Friday, 15 October 2010 08:02 PM Written by 

I-90 --  Bozeman Trail rest stop

 John Steinbeck stopped at bars to sample the local color and dialect.

I stop at Verizon Wireless stores to see if anyone can explain why my Verizon email takes longer to deliver than the US Post Office.

A guy in a Vermont Verizon store failed to help me but a younger dude in some other eastern state that escapes me told me the trick -- take the battery of my Samsung smart phone out every other day or so to reboot it. That has speeded delivery, but doesn't seem very smart.

As Steinbeck says in "Travels With Charley," he stopped in Billings for half an hour to buy a hat. I stopped for two hours in Billings -- a perfectly named town as we shall see -- to try to straighten out the $692 roaming charge that appeared on my latest Verizon Wireless bill.

My wife Trudi, who's paying the bills while I roam the country chasing Steinbeck's ghost, opened the Verizon bill in Pittsburgh today and almost fell down.

I knew roaming charges were coming but not nearly $700 worth. 

In late September, when I was running along the top edge of Maine about 100 yards from the Canadian border for two days, a local guy warned me. He told me my phone would pick up the Canadian towers' signals  and I'd be charged roaming charges.

He said you just have to call Verizon and tell them where you were and they'll drop the charges. Maybe if you live in Maine they will.

As anyone who's ever tried to call any of Verizon's 11 subsidiaries knows, it takes an hour out of your life just to get a human on the phone. To make a long boring story short, a nice Verizon Wireless supervisor named Angie who lives in a secret but secure location is handling my case.

One of Angie's merciful underlings offered to cut my roaming charges 50 percent. I told her no thanks. My tires never left the USA in Maine. I'm looking for a 100 percent cut -- which is how I met Angie.

We'll see how this turns out. I'm predicting a happy ending soon. If not, consider this a warning to any Verizon Wireless stores to my west -- where I'm trying to get as fast as I can.

HAPPY POSTSCRIPT: As I figured they would, the folks at Verizon looked at their maps and credited my account for every dime of roaming charges. Even my email seems to be arriving faster.



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