The theater of AT&T

by Rebecca Morgan, CSP, CMC on August 7, 2014

I’m not talking about an actual physical space, but instead, of the verb form. An action that is just for show.

While doing some work on my house, the crew accidentally messed up the outside box where the wires come into my house. I have VOIP through Comcast so wasn’t sure the wires were even relevant. So I called Comcast and they told me to call AT&T.

I did. The rep was helpful and said the wires running to the house were their responsibility so she scheduled a guy to come out the next Monday. Since it was Friday and it wasn’t urgent since I still had phone service I said fine.

So imagine my surprise when the repairman showed up Sat. at noon. Normally, I’d be thrilled that they responded before they were scheduled. Unfortunately, I had to leave in 1/2 hour within which had to take a shower and get ready for a party.

I explained the box issue, that I now had Comcast phone service and that I couldn’t stay around if he had questions. But I did ask if it were possible to replace the 6-line box with a smaller once since I now only had one line. He said sure.

When I returned from my party, sure enough a smaller box was in place. How nice. And no charge.

On Monday, my handyman was over and we were looking at the replacement box. He opened it and discovered the wires were not connected. In fact, when he opened the door, they fell out! Yet I still had dial tone, since my Comcast coverage had nothing to do with these wires.

Why then, we wondered, had he bothered to replace the box? Why didn’t he just remove it all together since it was no longer needed? I’d explained to the rep and the repairman that I no longer had AT&T phone service. Why did they still go through the silliness of replacing a box that was not needed?

I declared that this was just theater — an exercise that had no usefulness. Except, perhaps, to justify the repairman’s existence.

Do your people do “theatrical” actions? Onces that make absolutely no difference in the outcome? If so, no need. They are a waste of everyone’s time and resources.

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