Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Optusian Wars: The Epilogue

The Optusian Death Star did not explode, but the Wars have ended. More with a whimper than a bang, I suppose.

When last we saw our heroine, it seemed that the Optusians were abandoning their incessant attacks on her. They gladly refunded money when asked, and the Optusian ambassador readily granted every request she made. He even seemed to sympathize with her litany of complaints - sending bills to the wrong address, cancelling service when the bills that never came weren't paid, putting her in debt collection, charging her penalties for all this and then, when her service was suspended, adding a monthly fee for insurance she hadn't requested.

Optimists thought it was the happy ending of the movie. They didn't know it was only the end of Act II.

After that last episode, LK ended up with a credit to her Optus account, so she decided she would not cancel it but use it instead to sign up for another 2-year contract in order to get (me) a free new phone. It was a controversial choice, and even her loving son the Prince used nice words, but basically told her he thought she was nuts. I knew enough to just say, "Whatever you want, dear."

About a week later, LK called to get the new phone. She got to tell her story again. And soon she got to once again demand to speak to the representative's manager. Then she got to tell the story yet again. It was to no avail. The Optusians could not (or would not) give her the deal she wanted. She wanted it, I might add, because it was a deal that was listed on their web site.

In the end, the Optus Consulate Official told her the problem seemed to lie in the fact that she had a business account. He offered to convert it to a personal account and told her she could go online in a few hours and complete her transaction.

"Thank you," she said, "that's the kind of service I have always received from Optus for the past 17 years."

Of course, she ended up getting the kind of service she's been getting this year, because his promise to change her account never eventuated. LK finally acknowledged that there could be no compromise with the Optusians, no meeting half-way, no dancing around the fire with the teddy bears.
On Thursday she moved to Telstra. Today, after receiving an Optus bill that ate up all her credits and added $12 more even though she hadn't used the phone all month, she remembered to cancel the service.

This time, she wasn't put on hold, and the Optusian who took her call was as friendly and nice as Optusians can be. He even told her he wanted her to tell her story, which she reluctantly agreed to do - hopefully for the last time. She concluded by telling him that she had already signed a contract with the Telstra Empire, the Optusians' archenemies.

"Is there anything we can do to keep your business?" he asked. "No," she replied, "as I told you, I've already signed a contract with Telstra."

And so, the Optusian Wars have ended. As with so many wars, there are no winners. There are certainly losers. Perhaps the terrible toll of this conflict is best understood by some things LK said to Caroline about it the other night.

Moving amazingly fast through the stages of grief, LK told her about the last foray and concluded, "It's beyond dumb and dumber. It's dumb, stupid, ignoramus, asshole!" But a few moments later, in a much more somber mood, she admitted to Caroline, "I wanted to weep. I wanted to say, 'I used to be important'."

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