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Verizon's telephone support folks remind us just how bad innumeracy can be.

The number one post on YouTube yesterday is twenty minutes of converation with multiple levels of Verizon management who do not know the difference between 0.002 cents per kilobyte and 0.002 dollars per kilobyte. The conversation is a series of failed attempts at basic math education over a seventy dollar bill. Verizon not only falsely advertised a price then billed one hundred times the promised rate, but when confronted with this fact, several representatives confirmed the promised rate, then did "the math" in such a wrong way to defend the error. I listened to the whole thing out of sympathy for math teachers everywhere.

As Mark Chu-Carroll says: The fustrating thing about this whole ordeal is that obviously none of these people would have been hired if they didn't know how to read and write.

The one bright spot this incident illustrates is the notion that consumers have a new tool against the forces of corporate incompetence. When sites like YouTube are able to air grievences to hundreds of thousands of sympathetic listeners, public relations should demand that this level of abuse not be tolerated. One hopes.

Listen on YouTube

Read the transcript on http://verizonmath.blogspot.com

xkcd check for Verizon