Cognitive Styles of Customer Support Reps

February 6th, 2010  |  Published in etc  |  2 Comments


I just thought of a point I think I should have made a little more clear in my previous account about my AT&T “866 number lands you in China” woes.

I’ve spoken to three representatives so far, and they’ve had one thing in common:

Confronted with a bill that shows three calls to the exact same number—all initiated within three minutes of each other, with one call not being charged anything at all—the representatives acknowledge that it seems strange and inconsistent, but then go on to say that there’s nothing anyone can do about it.

Sometimes you just call a toll-free number and get charged for a call to China.

Things have merely worked out that way, they seem to be reasoning, and who’s to say there’s not some sublime purpose guiding the hands of the billing machines?


  1. Betsy Aubrecht Leonard says:

    February 6th, 2010 at 6:29 am (#)

    Wow. You have amazing powers of self control. My blood is boiling and it’s not even my customer service issue. What I find fascinating is that the rational faculties of all these people have been taken over by their brainwashed acquiesence to their company’s irrational business model, which is, essentially, bill anything, make it complicated and frustrating to resolve, and stand back and watch the revenues pour in $3.99 at a time.

  2. Phil Kitchel says:

    February 6th, 2010 at 9:30 am (#)

    The Claw decides who will go, and who will stay.

    Trying not to see your story as a synechdoche of everything that is broke’d in this country.

    The ‘graph after you first see the charge made we weep. Also, I totally just used the word “synechdoche” in a sentence.

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