I would give up my land line in a minute (no more recorded mortgage offers from law-breakers violating my presence on the do-not-call list! no more legal but oh-so-annoying calls from politicans!) but cell phones still aren't that all that reliable in terms of sound quality, and besides, my battery runs down in no time. So why would I give up my land line? Well, for one thing, the cost in relation to the service is ridiculous. Typically, my bill for basic services and certainly no long distance, is a little over $23, with about 66% of that for line charges, federal access charges, and other mystery fees. Of course, my cell phone bill is similarly full of tack-ons, but at least long distance calls are included in my fixed exorbitant monthly total. No surprises with the cell phone, thank you very much.
But in late November, trying to eliminate the increasing pile of dead trees arriving in my snail-mail box in the form of paper catalogs that I'm also not supposed to be getting because I signed up for the no-junk mail-list, using my land line I called the sender of each new catalog to politely (while gritting my teeth) request that I be taken off their mailing list. After dialing what I obliviously assumed was the toll-free number of one of these senders, as they answered the phone it suddenly dawned on me that it might not be a toll free call--I realized I didn't recognize their area code as likely being in the usual series of freebies. I had the presence of mind before I said anything else to ask if the call was toll free, and the customer service representative answered, "no, but I'll be glad to call you back" (I wonder how any catalog store can expect to retain customers if they have to pay to order by phone?). She called right back, at the company's expense this time, and cheerfully confirmed she would take me off the mailing list. Fine, done. I assumed my goof would trigger a long distance charge of some kind on my phone bill, but I never dreamed it would come to this:
And that, my friends, is how my dumb little 32¢ sin blew up into a $3.58 charge.