Ok, so I try to call the 248-920 exchange on my POTS line. (which is in the 248-683 exchange)
Note that these numbers are both in the Pontiac, MI ratecenter. If something is in the same ratecenter, It's ALWAYS local.

I get a "You must dial a 1 before calling this number" intercept (indicating it's a long distance call)

So I call the operator.
The operator doesn't know what a ratecenter is. (Isn't it neato that I know more about telephone billing than the operator? Does anyone else here when operator was a skilled position and the operators actually sat at consoles that could do things to the phone network? I do…)
Then the operator tried to convince me that all calls were supposed to be dialed as 11 digits with a one and described ten digit dialing to me.
I then said "If you dial a 1, it's 11 digit dialing"
"No it's not"
"Count the friggin digits!"
"Well, that's how it's supposed to be dialed for local calls"
"Not in Michigan it's not, we have toll alerting. I understand 10 digit dialing, and when I dialed it that way it didn't work. It claimed a local number was actually long distance!"
"Would you like to speak to your phone carrier?"
"I'm speaking to them right now! The announcement just before you picked up said "MCI"!!!"
"Sorry sir, I'm from Ameritech"
"WHAT!?!?!? I'm an MCI customer!"
"Yeah, let me forward you to their customer support line"

I call it and it's customer service for MCI, my local phone carrier.
They inform me that their repair offices are closed for the night (CLOSED!?!?!)
I get another number to call.

The person there informs me the numbers are in a DIFFERENT LATA and thus long distance.
I'm like "Excuse me, a different LATA?"
"Yes"
"They're in the same city…"
"Yea, that can happen sometimes"
"HOW!?! They're in the same AREA CODE!" (Note to those not familiar with telco billing, area codes almost always end at LATA boundaries..)
"I don't know sir, that's what the computer said"
"But the computer is wrong. The switches are literally a few blocks from each other!"
"I'm sorry sir, I can't change the computer"
"They weren't in a different LATA yesterday!"
"I'm sorry sir"
"Forget this, I'm calling the public service commission"
"Ok sir, have a nice day, thanks for calling MCI"

Whatever, time to call the MPSC.

Anyone know if I can get TDS Metrocom in Waterford? I'm highly considering switching to them.

3 thoughts on “”

  1. Not only do I remember when there were competent operators…

    But I also remember when dialing 511 or 711 (I forget which) would get you the local test board at your exchange, where there was a real live technician that could resolve most problems at the local switch. Of course, customers weren't "supposed" to dial that number (it was only for internal use by telco employees) but if you fat-fingered 611 and "thought" you were calling repair and just blurted out your problem before the test board guy could interrupt, and it was something he could fix, most of the time he'd just do it. :-) Sadly, most phone exchanges don't even have a real live technician present anymore; everything is maintained remotely via data links these days.

    1. Re: Not only do I remember when there were competent operators…

      just for the hell of it, I just dialed 711 from my phone, and got some woman picked up. Couldn't tell what she said at first, but it ended with "what number would you like to call?" was this just merely an alternative method of collect calling?

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