Picked up the phone to call Amsterdam just now and well, sure, I can afford AT&T, but I figured they might keep me on hold a while, so maybe I should use 800-211-9696. That’s the number I use whenever I’m traveling or at a pay phone.
(The company is ATCALL. It charges 16 cents a minute for such calls. To learn more: 800-411-9696. There may be others even cheaper, but this one is pretty darn cheap. And in hotels, it saves a fortune a single 75-cent charge from the hotel to make the 800-call, which then allows you to return all your calls, one after another, without ever having to hang up and pay the hotel another dime. You just hit the pound key a few times after each call before making the next one.)
For regular calls, I’ve just stuck with AT&T, albeit one of their cheaper plans. I know if I worked at it at all, I could save a little dough. But like a lot of us, I’m lazy, I have a fond place in my heart for AT&T (I do!), and last time I checked the difference giving full effect to the value of the frequent-flier miles I get for each call it didn’t seem entirely stupid just to stay put with AT&T.
And it still doesn’t domestically. One of the joys of having scrimped and saved for decades is that I don’t have to worry about a nickel here and a dime there except on your behalf. (On your behalf: shop around! You can almost surely get a better rate than you’re getting with AT&T!)
Still, I was curious. ATCALL charges 34 cents a minute for my calling-card call to Amsterdam. I called AT&T and inquired what I’d be paying from my home phone for the same call. (It was during the day.) Answer: $1.38 a minute.
Well, you’d have to be dead not to care about the difference between 34 cents and $1.38, especially facing what could be a 20-minute call.
So let me take this opportunity to tell you what you already know: It’s always wise to do a little comparison shopping on your phone rates every now and then. (And, for that matter, your auto insurance rates and life insurance rates.)
Quote of the Day
On the day of the 1983 economic summit, James A. Baker 3rd, then chief of staff, realized Mr. Reagan had not read his briefing book. When Mr. Baker asked why, Mr. Reagan responded, 'Well, Jim, The Sound of Music was on last night.'~Professor Herbert S. Parmet reviewing President Reagan: The Role of a Lifetime
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