Round two: I'm down for the count
After checking my file, the supervisor said she couldn’t give me any discounts without my agreeing to a contract. I tried one desperate blow after another. Why did I have to rent a cable box for my second television, which I hardly ever watched? Why was I being charged a regional sports network fee when I had no interest in sports (other than the one I was engaged in right now)? Finally, I resorted to my best move, one I had practiced many times. I told her that if she couldn’t do better, I’d take the Cablevision offer.
What came next was a shock. She told me, “That sounds like a threat.”
I was stunned. Where was the sportsmanship? Where was the referee? Barely shaking it off, I countered with, “Yes, that’s exactly what that is, a threat.” I felt like a palooka in the ring with a world-class heavyweight.
“We’re sorry to lose you,” she said, not sounding sorry at all.
It was the negotiating equivalent of an upper cut, nearly propelling me out of the ring. I should have ducked. Instead, I was down on the mat. I could hear the referee uttering his slow count to 10. Saved only by the bell, I had no choice but to retire to my corner. I hung up.
Round three: I’m singing the Rocky tune
I struggled to my feet, steeling myself for one more bout. This wasn't just for me, it was for consumers everywhere! I called another customer service rep, this time on the pretense of needing to obtain instructions for returning my Verizon equipment and terminating service in preparation for my switch to Cablevision.
After answering my questions, the rep gave me the opening I was looking for the entire match. “So why are you switching?” she said.
It was time for my right hook. I explained what had happened so far, making no effort to conceal my frustration. She said she’d see what she could do. Then she came back with her answer: I didn’t need a cable box for that other TV after all; she’d send me something called an adapter, saving me seven bucks a month. And she could do a lot better on the pricing of my triple-play package and movie channels. Bottom line: $113, $40 less than I was currently paying and beating Cablevision’s offer. Even better? No contract!
So Verizon went down. It was a knockout in the third round. Sure, I was beaten up, bloodied, exhausted, but I was the champ. And I felt great as I did my little Rocky dance, picturing myself sitting on my Barcalounger, munching chips and watching the same movie for the fifth time on Encore.
I do have to admit one thing. The deal is good only for a year. So it won’t be long before I’ll have to defend my title. But I’ve already begun training, practicing my footwork, working on my jabs, building up my muscle mass, slurping down goblets of raw eggs. And if there’s anything I’m certain of, it’s that, when the time comes to go back into the ring, I’ll be ready to come out swinging. And I hope you will too!
—Anthony “Rocky” Giorgianni