Free for life is unacceptable!

One of the places I worked for many moons ago was a major University, and being such a big University, we had a lot of emeritus professors. One of the perks they continued to receive was free dialup for life up to 7200 minutes a month (this was just prior to broadband becoming popular).

One day, one of these emeritus professors called in and said his dialup wasn’t working. He was well known as the bane of the help desk, and all the techs ran for the nearest foxhole at the mere mention of his name because of how difficult he was to work with, both in person and on the phone. It was my turn to fall on the sword and help this guy, so I looked up all the standard things. Looking at his account, it was clear that there was no activity whatsoever, so on a hunch, I asked him which service he used to dial up. His response was “MSN.”

Come to find out, he got one of those MSN CD’s in the mail, one of the ones that offered 6 months free, after which people would have to begin paying. What he said next made everything clear suddenly. He said that he had stated using it six months prior. I tried in vain to tell him that we, in no way supported commercial dialup systems, nor were we about to pay for his dial up service through MSN or any other service except our own. It was then I made note of the fact his account with us was still valid and active since he was an emeritus professor, and he could use it for free (provided he stayed under the 7200 minute limit every month). This was unacceptable to him, and refused to use our service, or be billed for it in any way, despite telling him several times that up to 7200 minutes a month, his account was free. After about 35 minutes of going back and forth like this, the professor gave up and said he had to go eat dinner, and never called back that day.

And pray tell, what was the professor a PhD in? Economics…

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