I was living in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.
One afternoon I received a call from a lady asking me if I would be interested in changing my long distance telephone service from AT&T to MCI.
She wanted to know from me how much amount I was spending each month on long distance calls. After I had provided her with the information, she offered me a plan which could reduce my monthly telephone bill by a substantial amount. But I decided, for no valid reason, not to change my long distance carrier from AT&T to MCI. When I told her about my decision she was surprised and asked me if I understood what she had explained to me. When I explained to her what she had explained to me and also explained how I could potentially save money on long distance calls if I decided to switch, she was even more surprised. Any logical minded person would love to save money without adopting any illegal means. But I defied logic. She asked me to note down a toll free number just in case I changed my mind in future and disconnected the phone after wishing me a good evening.
About a month after that I received another call, similar to the first one, from another long distance telephone company named US Sprint. Since I could control the first temptation, controlling the second one was easier.
More than a month after I had received the call from US Sprint, a woman called from AT&T. She asked if I would be interested in switching to some new plan, free of cost, which would save me some amount every month on long distance calls. From the offer I could make out that the amount I was going to save in the proposed plan matched with the amount which MCI or US Sprint had offered. When I told her about the offers I had received earlier from the other two long distance telephone companies, she thanked me for being a loyal customer of AT&T. She also told me, almost in a tone like ‘telling you a secret’, which I could not verify whether it was true or not, that both MCI and US Sprint used AT&T lines for all their long distance calls. Within the next few days I received a letter from AT&T, thanking me for being a loyal customer to the company, and three checks each of equal amount, payable to AT&T which I mailed along with my monthly telephone bills after adjusting the amount printed on those checks. I realized that the total amount of those three checks matched with the amount which I could have saved if I would have switched to MCI when it was offered to me, few months before, till the time AT&T offered me their new plan.
I do not know how significant my business was to a multi-billion dollar company like AT&T but I had learnt a lesson of my life which I could not have learnt by reading 101 good books or listening to 101 spiritual discourses.
Author: Mintu Ghoshal
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