Wednesday, August 22, 2007

"But It's For Free, Ma'am"

What do you do when you are traveling around the country to a variety of locations where wireless, high-speed Internet is not readily available?

[Sidebar: Yes, dial-up Internet still exists. Our kids will look back and laugh on the days when they were little and could only get online if their computer was connected to a telephone cable. As a matter of fact, they'll laugh at the whole idea of land lines. What's that? You haven't unplugged yours yet? What are you waiting for!]

For us, the solution (both this year and last) was to subscribe to AOL for the short period we were on the road. All in all, not a bad solution...spend a few bucks, get the privilege of waiting and waiting...and waiting for pages to load (not to mention all the showers I took in hotels across America while pictures were being posted to the blog.)

But here's the kicker...we had to, upon returning home, cancel AOL. What's that you say? How big of a deal can that be? You simply go online to and find the "cancel AOL" link. Not as easy as it sounds...go ahead and try it...

While you're at it, go ahead and Google the phrase "cancel AOL." This is what I did in the midst of my frustration over not finding a straightforward way to cancel AOL electronically. What did I find?

A recording of a phone call of someone trying to cancel and listen here. Hilarious!

Story after story of people's horror stories...22 minutes to cancel...50 minutes to cancel...

So what happened to us? Or, should I say, to Desi, as the account was set up in her name. Based on our prior expectations, the phone call (yes, we gave in and did the cancellation over the phone) wasn't all that bad. 9 minutes and 43 seconds. (OK...that is pretty bad.)

The highlight? When the customer service representative tried to get Desi to keep her AOL account open in some capacity...any capacity. At one point, she turned down his offer of subscribing to something called "free AOL." Her negative response is what generated the reply, "But it's for free, Ma'am."

No, it's not free, if time is money...



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