My mobile phone bill was due on the 22nd. And I hadn’t paid it till today. You know why? Because they never sent me the goddamn bill. And until I saw my bill, I wasn’t going to make no damn payment.
I made the damn payment this morning. I hadn’t seen my bill yet. How could I have backed down from my ideals? How could I have let this happen, you ask? Well, simply put, Vodafone are a bunch of persuasive b@$tards. How’d they persuade me, the man with the iron will, you ask? Well, they had to try, that’s for sure. They called me like a gazillion times, but I steadfastly held my stance. And every last one of their telemarketers was stumped by one question I asked: Where’s my bill?
But today they tried a new line of arm-twisting. They deactivated outgoing on my phone. So I went into their office to dole out some ass-whuppin’. They gave me one of those token thingies and asked me to wait my turn. I did. Then some guy calls me forward to his desk. With the confident swagger of one about to stare down yet another tie-sporting, smug, “How may I help you, Mister Jhayu?” schmuck.
I sat down at the desk in front of him, leaning back, preparing myself for the pleasure of seeing another man fall before the salvo I was about to fire off. In that usual, aggravatingly deferential tone, paced for the average Bugatti, he began with, “GoodafternoonsirwelcometoVodafonehowmayIhelpyou?”
Ha ha! Nice try. I was waiting for it, so his attack was wasted. And, I must admit, with not just a little smugness, I replied, “Yeah, I haven’t paid my bill. ‘Cos I never got no damn bill. Two of your people assured me that they’d have a duplicate bill dispatched to me ‘within two days’. The last time that happened was four days ago. They even asked for my email id so they could mail me a soft copy. They haven’t even done that.”
The guy blinked. I waited for a more extreme reaction. It didn’t come. I couldn’t believe it. Nothing more? He simply drew a breath, and casually started off himself. “ThankyouMisterJhayuforsharingthisinformationwithmeI'dbehappytohelpyousortthisp
It was my turn to blink. Several times. I hate to admit it, but I was kinda blown back by this. Not only did he simply blink away my powerful argument, he fired back with questions of his own! Somewhat meekly now, I answered. He smiled. I think he sensed that the jugular was exposed, because his grin got wider and his fangs stood out even more. With evil glinting sharply in his eyes, he began again. “ThankyouMisterJhayuforsharingthisinformationwithmeifyoucouldpleasewaitforamom
Only a few mouse clicks later, he grinned and pulled out his ace in the hole: “MisterJhayuI’mafraidIhavetoinformyouthatwehaveconfirmationofthereceiptofyourbill
atthatmailingaddress.” And suddenly, just for this bit, he regained his powers of normal speech. “It was received at your mailing address on 9th March. The contact number provided on the courier slip is XXXXXXXX.” That grin returned to his face. You would probably have seen the blood on his teeth.
But I didn’t. I was too fazed. I had almost stopped listening to him in the middle, but at the mention of the number, my attention sprung back to, well, attention. Familiarity and realization dawned over me.The number he read out was my aunt’s phone number. My aunt who lives upstairs.
Shifting nervously in my seat, I asked him to wait a moment while I confirmed this. Called Dad. Asked him to ask. And sure enough, my aunt had not only received, but also kept my phone bill, without mentioning it to anyone.
Sheepishly, I asked the man where and how much I was to pay and left. But I wasn’t quick enough to avoid his last, ingratiating jibe. “ThankyouMisterJhayuforcomingdowntotheVodafoneofficetoclearupthismatterIhopeI
Weakly, I smiled at him and left.
Moral of the story:
Look left, look right, then look left again. Then ensure there isn’t a volcano erupting somewhere halfway around the globe. Then cross the street.