Let's examine the history of telephone service in New York City.

Not ten years ago, every payphone in New York City said "New York Telephone". New York Telephone is the former name of New York's local telephone company. Since the early 90's, New York's local carrier has had four different names! Picture a bunch of disgruntled workers changing the signs on every payphone in New York City three times in ten years. Here's the progression:

I guess the trend of the little fish being gobbled up by the bigger fish will continue until we just have one great big fish who turns out to stink.

Actually, IIRC, Verizon comes ffrom two words, veritas, which I beleive is Latin for truth and Horizon meaning in the distance, or far away. Translation? Verizon really means, far from the truth. Which is pretty easy to beleive if you know what kind of bastardization they did to AirTouch, my former employer. Verizon might as well be Initech from Office Space. and its only a matter of time before turns the place into tinders.

Some have made light of the fact that a naming agency was hired to come up with the name "Verizon."

An application for the trademark "Verizon" was filed on September 10, 1999 by NEP, Inc. (a Delaware corporation with offices in Washington, D.C.). On the same date, NEP filed for other trademarks covering the same goods and services. Thus it appears that these were names in the running along with "Verizon," but which didn't make the final cut.

Here they are, obtained from the U.S. Trademark Electronic Service System (http://tess.uspto.gov/):

  • Asteon
  • Calade
  • Crossphere
  • Equiverse
  • Evenstar
  • Verence

Verizon is often annoying as example by my latest exchange with them:

Me: You have been spamming me since I started using your email service. I replied to the spam with a message which contained "unsubscribe" in the subject and the body. You replied with:

'We're sorry. This Verizon Online e-mail box is not monitored. If you prefer not to receive promotional e-mails from Verizon Online, please go to http://home.verizon.net , select My Account, select the "Special Offer E-Mail Preferences" link.'

Apparently, you don't want to make it easy for people to unsubscribe. I'm paying you $40 a month to provide a service, not to play these games.

I attempted to log in and remove myself from your spam list, and you instructed me to log in with my email address and password. Apparently, your fondness of games carries over into this area too, as I'm unable to log in with those. You have set it up so that I'm unable to unsubscribe from your spam list at all.

Please unsubscribe me from your spam list immediately.

Verizon (summarized): "We're sorry you're being spammed by a third party. We're working on fixing this problem. Unfortunately, there's nothing we can do about this. (Long prewritten message about spam in general follows)"

Me (summarized): "I'm not being spammed by a third party. I am being spammed by you--by Verizon. Stop sending me prewritten emails and get me off your spam list."

Verizon (summarized): "We're sorry that we can't remove you from this person's list. This is how to adjust your mail settings to filter out spam. (Long prewritten message follows)."

You can't look at the company without remembering that Verizon Workers Are Human Too....

Behind the scenes of our everyday lives are people who contribute towards making ordinary activities, such as making a phone call, a possibility. I know Brian as a friend of the tattoo shop I work at, and he came to visit my boss on the day I was assigned an interview speech for a class. Aha! I thought, here was a chance to find out what the real story of a Verizon worker was. As a consumer I was curious about what my $60/month phone bill paid for.

Brian started in 1998 as a field technician installing DSL. Within 4 months, he was on the picket line, striking with other members of his union for two weeks. Eventually, he was forced into becoming a Cable Maintainer, a job this Tauran barely finds challenging. He only spends a few hours a day doing actual hands-on work, while a fair percentage of his time is spent traveling to work sites and waiting for clients and managers to get their acts together.

When I asked him for juicy on-the-job stories, he told me about the models he encountered on a task at Seventeen Magazine. He has seen quite a few women’s bedrooms in his time, and there have indeed been occasions when people answered the door in a towel. Women have greeted him in bras, but so far no one has greeted him naked. On one occasion, however, he was asked to stay by two strippers. But alas, at the time he had a girlfriend.

The real perks are few, though. In a company where the CEO makes $40 million a year, Brian barely gets more than $5 off of his phone bill. Even company shirts and hats have to be bought! Verizon can change his schedule without notice, and he can be forced to work 12 hour shifts for up to 15 days straight if Verizon decides there’s some sort of emergency. This is the downside of working for a utility, he tells me.

He wasn’t planning on making Verizon a career, but he’s content. He keeps his soul truly entertained by playing Ice Hockey, flying R/C aircraft, and riding motorcycles. He also has a second job as a Sound Engineer at a bar. His two dogs are his companions, one of which is epileptic and knows how to open jars and doors. “They’re more obedient than women,” he tells me.

“But what does the future hold in store?” I asked him. “I just aim to keep both feet planted on the ground, pay off my bills, and win the Lotto,” he replied. I’m certain that these are goals that all of us can directly relate to. And after hearing his story, from now on I’m going to pretend that my phone bill is supporting him directly in the pursuits that keep him a sane and happy Brooklyn-ite.

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