Laugh or cry?

Monday 11 December 2006 at 2:35 pm | In Articles | 1 Comment

I feel bound to add to the viral blogging* publicising a highly amusing phone call made by a chap querying the bill from an internet provider. The company insists that it charges 0.002 cents per KB and that using 35 893 KB costs $71.79. The phone call is an attempt to persuade the company that they are out by a factor of 100. It is a conversation with employees, who are remarkably patient, but think 0.002 cents = 0.002 dollars.

I have to say I laughed a lot but maybe I should cry at the lack of mathematical ability.

You can find the recording at Tragicomic Mathematics and click on recording. It lasts just under half-an-hour. The comments on that page are also amusing particularly the one where the manager asks for “Not a percent of anything, just a plain percent“.

* says:

    On Thursday, someone named “georgevaccaro” create a blog called VerizonMath. In it, he details a bizarre serious of conversations he has had with Verizon revolving around the per KB charges he incurred while accessing data on his phone during a trip to Canada. He was quoted a rate of “.002 cents per KB”, when in fact the customer service representatives had actually meant “.002 dollars per KB.” On his blog, he documents his interactions with the company, posts up a (very funny) audio file of his phone conversation, and he also uploaded a copy of the same phone call to Youtube.

    This has spread with the typical speed of a hot blogstorm. His blog has pulled in more than 20K hits, the Youtube video has upwards of 45K views, and the blog has been linked to by more than 300 other blogs. This is going to get much worse before it gets better, and the image it has created of Verizon customer service couldn’t be much more negative.

There’s a very funny Wikipedia entry on this topic here.

Thanks to Mathematics Under the Microsocope

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  1. Wikikilljoys have killed the VerizonMath article. This improved Wikipedia’s overall usefulness imperceptably but still within the “if you don’t know enough about the subject to know that Wikipedia is inaccurate, then you shouldn’t be using Wikipedia” category.

    Comment by John A — Thursday 14 December 2006 3:17 pm #

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