK


“Always read your phone bill.” -The Mighty Chief Wonka

These con job fuckers at Verizon have gone too far now. And it is my duty, nay; my birthright to notify any unsuspecting slaves of corporate tyranny, and detail the doom technology has wrought. And despite spending decades decrying the demise of Ma Bell, and the litany of useless drivel being spewed in the name of the evil long distance carrier, the time has come for all out war.

Verizon represents all that is wrong in the cold realities of a world where the conversation has taken a backseat to E-mail and the beeper and the voice service drone issuing in the goddamn tone.

Don’t let those television ads that parade a wide spectrum of humanity abusing the sanctity of the peace sign to signify the global Verizon village snow you. That’s the first sign of the brainwashing technique, like hamburger slop-pimps at MacDonald’s peddling saturated plastic fat as food and the cheap soda pop barkers at Pepsi hawking toxic chemicals mixed in syrup as hip youth elixir.

Manipulating the media is Fascism 101. Mesmerizing images set to soothing and recognizable music, providing a sense of comfort and excitement, is something I learned to abuse in the first fifteen minutes of an introductory college advertising course. Verizon’s vision of freedom from an antiquated society with billion dollar Big Brother methods that suck every penny from gluttonous communication spoiled prisoners, is run-of-the-mill Madison Avenue crap, practiced daily by the shoe-shine mentality of power-ties in conscience limbo.

I’m usually not thrown by these training-wheel methods, or even simple corporate rape, but the moment Verizon bought out “everything phone” in the area of the Putnam Bunker some months ago, and the district goons at Putnam County Central changed the area code with little warning, I’ve been forced to confront them.

Verizon’s first move was the arbitrary dropping of my MCI coverage without notification or prompting. Consequently, I was charged the maximum penalty for calls down the block.

Needless to say, it is always an adrenaline jack to have a 200% increase in the phone bill. This brings the obligatory caustic phone calls to Verizon’s “customer service”, which now consists of four hundred phone bays run by trebly computer voices and a series of infuriating key-pad punching exorcises.

This pointless maze of numerical combinations finally put me in touch with an operator in Tucson, Arizona, who would love to help, but has trouble locating New York on a map with anything less than a two-out-of-three guess ratio. When someone answering to the title of supervisor finally took over he directed me to MCI, whose people know nothing of area code changes, but proceeded to charge me up the ass for every second of use just the same.

MCI blames the whole thing on Verizon for storming in and forcing their hand. MCI reps seem to think that Verizon’s foray into long distance service has caused a sabotage war, taking consumer checkbooks as casualties.

But I’ve had issues with MCI since they decided it a cute idea to send me bi-monthly bills so they can use my pre-payments to help meet a decade of lofty Michael Jordan/Warner Bros. advertising contract pay-offs.

After days of foul language and rising blood pressure, MCI credited my account through Verizon, prompting me to cancel all connections with long distance. But unbeknownst to the layman, the degree of difficulty in blocking long distance service rivals splitting the atom or getting an AP reporter to pay for lunch.

No less than three times Verizon requested an independent third party confirmation to enforce the block, and then ignored it, leaving a detailed message on my answering machine claiming they could not enact my order without a third party confirmation.

Resisting the urge to split my cat’s skull with a five iron, the fourth try it went something like this:

Verizon: Hello this is Fwad (last name deleted) at Verizon customer service. How may I be of service to you?

jc: I’m on to you Fwad, you and your whole rotten operation. No simple procedure is this fucked up time and again without someone in charge pulling the strings in the background. I know how this works, bating and switching, feigning stupidity and transferring blame. Promises were made Fwad, reputations on the line.

Verizon: If I can just have your name and phone number, area code first, I can assist you.

jc: Don’t try to break me with cryptic requests. I’ve been through this with other militant factions, like those negligent layabouts at Burke Heat, who run soot through your ducts for six months and tell you to buy the filter yourself, while all the time they play Russian roulette with my gas line running discharge through the oil exhaust.

Verizon: I’m sure I know nothing about any Burke Heat, sir. If you’d just give me…

jc: Yeah, I give you my number and the next thing I know my vital information is in your master computer’s data base somewhere and I’ll be force fed Verizon propaganda until my death. And why do you tape these little conversations, eh Fwad?

Verizon: To better serve you in the…

jc: I’ll tell you, to play with our minds. I just punched my phone number into the computer, then you ask for it again? And why do you need my social security number or my date of birth? I became a tad suspicious when I was asked for a blood test after questioning a simple service charge once. And what the fuck are these hidden taxes, Fwad?

Verizon: What seems to be the exact problem, Mr. Campion?

jc: Now you know my name? And if you know my name, why do you need my phone number?

Verizon: Sir, what is it I can do for you?

jc: Please, in the name of all that’s holy, block my line for any and all long distance access. I don’t want anyone to be able to make anything beyond a toll call on this line, ever!

Verizon: You do realize Verizon offers affordable rates for long distance, and if you sign up now…

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