A Call-Back Attack

, , , , , | Working | November 1, 2018

(This takes place when the only people who have cell phones are Mulder and Scully from “The X-Files.” Also, PINE is a sophisticated email system that you can use if you go to the computer lab. It is my freshman year, and I am calling the phone company on the only payphone in the dorm of a well-established college.)

Me: “Hello. I would like to set up phone service for my dorm room.”

Phone Company: “Okay. I’ll need [information that makes sense].”

Me: *provides said info*

Phone Company: “And what number can we call you back on?”

Me: “Um, none. Everyone here is calling you this week to set up their phones; no one anywhere has a phone. I’m calling from a communal payphone.”

Phone Company: “I understand. What number can we call you on if we need to reach you?”

Me: “As I said, none. I do not have a phone, which is why I am calling you.”

(We rinse and repeat a few times, until I finally give up and tell them the number of the payphone, while admonishing them that if they call it A) most likely no one will answer, B) even if someone does, it will not be me, and C) whoever answers will not have any way of reaching me. Fast forward to the end of the year. The phone company has a great system that they constantly inform everyone about, where you can give them a code word and when you call back the next year to set up your phone again in your new room, they can just do it without any rigmarole because they have all your info. Clearly this means that they understand that three quarters of the college will stop their phone service for the summer and resume it somewhere else the following year. I set this up, happy that they have a system. Fast forward to the beginning of sophomore year:)

Me: “Hello.  I’m calling from a payphone at [College] to get my service turned on again from last year.”

Phone Company: “Great. Can you just verify your identity and give me your code word?”

Me: *miraculously remembers and provides it*

Phone Company: “And what is a number we can call you back on?”

(Cue twenty minutes of my life wasted, explaining that, like everyone else who would be calling them, I was calling from a communal payphone and there was no way they could specifically reach me by phone BECAUSE I WAS CALLING TO SET UP MY PHONE and so was EVERYONE ELSE! Rinse and repeat for two more years.)

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