Some of you may remember a column I wrote about my troubles with the phone company. What happened then was just the beginning. For the next two months my bills from Verizon failed to credit me for my payments. Angry phone calls got me nowhere. Each month, the story was the same.

“How may I provide you with outstanding service today? Please hold … ”

An hour passes here.

“… We have no record of your payment.”

“I sent a check.”

“We have no record of your payment.”

“I sent a check.”

“We have no record of your payment.”

“But I sent the check!”

“Look, don’t get angry with us. After all, our records show you’re the one who hasn’t paid your bill in three months … ”

At which point I hang up, close my eyes and watch obscenities scroll across the field of red that’s clouding my vision. Maybe I cry a little. Use your imagination.

But in the end I always send another check. I keep sending bigger and bigger payments as the total mounts.

And then it happened – they cashed them.

All of them.

At once.

So again, I called the phone company.

“Hello, MCI? I want to switch to your long distance service.”

One would think that Verizon would leave me alone at this point. I still have their local phone service. I have around $200 worth of credit on my account. Things should be just rosy as far as they’re concerned.

But no. They call me incessantly. It goes something like this:


“Hello, my name is Dick and I’m with Verizon Long Distance. Is this Josh?”


“We see you switched to MCI. May we ask why?”

“You guys screwed me out of $200.”

“Oh. Well, your business is important to us.”

“Really? I hadn’t noticed.”

“Um – Can I answer any questions for you today?”

“Yes. When am I getting my money back?”

“Uh, we don’t give refunds becau – ”


When I got back to my apartment last week there were three letters from Verizon Long Distance asking me to switch to their service. This was turning into a bad relationship. So I wrote them a letter. A breakup letter. Exactly the kind of thing they won’t know what to do with – which means someone might actually read it. And if not, you will. Here it is for your amusement. I’ll let you know if I get a reply.

Dear Verizon Long Distance,

Stop calling me! It was beautiful while it lasted, but what we had can never be again. You were always so busy with other people that you never seemed to have time for me. I would wait by the phone for hours on end, but you never picked up. You never performed for me and in the end all you left me with were piles of mail asking for more money. I felt so used. So I’m afraid that our torrid hold-music romance has come to an end. I am with MCI now. They never put me on hold, they return my calls, and they service me like – well, you couldn’t imagine.

Look, I still want to be friends. I’ll still send you checks from time to time and you can still provide my local phone service. But once something like what we had is broken, you really can’t put the pieces back together again. I’ll always look back fondly on the connection that we shared, but I think it’s time for us to go our separate ways and grow as individuals. So please, I’m begging you – don’t call me anymore.

Love, Joshua A. Braun

Account # XX XXXX XXXX X

Josh Braun is the Daily Nexus science and technology editor. He enjoys amusing himself in odd ways.