YOUR CALL IS IMPORTANT TO US - "The Customer Solution Center"

By Dianne Weaver 2008

The power went off at the house, more problems with the line on Pine Creek Road. I called the 800 number in the phone book to report the outage, a somewhat common occurrence in the Village of Hur at the time. I got the AEP's "Customer Solution Center" and a recording "Punch 1 if you want...2 if you want"...well, you know the drill.

I did, after which I got the "Your call is important to us" message. Then there was the musical treat of Beatles tunes being played by an orchestra, punctuated with a few more "Your call is important to us" messages.

The "Customer Solution Center" asked me to punch in my phone number, which I did.

A recorded voice said the "Solution Center" could not validate my home phone number, sorta like "You have performed an illegal operation." Funny the phone company never has a problem validating it, when the bill is due. I hung up and went through the whole thing one more time, dozing off to the muzak. I was told again "Your call is important to us."

After a long wait ("Stay on the line and a service representative will assist you.") Eureka! An honest to God, human person came on the line. The nice lady asked, "Where are you located"? I explained I lived in Calhoun County WV, the county seat is Grantsville and my mailing address is Mt. Zion 26151. There was a pause. "What address is your house?" she inquired. I explained I lived on Pine Creek Road, but I have a Mount Zion mailing address. There was a pause.

"Could you give me your phone number please?" I gave her my phone number. Again, that didn't seem to help matters. "So, you are on Pine Creek Road. I'm checking." A few moments later she said "Ma'am, there is a Pine Creek Road near Omar, WV." I replied, "That's nice! Do they have power?"

Again, I gave the pertinent information, phone number, road, address, county and state, she put me on hold. I thought she may come back on the line and ask for our sons immunization records, or perhaps my mother's maiden name, but she only told me that she was still checking.

Well, I finally got the drift and told the nice lady I was going to hang up.

She asked why.

I kindly told her I was going to fill my oil lamps, perk a pot of coffee on the stove, like in the olden days and crank up the old Victrola.

I inquired and she told me the friendly solution/service center was located in Columbus, Ohio. I fought the urge to tell her there is a Columbus in Georgia, Nebraska, Montana, Texas and...but that would have only lead to my asking, "Do they have power?"

God knows, she would have put me on hold while she checked.

In fairness, the local power company folks did get the power back on quickly.

Apparently, one of our good neighbors had already been through the drill!