L.A. Beaches

Living in Los Angeles, one sees all type of people. Everything from movie stars to inner city gang kids. Russian refugees to rock stars. Homeless beggars to rich, pretentious yuppies. The "nuveau rich" as they are called. But one thing is for certain everyone has an attitude.

Last week Cathy and I took the day off from work and spent it at the beach. As we walked through the parking lot to the sand, we noticed a couple unpacking their Mercedes. They had a ton of stuff. Beach umbrella, chairs, a folding table, blankets, and who knows what else. Cathy and I just shook our heads as we trooped off to the surf.

After a few minutes the couple arrived and set up "camp" not thirty feet away from us. It took them awhile to get their stuff together, but soon they opened their bottle of wine, laid out the china, and were snacking on crackers, cheese and other delicacies. As unusual as it may seem, they really weren't much different from other pretentious couples we see at the beach on any given day.

We ignored them and soaked up the sun instead. Perhaps a half hour latter the wife told her husband she was going to the car to get something. He said "that's fine, I'll just take a dip in the water." With that he kicked off his Gucci loafers and walked into the surf.

Perhaps it was the wine, or his lack of swimming skills, but he was soon floundering. The life guard noticed him and rushed to his rescue. As the life guard pulled the man from the surf other life guards arrived to assist. The wife seeing that it was her husband rushed to the scene.

"Oh my God, Brian! Brian!" she yelled. One of the life guards held her and tried to reassure the panicked wife.

"He'll be all right, mam. They are just giving him a little artificial respiration."

"Artificial Respiration?! Artificial Respiration?!" The wife shrieked. "My brian either gets real respiration or nothing at all!"


Me: Hello
AT&T: Hello, this is AT&T...
Me: Is this AT&T?
AT&T: Yes, this is AT&T...
Me: This is AT&T?
AT&T: Yes This is AT&T...
Me: Is this AT&T?
AT&T: YES! This is AT&T, may I speak to Mr. Byron please?
Me: May I ask who is calling?
AT&T: This is AT&T.
Me: OK, hold on.

At this point I put the phone down for a solid 5 minutes thinking that, surely, this person would have hung up the phone. I ate my salad. Much to my surprise, when I picked up the receiver, they were still waiting.

Me: Hello?
AT&T: Is this Mr. Byron?
Me: May I ask who is calling please?
AT&T: Yes this is AT&T...
Me: Is this AT&T?
AT&T: Yes this is AT&T...
Me: This is AT&T?
AT&T: Yes, is this Mr. Byron?
Me: Yes, is this AT&T?
AT&T: Yes sir.
Me: The phone company?
AT&T: Yes sir.
Me: I thought you said this was AT&T.
AT&T: Yes sir, we are a phone company.
Me: I already have a phone.
AT&T: We aren't selling phones today Mr. Byron.
Me: Well whatever it is, I'm really not interested but thanks for calling. When you are not interested in something, I don't think you can express yourself any plainer than by saying "I'm really not interested", but this lady was persistent.

AT&T: Mr. Byron we would like to offer you 10 cents a minute, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

Now, I am sure she meant she was offering a "rate" of 10 cents a minute but she at no time used the word rate. I could clearly see that it was time to whip out the trusty old calculator and do a little ciphering.

Me: Now, that's 10 cents a minute 24 hours a day?
AT&T: (getting a little excited at this point by my interest) Yes sir that's right! 24 hours a day!
Me: 7 days a week?
AT&T: That's right.
Me: 365 days a year?
AT&T: Yes sir.
Me: I am definitely interested in that! Wow!!! That's amazing!
AT&T: We think so!
Me: That's quite a sum of money!
AT&T: Yes sir, it's amazing how it adds up.
Me: OK, so will you send me checks weekly, monthly or just one big one at the end of the year for the full $52,560, and if you send an annual check, can I get a cash advance?
AT&T: Excuse me?
Me: You know, the 10 cents a minute.
AT&T: What are you talking about?
Me: You said you'd give me 10 cents a minute, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. That comes to $144 per day, $1,008 per week and $52,560 per year. I'm just interested in knowing how you will be making payment.
AT&T: Oh no sir I didn't mean we'd be paying you. You pay us 10 cents a minute.
Me: Wait a minute here!!! Didn't you say you'd give me 10 cents a minute. Are you sure this is AT&T?
AT&T: Well, yes this is AT&T sir but......
Me: But nothing, how do you figure that by saying that you'll give me 10 cents a minute that I'll give you 10 cents a minute? Is this some kind of subliminal telemarketing scheme? I've read about things like this in the Enquirer you know. Don't use your alien brainwashing techniques on me.
AT&T: No sir we are offering 10 cents a minute for.....
Me: THERE YOU GO AGAIN! Can I speak to a supervisor please!
AT&T: Sir I don't think that is necessary.
Me: Sure! You say that now! What happens later?
AT&T: What?
Me: I insist on speaking to a supervisor!
AT&T: Yes Mr. Byron. Please hold.

So now AT&T has me on hold and my supper is getting cold. I begin to eat while I'm waiting for a supervisor. After a wait of a few minutes and while I have a mouth full of food:
Supervisor: Mr. Byron?
Me: Yeth?
Supervisor: I understand you are not quite understanding our 10 cents a minute program.
Me: Id thish Ath Teeth & Teeth?
Supervisor: Yes sir, it sure is.

I had to swallow before I choked on my food. It was all I could do to suppress my laughter and I had to be careful not to produce a snort.

Me: No, actually I was just waiting for someone to get back to me so that I could sign up for the plan.
Supervisor: OK, no problem, I'll transfer you back to the person who was helping you.
Me: Thank you.

I was on hold once again and managed a few more mouthfuls. I needed to end this conversation. Suddenly, there was an aggravated but polite voice at the other end of the phone.

AT&T: Hello Mr. Byron, I understand that you are interested in signing up for our plan?
Me: Do you have that friends and family thing because you can never have enough friends and I'm an only child and I'd really like to have a little brother...
AT&T: (click)


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