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Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
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The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
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4AD
No Age - Everything in Between
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Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
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Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Konichiwa
The Walkmen - Lisbon
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Lisbon
Fat Possum
LOSTATSEA.NET > FEATURES >

March 20, 2001
SECOND EDITION: LETTERS TO THE PHONE COMPANY

Dear Mr. Ameritech,

Ameritech is the worst company in the world. I had never been dissatisfied with my phone service until I moved to Chicago and experienced the perpetual headache that is Ameritech. There is so much wrong with you, the list goes on and on: the hidden costs, lack of service: the technician NEVER arrives when he's supposed to, and the time frame is always too wide. I cannot miss work so I can wait for a technician who is too afraid to ring a door bell that might not be the right one. (The reason he did not come to my house this time was because we had failed to label our buzzer. Yet, knowing we are apartment #3, you would think he would've tried buzzing #3 after coming all the way out there, but he thought it would be better to just leave, and as it turns out, entering our house wasn't even necessary.)

Even simply calling to request service is annoying. I'll be on hold, sometimes up to twenty minutes, and the whole time you trick me into thinking a representative is coming on the line by interrupting the Muzak. But after my heart stops with the hope of finally speaking to a person, I am jilted back into my previous state of monotonous anticipation with an advertisement for some lousy deal on your charge ridden voice-mail, or overpriced DSL. When people call Ameritech, you can assume they're probably already angry, and the best way to make sure your customers stay angry is to play ads for more of your crappy phone service while they wait in line to yell at you. You (Al Ameritech, if that is your name) apologize, or rather, have your phone representatives apologize on your behalf. And you don't even apologize that much, Com Ed apologizes way more than you do, and you're ten times worse. You're worse than People's Gas, you're the worst company EVER! Yet what are you doing remedy it? Please tell me. I want to know.

I hate you Ameritech. I hate you hate you hate you hate you hate hateyouhateyouhateyou HATE YOU!!! I wish I had Z-Tel, but they can only transfer from your existing service, believe me, I tried, and it kills me that I have to pay another freakin' connection fee. But I'll pay as many as I have to because I want you to know how much I hate you. I just want you to know that you run a terrible company. Every time I walk by your downtown location I spit on or near your building, except when the area is covered with snow because you don't keep it shoveled. It saddens me that I should act so hostile towards a corporation that I have no personal connection to, but never has a corporation brought me more anger, for never has a corporation wronged me on nearly every occasion that I've dealt with it. The only thing I don't have trouble with is paying my bills, you have no problem taking my money and asking for more. It angers me that I should give you so much money, because everything you are doing is bad; nothing is good. I wish there was a way for me to further express my discontent to the point of it making a difference, but sadly, that is probably impossible. I'm sure that many people other than myself harbor ill feelings toward Ameritech, and you, Al Ameritech, do not listen, otherwise you would've done something about it.

I would like to take back what I previously said, about everything you do being bad. Your customer service representatives, though helpless, are extremely kind, understanding, and eager to stick up for you, the miser of a company that they work for. Rhonda was especially nice, and did not snap at me when I was short with her upon learning that I would have to wait another week for phone service that I had requested a month in advance due to the Ameritech technician's doorbell phobia. Mr. Ameritech, you have trained your staff to take abuse for you, and this to me seems inhuman. I apologized, as I knew the aforementioned technician with the aversion towards unfamiliar doorbells was not Rhonda's birth defect, and I asked if she could transfer me to someone else I could yell at, perhaps some human ear that you, Ameritech, had hired for the purpose of listening to me rant about why I hate you, Ameritech. She said, "you can yell at me", in a matter of fact and strangely submissive tone, as there was no such ear to listen besides her own, but it wasn't Rhonda who needed chiding, it was you, Al Ameritech.

I HATE YOU! I hate you so much. Even Mike Ditka hates you, surely you've seen his ads for Z Tel. I hope Z Tel and Smoke Signals put you out of business and Rhonda gets a job with one of them, and a promotion too. Eric Estrada would never lend his good name to your company, no celebrities will, that's why you don't have any in your ads.

