Many years ago, I worked at a mid-sized company. It was at a time when alternative long distance carriers could first be considered; I was tasked with investigating options. A common prospecting method among the providers was cold calling via the phone. They would share a baseline of general information, followed by the query, “So, about how much do you spend on long distance a month?”
Seeking to have some fun, I would be evasive, saying, “Oh, it’s in the twenties.”
There would be an awkward moment of silence, before they’d timidly seek clarification. “Ah, do you mean twenty dollars?”
“No,” I would deadpan, “twenty thousand.” At that point, they would hurriedly set up an appointment to meet with me in person.
That was then. Today is different; my long distance usage is in the twenty-dollar range. What bugs me is that my bill is substantially higher. Here’s a breakdown:
Long distance: $29.31 (it was a high month!)
Reoccurring charges: $19.95
Other fees/surcharges: $15.11
So, my “long distance” bill is only 44% long distance; 56% is for various taxes and surcharges – courtesy of our politicians. Therefore, my 5 cents a minute rate, effectively becomes 11.25 cents. Even though this expense is a fraction of a percentage of my annual costs, it is one that causes great angst. For my own piece of mind I must do something about it. However, my usage is not going to garner me any attention or interest. I’ll be lucky if anyone will even talk to me about it.