Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Back on-line!

So Friday, we got this snow...heavy, wet snow, about six inches worth on my deck. Neat to see--and Al Gore and all of his "Global warming" disciples can kiss my ass--but it knocked out the power and the internet here at the Lair.

Now the power was restored Saturday night, so that was no real problem. Murphy and I just spent the intervening time sitting in front of the fireplace, me linking ammunition or reading a book and him growling at the popping logs. The house was lit by Coleman lanterns which are kept on hand for just such an event, and food was cooked and tea was brewed on a matching Coleman stove. Even the toilets remained functional courtesy of the water in the outside rain barrel. In short, we had everything but a hot shower, microwave popcorn and the internet, so life was good for this guy and his dog.

Well the power came back, but not the internet. Why? Because I have Comcast and they suck. But understanding the nature of the problem, I gave them some slack...right up until I got the automated call last night telling me that service to the area had been restored and discovered that mine was still out.

So I called them, and after sitting on hold for twenty minutes and being cycled through several layers of "you'can't-bypass-this" voicemail lectures and prompts, I eventually spoke to an airhead named Sherice who insisted on patronizing me and treating me as if I was her best friend in the world AND six years old. Sherice sympathized with me and pretended that she really, really cared that I'd been off-line for four days already, with no way to pay bills, check e-mail, send out resumes, buy gun stuff or read blogs. She tried--and failed--to reset my connection from their end. Then she cheerfully explained that a technician would have to come here and set me up for a service call on Thursday.

At this point, I came a bit unglued and told her politely but firmly that Thursday was not acceptable to me and that I expected it to be restored immediately by whatever means were required on their end. Sherice kept telling me oh, so cheerfully, that she could not get anyone out here any sooner. I stopped her after about the third repeat of this claim and told her that she was saying "can't" when what she really meant was "won't". This one brought her up short and probably took her right off of that little page of answers to things that customers say that I suspect that she was reciting from. "What do you mean?" she asked.

"You CAN send someone here tomorrow," I explained. "You just won't. There is a difference."

She again denied that she could send anyone tomorrow, and I stopped her again. "Do you have technicians working tomorrow? There's actually people there, right? No holiday or labor strike, right? Then you actually could send one over here tomorrow if you chose to. So the word is 'won't'."

She again told me that she couldn't send anyone.

I then suggested that if the president of Comcast's home internet went out, someone would be sent right over to his house, probably in the middle of the night. He probably doesn't even pay for his internet but I pay for mine, so have someone over here in the morning or I will have a competitor's truck over here installing their equipment and your guy can just pick up the router when he shows up on Thursday.

This also did not work. But it got Sherice onto another track. "I'm really sorry for your inconvenience..." she started. This time I just cut her off cold. "It's not an inconvenience, Sherice. It's a significant disruption of my affairs, but it's also a failure on your part to provide a service that we contracted for and which you're being paid to provide. This is not my problem, it's yours, and you need to fix it. Now."

“Oh, you'll get a credit for the time that you weren't able to connect,” she said, still sounding cheerful.

"I don't want a credit. I want the service that I'm paying for. You need to deliver that service."

"Well I'm sorry for the inconvenience..." she said again. She was obviously reading from her script again. The one that probably says "Always sound cheerful" at the top of each page.

I finally lost patience with Sherice. "May I speak to a grown-up now, please?"

"I'm sorry. There's none here right now," she said (cheerfully).

"Yeah, no shit," I said, hanging up the phone.

Today I called back. This time, after the same voice mail jerk-around, I was connected to Kiara. Kiara was similarly patronizing and artificially cheerful, but before I unloaded on her, I sat down and cooperated as she ran the same diagnostics and tests from her end that Sherice had allegedly run last night. This time, the system reset and everything magically began to work again. I'm back on-line. Finally.

Sherice, if you should ever read this, please know that you're a fucking idiot.

So...how was YOUR week-end?

PS--Thanks to Comcast, I missed a Colt Argentine Model 1927 .45 that went at auction last night for a ridiculously low $476.00. I'd have gone higher but I was knocked out of the last day's bidding. Thanks, Comcast, you assholes!


  1. Glad you are back! Sorry about the Colt though.

  2. Ha ha. All I had to do was hook my right foot over my left ear to get back online via Frontier.

    And my word verification is "diaster"...

  3. Sorry to hear about your troubles... I didn't 'bother' you cause the last thing I saw was that you were sick...

  4. I can't believe the way you treat service-sector people.

    I worked for a cable company in a physical disconnect capacity in a stone ghetto while prohibited from carrying weapons, and I got to experience some real excitement from people getting the shaft from a corrupt and dishonest corporation.

    That said, your initial contact was with a person unable to help you and barred from saying so. Call center people CANNOT, under pain of termination, tell a 'subscriber' or 'customer' that anything at all is wrong with the corporation's infrastructure. It is not okay. I've seen people lose their jobs over it.

    That call was both recorded, and timed. By 'timed', I mean, it was run through a computerized system that 'flags' a call when it runs 'too long'. At that point a middle manager is required to assess the response by the call center employee. This is why your apparent arch-enemy, some hapless person trying to pay their bills and stuck between rocks and hard places, was so nice to you when I can guarantee she wanted desperately to tell you to pound sand. You and your unnecessary gun (although aren't most of them?.

    When your internet got turned back on, I can guarantee it was because the HEAD END had got out and restrung fiber optics, and had NOTHING WHATEVER to do with a call-center employee trying to live the American Dream and feed their family by placating folks angry because their internet has gone down in a storm.

  5. JL,

    I don't look down on all service-sector people. I only despise the ones who offer no actual service yet insist on talking to me as if I'm some sort of short-bus-riding kid. Admittedly it does not help my temper to have to wade through several layers of voice mail and endlessly press buttons upon command (including one to select English vs. Illegal Alien) and then be left on hold for a long period while insipid musak plays, interrupted every now and again by another recording that reminds me that I'm still on hold because they're busy. (Translation: one of the two phone monkeys has gone to the bathroom and the other has decided that it's not her turn to answer so she's texting her boyfriend while I and other productive people wait on hold.) So blame the system that riles the customers up before they even get connected to the high-school drop-out who is answering the phone, pretending to be some sort of service aide. Hell, I'm usually just happy to get one who doesn't sound like they're sitting in downtown Islamabad or Bhopal.

  6. My point exactly: is the system to blame, or the people within it?

    Your response about 'texting her boyfriend' is facetious: my employer, two years ago, canned several people for having cel phones in their possession while at their work stations. They are required to be kept in the lockers. Everyone knows this, and cable is no exception. No phones.

    Should this initial lady have been more mature with you? Sure. Was she properly trained to do so? I guarantee not. There is no training in corporations anymore.

    Listen, man, I'm not a lefty; my state just passed CCW, and I'm getting a permit, and I agree with you many things; but there are a lot of people in demeaning jobs at this point in US history that don't need any more demeaning. I'm quite serious. Get a grip. You're better than that.

    Would Audie Murphy treat people this way?

    Oh: "High school dropout?" Please. A diploma is a necessity for any job at all anymore. At least a GED. The only dropouts with 'jobs' are street people.