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billing season

In all fairness, I'm typing from memory. The conversation probably went nothing like this...
    operator:
    What can I do for you?

    self:
    I need to pay my cellphone bill.

    operator:
    Can I get your account number?

    (pertinent info is exchanged)

    operator:
    And is there anything else I can do for you?

    self:
    Maybe. As I was navigating your voicemail system trying to find you, a recording told me that my service has been interrupted. Did I press the wrong button?

    operator:
    No, sir. The computer shows that your service was cut off yesterday.

    self:
    What does that mean, exactly?

    operator:
    Your cellphone is dead. You haven't be able to place or recieve any calls for the past 24 hours.

    self:
    Okay, but you know, I've been placing and recieving calls all morning.

    operator:
    Privacy laws prevent me from verifying that, sir.

    self:
    In my day, the customer always being right would have prevented you from verifying it.

    operator:
    I doubt that.

    self:
    Whatever. The point I'm getting at is that there's a significant discrepency between what your computers describe and the reality I'm experiencing.

    operator:
    That's subjective. Your experience of reality will naturally feel more credible to you than anything another party describes, but to them, the situation is reversed. Experiences differ. Discrepencies exist. Should the computer's perception be considered any less valid?

    self:
    To some degree, the computer's interpretation has to be less valid, because you and I have more direct sensory input.

    operator:
    Meaning?

    self:
    Your computer experiences the world through second-hand input. That which is typed has already been processed and filtered by any number of humans. So, any conclusions it draws are based on an unreliable foundation.

    operator:
    Because humans are unreliable.

    self:
    Yes.

    operator:
    We should trust a human over the computer because the human is unreliable?

    self:
    Provided the human understands this. If they implicitly trust other humans, their views can't be trusted.

    operator:
    So, now there are two classes of humans...

    self:
    But only one class of computer. It belongs in the same class with the humans who can't be trusted.

    operator:
    Because, they're trusting.

    self:
    Right.

    operator:
    And, to determine which class a human belongs in?

    self:
    You lie to them.

    operator:
    I don't buy that.

    self:
    Good. Your opinion just gained a notch of credibility.

    operator:
    So, you'd trust the computer more if it lied to you?

    self:
    It's a start.

    operator:
    And, we're having this conversation because you feel the computer is lying.

    self:
    No. We're having this conversation because I feel the computer was misinformed.

    operator:
    I see.

    self:
    I'm just assuming there's some sort of consequence to the computer believing that my phone's been disconnected. Perhaps a reconnect fee?

    operator:
    Yes. $25, applied to your next bill.

    self:
    I'd like to not pay that.

    operator:
    You won't be given much choice in the matter.

    self:
    Understood. But, a fee to reconnect a phone which was never disconnected just seems wrong on principal.

    operator:
    How so?

    self:
    Well, you're charging to perform a service not rendered.

    operator:
    Your phone was scheduled for disconnection. Had this gone through, we'd need to reconnect it.

    self:
    Yes. But, it didn't. And it won't, because I just paid my bill. Correct?

    operator:
    Correct.

    self:
    So, when the $25 reconnect fee shows up on my bill next month, I'm going to be rightfully upset.

    operator:
    Sure.

    self:
    I thought maybe you could waive that fee in advance?

    operator:
    I suppose I could. But, the computer says I have an excuse to charge you $25. We live for that.

    self:
    And, this charming conversation did nothing to change your mind?

    operator:
    Complete waste of my time, sir.

    self:
    That's a shame.

    operator:
    Indeed it is. Happy new year!

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