Once upon a time, you had to be nice to Ma Bell, because she was the only game in town. The national phone company had a coast-to-coast monopoly, and you paid the going rate for basic service (which was all there was). If you had a falling out with the Bell behemoth, you were screwed - Bell didn't care if they "lost" your business, because there were several million other people who obediently paid their bills on time, every time. (Aside: this monopoly was the incentive for several of my friends to live under one or more assumed names when we were living our salad days in university.)
But lo, there was a revolution, and Ma Bell had no choice to become competitive, and actually work to keep you. Gone were the days of taking customers for granted; these days, the old girl has to seduce you with sexy lingerie and phone/cel/video/internet packages. So, good, the customer wins, obviously. All these companies are working the bottom line to keep us coming back for more, lest we hook up with some one else, some one younger and cheaper. Right?
So why, in the fine print under the big Bell ad for home service for $14.95 a month, does it turn out we're getting screwed to the tune of $2.80 for touch tone service? Touch tone!
I'm sorry, but given that my kids - and probably my college students - have never used a rotary dial, why are we paying over $33 a year for touch tone service? Does non-touch tone service even exist anymore?
Oh, and we're paying 19 cents a month for 911 service, but I'm going to give that one the benefit of the doubt and assume that this money covers actual service, i.e., people answering emergency calls, updated equipment, and the like.