The puddintopia household went without internet access or a working phone signal from late Friday to early Monday morning. Again. For the second time in two months, which is fundamentally unacceptable. When the geek services I pay for and depend on for both the wife’s and my own employment don’t work, the bluish veins of Immortal Fury appear on my forehead and entire civilizations quake with fear at my Terrible Wrath!
In other words, it irks me something powerful.
Now before I go any further, I should point out that my mom has been in the hospital since Thursday afternoon. For serious stuff. I’m not going to go into a bunch of detail about it or make a big deal or anything, because this isn’t the time, or place, and that’s not what you come here for*. Regardless, it’s important for adding context in regard to the following. I spent most of Friday in the hospital, more than a little anxious.
When I finally got home and the Puddinette sat down to do some work Friday night, she angrily pointed out to me we suddenly she could not get online. I did a little troubleshooting and found out that not only were we without internet access, we had no phone signal at all. I was getting less dial tone than Clark Kent in a phone booth.** Almost instantly, the needle on my internal rage-o-meter spun around several times like that girl’s head in the Exorcist, eventually coming to rest “in the red”, on the Naomi Campbell-style Incensed Fury section of the scale.
It was bedtime for the kids, though, so releasing my Dark Side-fueling anger upon my phone company’s unwitting customer service representative would have to wait. I took a few deep breaths and spent ten minutes reading with each of my children, which helped me find some calm. Meanwhile, the Puddinette, quite irked herself, took up the task of calling the company (that I won’t identify specifically but whose name rhymes with Zinzinnati
Obviously, we weren’t expecting a phone truck to roll up in the dark at 9 pm Friday night and fix my complete lack of service. We should expect that level of support from someone I pay monthly, but that’s neither here nor there. Our expectations were moderate. We couldn’t make phone calls, and if someone had needed me at the hospital, they couldn’t reach me at my home number, but still we were willing to give them until Saturday.
Did I mention this was the second such episode of complete service loss in two months?
As I turned out the lights after tucking in my eldest sons, my wife turned to me with a glare that told me everything I needed to know. “Monday,” she said. “They claim they can’t get anyone here until Monday.”
That. Was. It. My body suddenly felt very much like someone tossed a gallon of jet fuel directly onto a campfire. I could literally feel my blood boiling. I redialed the service number on her cell phone (you know, ’cause that’s all we had working) before she even finished saying Monday.
My call was answered by someone named Chip, who most certainly has never heard that name spoken by his mother. Chip seemed to listen attentively while I firmly yet politely explained that my wife had just spoken with someone about our lack of service and that Monday was an unacceptable solution for repair. He then suggested I go outside and see if the phone line worked at the box connected to the house. In case you didn’t know, that’s Troubleshooting Step 2 in Chip’s Handy Script for Answering Customer Complaints. In other words, he hadn’t listened to a damned thing I said. My politeness began to evaporate and the volume of my voice gained several decibels.
Again, I explained the situation to Chip. This time, he responds “Oh yes, I see the repair order now. Someone has already called about this issue. Are you not available Monday between 8 and 12? Would you like to reschedule?”
Here and I was afraid I’d have trouble getting them to see my point. I couldn’t even get them to see my problem.
Sticking to my guns, I explained to Chip that if the best his company could do to fix my complete and utter lack of service was to tell me to live with it over the weekend and forward my home calls to a cell phone (that costs me money, btw), I would be looking for a new company to provide such services. So I ask him what the company wanted to do to help me.
Chip offered me the phone number for service cancellation.
Yes, that’s right. I asked what the company whose names rhymes with hell could do to help me and the response from their first line customer service rep was to give me the service cancellation phone number.
At that point I began walking up the customer service supervisor ladder.
I stuck to my guns, and eventually Walter (note the lack of italics) assured me he would put my case on the Escalation List (note the use of italics) and that someone would call me in the morning. Someone did, in fact, call me in the morning, only to inform me that a repair crew might make it to the house that day, but there was no guarantee. Apparently the telephone company’s repair crews operate much like the Vatican. They take orders from no one, they do what they want, and it takes an act of God to get them to do something for you.
In other words, the Escalation
List is a white sheet of paper attached to a dart board that gets thrown away at the end of shift when customer services reps are finished having a good chuckle over it.
Well, good luck to you, company whose name rhymes with hell, because now that I can get my Google on, I’ll be finding you a replacement in no time.
You know, unless replacing you costs too much, or becomes a hassle. Or the Puddinette is afraid to have to change our phone numbers. Or email addresses. Or, well, it’s a long list.
Ok, so maybe I’ll change providers, maybe I won’t. Maybe Chip called my bluff. At least I can taste from the sweet pool of internet nectars again. Which is a Good Thing (sorry Martha), because my wife was knee-deep in Facebook Scrabble withdrawal, and my eight fantasy sports teams were languishing without my tender, guiding hand.
It’s good to be back, friends. I missed you.
*She’s doing much better now. Thoughts and prayers are still welcome.
**Why yes, that is a terrible geek-style metaphor. Admit it, you missed those over the past few days. You’re welcome.