“I guess I’ll have to call Dish Network.”

That’s what I told the AT&T customer service representative this morning when she wouldn’t give me a discount on my U-verse service. We’d signed on a year ago and received a $35 discount for 12 months, but that just expired, and I didn’t want my rate to go up. So I called and — after negotiating their voice mail tree of hell, and waiting for far-too-many minutes — finally spoke to a woman who looked up my account and said there were no current offers available, so there wasn’t anything she could do for me.

That’s when I said the line about Dish Network (who we’d dropped when we switched to U-Verse because it has a better multi-room DVR system). Immediately, the customer service woman replied that, if I could hold for a minute, she’d transfer me to another representative who might be able to find some kind of deal for me. I agreed to hold.

When the new rep picked up, she’d been clued in to my 8-word magic sentence and asked, “What can I do to get you to continue as an AT&T customer?” I explained that she could dig through her computer to find me a discount close to what they’d given me for the previous year. “Let me see what I can find,” she said.

Her search took exactly 10 seconds. “Well, if we put this promotion together with this promotion and don’t charge you for the extra receiver and renew the discount on your high-speed internet service, would that work for you?” Since the number she quoted was close to the original $35 discount, I said that would be fine, that she’d convinced me not to call the rival company.

She punched a few keys, asked me another question or two, and we were done. The best part of this was the facade she put up, pretending that she was giving me a special deal, as if she doesn’t do this all day every day for other customers savvy enough to know what one simple complaint will get you.

Now if she could only make the U-Verse DVR accept multiple simultaneous HD streams.