Saturday, April 13, 2013

A Bad Connection

My internet service kicked out around 2 a.m. the other day. I called my provider (Suddenlink) and was told there was an outage in my area, expected to last about five hours. I waited six and since my service wasn't restored yet, I called again.

The customer service representative checks his equipment and declares that the outage has been corrected but that he shows no service to my address. He asks what lights are displayed on my router. I tell him they look normal. 

"They're all on?" he asks, obviously incredulous.

I'm a little put off, but decide I'm being overly sensitive, and I assure him they are all on.

"The lights in the front of your router are all on?"

I tell him there are no lights on the front of my router, only in the back, and yes, they are all on.

He starts off arguing with me about where the lights are on my router. Usually if a communication issue like this arises, I immediately recognize that the other person and I are talking about two different things. I explain that to me, if the lights are on the back side of the surface containing the item name, that's the back. I point out that the lights are on the same surface where the cords are plugged in.  (And I wonder why it matters what surface the lights are on anyway. Like, can't we just discuss what lights are on and not argue over where they're located?)

He instructs me to unplug the power cord and wait a requisite ten seconds. I do, and do. The lights resume blinking, but back at the office, he still sees no connection. 

Next he tells me to unscrew the cable. 

"This is going to require a hard boot," the rep says with exasperation. I wonder why that's such an annoyance for HIM since I'm the one standing on my head. I tell him there is no cable screwed in to unscrew. He cuts me off in mid-sentence and chides: "THAT is why you can't get online!" Like I'm six years old.

I'm still a little amused at this point. He's really chapped about this whole thing for some reason. I'm the one who's been awake all night without internet.

No, I tell him, this is the way it's been configured for a year or so. And there is no place to screw in a cable connector. 

He assumes an even snottier tone of voice and begins describing to me what a cable connection looks like (it's round with a brass -- brass is a yellow metal -- fitting) and I assure him I know what a cable connection is; this router does not have one.

He cuts me off again mid-sentence. (Somebody hold my wig; he just brought out the angry black woman in me -- and I'm a laid-back white woman). I cut him back: "Look, Dave --"


"--Steve, sorry. This is a . . . " and I read the name to him ". . . router."

"Why do you have that?!?!?" he fusses at me. "That's not OUR equipment."

I explain that I purchased a new router last summer thinking I could stop renting Suddenlink's router at ten bucks a month, but once I got the new router home, I realized my ancient desktop computer can't accommodate a wireless router. So I have a gerry-rigged system set up utilizing both routers. And it works just fine. There's no reason for Suddenlink to care -- they get their dime every month, my computers and printer work, and everyone's happy.

Once we establish my motivation, reasoning, the fact he doubts I need what I'm using (I'm seriously doubting his career choice by now), we establish the fact it is impossible for me to get to the piece of equipment he wants me to access because it is behind the desk and a stack of boxes I am physically unable to move, he threatens me with a service call.

"We charge $45 an hour if you don't have the Safeguard plan," he warns with an obvious sneer.

By now I'm wondering if Dave/Steve needs to get laid even worse than -- but I digress. I tell him I subscribe to that plan. 

He says "Let me check." He sounds disappointed when he confirms I do.

I'm wondering how this whole thing disintegrated so badly, and he asks me if I want to place a work order. By now, my smartassedness is in full gear but I resist the urge to say no, I just wanted to determine my Internet doesn't work and then stay offline.

He perks up when I say yes, and launches into a canned speech about some amazing TV package they offer where I can peruse scheduled programming seven days in advance AND access over 10,000 recorded shows. Dave/Steve sounds very pleased with himself.

I tell him I haven't turned on the television in ten months -- in fact, don't even have a television in the room, so no thanks. He sarcastically asks me why I pay for cable then. 

I suppress the urge to say it's my charitable contribution to keep dumb-ass kids like himself off the streets and gainfully employed, then I gently explain it's a required part of my rent, that I have no option but to pay for it. I redirect the conversation and ask with my own tinge of sarcasm if it'll be two, or three, days before someone will be out to reset the router.

Apparently, this was good strategy because AMAZINGLY, someone can come this very afternoon! Unheard of! Dave/Steve assumes his I'm-talking-to-a-two-year-old tone and tells me to be sure and answer the phone when the repairman calls 1/2 an hour before he's due to arrive. 

I promise.

"Is there anything else I can do for you, ma'am," he asks with a genuine sounding sense of assistance in his voice. It occurs to me his supervisor must be making rounds.

I ask Dave/Steve if he can stop by McDonald's and bring me an Egg McMuffin. He laughs. "That'll take awhile; I'm 95 miles away."

I don't think he expected me to tell him I would wait. ~~GH


Karen Brideweser said...

This absolutely cracks me the fuck up. Sorry for the French. OTOH, NO I am not. LOL!

Anonymous said...

Hilarious - and sad. I frequently go on rants about the death of customer service in America, and this ranks as one of my favorites. I'm glad you're back online.

Ginger said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ginger said...

(Made a typo in my earlier comment)


Ha! I'm tickled you enjoyed it so much!! :)


Appreciate your rating my rant so highly! :)

April 13, 2013