I do not profess to understand how the internets work. When Senator Ted Stevens called them ‘a series of tubes’, this made about as much sense as I ever expected the World Web Web to make. I laughed at the Senator, because come on, people being stupid in high office is funny. But I sympathized a teeny bit, because I don’t get it either. It’s all good, Senator. Some of us have jobs in industries that don’t require us to know how the internets work, and that is fortunate for us. Unfortunately, you were voting on legislation about the internets at the time, which had to be embarrassing. Shake it off, Senator. Come on over and I will tell you my analogy for how they work. It can be summed up thusly: ‘magic.’
However. I do know one thing about the internets. And this is that the system of who gets to GIVE the internets to you is kind of screwy.
Wherever you are, whoever you are, some internet provider has a claim on you. Your house belongs to them. If you have, let’s just say, MY address, you get wireless from Comcast. My neighbor three doors down gets his from Wispertel. It is seemingly totally random and has to do with the way wireless signals bounce off of pigeons or something. Whatever. So if I want internet, I HAVE to deal with Comcast. This is a pretty sweet deal for Comcast.
Which is, apparently, why they feel they can make me work my ass off to get my internet from them.
Comcast has a 1-800 number. Because someone was apparently smart way back in the days when Comcast first got a 1-800 number, that number is 1-800-COMCAST. Awesome. I didn’t even have to waste a dime calling information. I go through the usual rigamarole of choosing English, giving them my area code, yada ya. And then something amazing happens. The little electronic voice on the phone says, ‘for wireless internet, please press two.’ Sweet. That’s what I’m looking for. Obeying these instructions to the letter (or number), I press two.
I call five more times and try many other options before I figure out that the complete and utter silence that ensues is Comcast’s way of putting me on hold. Now, come on. Give me a sign that I am on hold. Not a big sign. Jesus doesn’t have to descend from the heavens or anything. You certainly don’t have to play Pachelbel’s Canon in D over your annoying, tinny sound system. A little voice saying ‘please hold’ would do it. I can hold. I can even hold POLITELY. I know how to follow instructions. I pressed TWO, just like you told me to. I have PROVEN my ability to follow instructions. Why the silence?
I wait through the silence. Because I don’t have a choice. I need the wireless, and Comcast has it. After five full minutes of silence, I get the following message: “We are unable to connect you right now. Please hang up and try again later.”
That wasn’t the operator. That was Comcast’s little automated phone system. Telling me to fuck off and come back later when they weren’t too busy to deal with me. Comcast was basically saying, “Look, go away, I’m eating my ham sandwich right now. Why are you so goddamn annoying with your phone calls during my lunch hour?” And being as I am not Comcast’s office bitch, this pissed me off.
Usually, if a company treats me this badly, I find another goddamn company. Screw that. I am trying to GIVE YOU MONEY. If you make my money-giving difficult, I will take my money and stick it into the G-string of the very next stripper I see, just to show you what’s what.
Except that I need the wireless. And Comcast is the ONLY one who can give it to me.
Now, this is very clever of Comcast. Ha-ha, they are thinking, we can treat you like a punk little bitch because you have nowhere else to go! Bend over and take it! And call back later!
They think they can get away with it, too. I’m sure some clever guy in a marketing department somewhere said it was totally cool for all the phone operators to fuck off at the same time for lunch because they know I have to get wireless from them.
But now I’m pissed at them, and when I am pissed, I am resourceful. Also, usually, a little inebriated, but that’s neither here nor there. So I expend every ounce of my not-inconsiderable Googling skills to find out if there is any other possible way I could get internet. It turns out, there is, if I want to get dial-up instead of wireless.
Here’s the thing. I hate dial-up. I don’t want to plug my laptop in. I want to get internet in my bedroom and my bathroom and on my frickin’ roof. Wireless is an awesome invention. So is the SPEEDINESS of wireless through a cable instead of through a dial-up modem.
However. I will FOREGO my love of cable wireless because my HATRED of Comcast has gotten to be that deep. It is so deep right now, it is quoting Nietzsche and advocating perfect oneness with the universe. SIMULTANEOUSLY. Except that it contends perfect oneness with the universe does not extend to forgiveness of Comcast, because the hatred knows from whence it got its deepness.
Moral of the story: Even if you are the ONLY option, if your customers hate you enough they WILL find some other way to get what they need. They may even settle for something that is less than what you offer, if you provoke their hatred enough. Also, they may blog about you in an unflattering fashion. And wouldn’t that just suck for you?
ADDENDUM: Comcast has, as you can see below, taken it upon itself to resolve my customer service issues online. That, I must confess, is pretty cool, and goes a long way toward dissipating my hatred. Mental note: apparently, customer service now dwells online. Unfortunate that in order to get online, I have to deal with telephonic customer service. That said, much appreciated, Comcast. I’m responding to your query in the comments below.
Subscribe. My hard-fought for internets arrive tomorrow.