My place of employment cancelled my corporate cell phone a few months ago and I called AT&T Wireless today to see about getting a $22.18 refund I have coming to me.

“I’m sorry,” said the gentleman on the other end of the phone. “I don’t show that you have a credit on your account. In fact, you owe us <insert five-figure dollar amount here>.”


“It shows that you have a balance due of <insert five-figure dollar amount here again>”.

“You’ve got to be kidding me?”

“No, sir…but this isn’t just for one phone. It looks like there are 861 cell phones on this account.”

“On my account?”

“Yes, sir.”

“In my name?”

“Yes, sir.”

“I think there’s been some mistake. I think all of the Novell corporate cell phones have somehow gotten assigned to my individual account.”

“That could be, sir.”

“So, how can I correct this? I need to have all of those cell phones reassigned to the Novell corporate account.”

“Sorry, sir, you can’t do that. Someone from Novell will have to call and have those phones transferred back to them.”

“But they weren’t supposed to be assigned to me in the first place…”

“That doesn’t matter, sir. You don’t have authorization to reassign them to the Novell corporate account. Someone from Novell would have to do that.”

“Ummm…just out of curiosity, could I cancel them all, if I wanted to?”

“Well…uh…yes, sir, you could.”

“So, let me get this straight. The fate of every cell phone within a Fortune 500 company now lies in the hands of an employee who is being laid off in four days’ time. And the only option said employee has to resolve this problem himself is to cancel all of those cell phone accounts.”


“I’ll call you back.”