Ira Glass Rescues Coworker From MCI Hell

One of the producers over at the lovely This American Life radio show was overbilled by MCI (which has since merged with Verizon) for $946.36 and was sent to collections and told lie after lie that they were going to fix the problem. It’s not until host Ira Glass gets involved and starts recording the customer service calls that her issue is finally resolved. The account is credited, the company apologizes, and the Senior VP of Customer Service send her a gift basket of cheese chocolates and crackers. Aw. You can listen to the story here, it’s the second act, about 30 minutes into the show.

It’s clear, sometimes the only way to get a company to not screw you over is to become a threat. Luckily, you don’t have to work on a national radio show to get leverage, you can employ many of the wonderful techniques described in The Ultimate Consumerist Guide To Fighting Back.

253: The Middle of Nowhere [This American Life] (Thanks to Mike!)


Edit Your Comment

  1. Beerad says:

    “you don’t have to worked [sic] on a national radio show to get leverage…”

    No, but I bet it helps. Number of gift baskets received by other customers who have been royally screwed over by a telco = zero.

  2. drjayphd says:

    Coworker rescue oversight is provided by WBEZ general manager Torey Malatia, who…

  3. hypnotik_jello says:

    And her credit was repaired as well?

  4. Lewis says:

    @drjayphd: “…reminds you that ‘you’re not dealing with AT&T.'”

  5. osiris7 says:

    Speaking of individual rights, I was just listening to a recent This American Life episode about a company run by a Mr. Pickle that hired Indian workers from overseas and brought them to America… to be held captive in a house inside the guy’s factory making $2 per hour, being given halves of eggs for sustenance, and told they would be deported if they got uppity. Fascinating!

  6. drjayphd says:

    @osiris7: Yeah, I heard that one. He actually thought he was doing them a favor, too. Then again, he might not have realized he wasn’t hiring the impoverished people he saw, but rather educated and experienced workers, who just happened to be from India.

  7. csdiego says:

    Yet another item for the “reasons why I want to have Ira Glass’s love child” file.

  8. 3ZKL says:

    glad you posted it!


  9. nick_r says:

    @drjayphd: @osiris7: If that story interested you, you should really read Nobodies by John Bowe (the reporter in that story), which fleshes that piece out a lot and also has two other fascinating sections about other cases of slavery.

  10. iMike says:

    This was a rerun from at least four years ago. Make up your own mind whether MCI has gotten its act together since.

  11. iMike says:

    PS. TAL is the best thing about public radio. Car Talk is second and Fair Game with the delicious Faith Salie is third.

  12. jgodsey says:

    anyone besides me notice this was 4 years ago?

  13. savvy999 says:

    @jgodsey: Yes! I remember hearing it on the radio the first time this program aired a couple years ago; did a double-take when I read the post, thought it sounded familiar.

    TAL podcasts are my sanity-keeper when I’m doing incredibly boring household tasks, like raking leaves or painting.

  14. Elviswasntmyhero says:

    “This American Life” is a great show.

  15. Grrrrrrr, now with two buns made of bacon. says:

    @Elviswasntmyhero: I second that. Yes, that particular episode has been in reruns for years.

  16. dohtem says:

    @jgodsey: I heard it for the first time yesterday on KPCC. KPCC is an local NPR that broadcasts out of LA and online (I live nowhere near LA so I listen online).

    The story is old and they mention that (MCI doesnt even exist anymore)

  17. overbysara says:

    I love ira.

  18. crypticgeek says:

    I have the BIGGEST crush on Ira Glass.

  19. com132 says:

    This story is one of the first that I heard on TAL. It was the one that made me a complete TAL addict. I love the part where she questions where the fax machine is!

  20. arby says:

    @iMike: Don’t forget Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me! ([])

    Oh, and “cheese chocolates and crackers” sounds really unappetizing.

  21. AnnieGetYourFun says:

    God, that’s an old show. But one of my favorites. I always end up linking to the parts about the island of garbage in the middle of nowhere.