See you in Hell,

Penelope Memoli

---

Dear Ms. Penelope Memoli:

We have received your recent correspondence and will respond to you as soon as possible.

Regards,

Ameritech Customer Service

---

Upon coming home from my job on the day that I was to receive phone service, I picked up the phone and, expecting to hear a mellow dial tone, I instead heard silence, like the silence of all the people in Chicago and Michigan who do not speak out and protest when they're crapped upon by their local phone service provider. I was too enraged to speak. Roommate S. told me a note had been left on the outside door, and that she was there at the time the technician claimed to have been, and no bell was rung. The following day I promptly called Ameritech to make a new appointment, as the yellow paper requested I do; the process was becoming all too routine. Which is why immediately after the call, I keyed the following letter, to an electronic ear who has yet to acknowledge that it is listening. I urge all dissatisfied Ameritech customers to send their most eloquent emails, and strongly worded letters, along to Ameritech, because maybe as a collective of voices we will finally be heard.

---

Dear Mr. Ameritech,

Once again I would like to express my sheer disgust with the service you don't provide. I really really hate you now. Once again, the technician failed to ring my bell. People were there. They would've heard the bell, had someone rung it. Instead, he leaves a retarded yellow note saying I have to make another appointment (this is the 3rd appointment I will have made). 'Ridiculous' is the only word that describes the situation. So I call and make another appointment. Shelly, I think her name was, was condescending towards me. "You don't understand", she said. I guess there was some sort of flood in my neighborhood and all the flood people get priority over me. I didn't see any flood. And even if there was a flood, wouldn't there already be a truck in the area, couldn't they just swing by and hook up my phone really quick? When I got angry and told her that if I ever switch to Z-Tel Ameritech will have to sue me if they want money, she said that they would, and that since I had just told her that, she would have to bring my threat to the attention of the proper people. I said, "So what? All of Chicago hates Ameritech. I've got a whole city behind me." She went on to tell me how there are many Chicagoans who are very pleased with their Ameritech service, but we never hear about them because happy people are quieter. She also boasted how she's sooooo satisfied with her phone service, as if to rub it in that she had a phone and I did not. I was about to say goodbye, she closed with, "I hope you have a better rest-of-your-day", as if my being angry was because of the bad day I was having, as opposed to Ameritech ruining my day, and my birthday in several days too, since I won't be able to get any calls on my birthday, or make any birthday plans on a phone. I told her she could have fun working for a terrible company and she said, "I will, I love my job, I love what I do." I'm sure she just loooooves her job. She gets to talk down to people, play with their heads, make false promises of technicians who don't ring doorbells. You brainwashed her, Al Ameritech. I don't know what you're paying these peons who lie for you, but maybe if you paid them less you could afford to hire more technicians, or competent technicians, because that's where the problem seems to lie. I don't think you're responsible enough to be Chicago's phone service provider, Mr. Ameritech. I hope you rot in hell because you aren't doing anything to give me phone service. I get to wait until August 17th before another technician will come out, and I bet I won't even get phone service, because I can't stay home and wait for him to discreetly leave me another note. My having a phone relies on the landlord letting the guy into wherever he needs to go, and my landlord is almost as unreliable as you.

And you do nothing to undo the wrong you've caused. I asked if I would be compensated for time missed from work. NO. What about the weeks I've spent without a phone, even though I took precautions and called a month in advance? Nothing.

Mr. Ameritech, I HATE YOU!! But I can't do anything. All I can do is write to you and tell you how upset I am at the awful service I have been receiving from you since I moved to Chicago. What more can I say? What can I do? I can pay tons of money to have my phone hooked up after a month of toil, and then pay more to have my service switched to another provider. Ridiculous.

Penelope Memoli

--
Penelope Memoli
A graduate of Columbia College in Chicago, Penelope Memoli has published material in several esteemed magazines. Her story "That Lady," published in Hair Trigger issue 23, was awarded a College Gold Circle Award by the Columbia Scholastic Press Association in 2002.

See other articles by Penelope Memoli.

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