After a supremely frustrating 10 minutes or so with my friendly telephone customer service guy, I managed to get our phone bill reduced by roughly half per month.
They sure didn't make it easy; you can't change your plan online to something less expensive (but don't you know, you can upgrade!), and so you must negotiate the quagmire of automated options before you even get to the guy who tells you he wants to "compare apples to apples" in a really, really patronizing voice while in fact comparing apples to oranges.
As in, "well ma'am, (I loathe getting ma'ammed) this plan, including all your favorite options, caller ID, taxes, etc. comes out to $41, and the one you're already on is $49, so it really doesn't make that much difference..."
Except that the $49 doesn't include $20 in taxes, making it an orange, not an apple!
Anyway, I felt pretty good after I got off the phone, I had successfully talked my way through the high-pressure sales pitches to end up with a plan that had only what we wanted, no voice mail, caller ID, call forwarding, or other sissy stuff. Totally bare bones. I didn't let him get to me!
An hour or so later, I realized what not having caller ID means: a return to the days when we don't instantly know who's calling! It's amazing how quickly we get used to something new, and then when it's stripped away - even at our own behest - how naked we feel. I thought, "how are we going to live without caller ID?"
We will, of course, persevere; and I still feel proud that I talked my way through the sales pitch. Fortunately, we have an old-fashioned answering machine. You know, the kind that sits next to the phone and just records callers' messages? From before voice mail?
Well, we're back to screening our calls, thanks to that machine!