I love America. Really I do. But there are times when I feel like I am in a Third World country in terms of services.

I’ve told you of my Verizon troubles.

Today, out of the blue, it was TMobile, my son’s cellphone company.

Suddenly today he notices his cellphone service has been cut off. I log onto my account, confused, because I just paid a bill on Jan. 2. It tells me I owe another $84.01 on Tuesday, and until I pay it, the phone has been disabled. I repeat: the payment is due in five days. Not today. In FIVE days.

I call. I am asked for my four-digit PIN. This is the first I had ever heard of a four-digit PIN. I go scouring through my previous bills. No sign of it. I take some wild guesses, wondering if perhaps I’d been assigned a PIN or set one up and I can’t remember what it is. No. Phone will be cut off now until I can tell them my PIN, they say. But I don’t know it and I don’t have one, I wail. Too bad, I am told.

I shrieked, I stomped my feet, I threatened. I was treated like shit. I am so mad I cancelled my next pending payment and I am going to a TMobile store tomorrow to cancel my account and return the phone. If I am allowed to cancel an account without a PIN, for fuck’s sake.

Jesus, this is not Uzbekistan. I just don’t understand how almost everything of this nature that I have had to undertake in the U.S. has been mired in red tape, obtuse and unhelpful salespeople and problems, problems, problems. I feel so sorry for Americans if they have to deal with this inefficient shit all the time. I feel like I am going insane. It might drive me to alcoholism.

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