Let me tell you about my day.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Amazonian Review Power

I pretty much know I should never read the reviews or comments for anything, particularly something I care about. I remember how, after Hurricane Katrina had wiped out my home and sent my family reeling, I would see comments on news articles about how people had to stop complaining about it, or "they should know better," or, worst of all, that somehow poor people, families, and fishermen (who experienced the worst of it), "deserved it." [Actually, that's probably a good place for an aside--when some people heard that New Orleans was being destroyed by an act of God, they assumed the modern-day Sodom was being smote. In fact, the kind of debauchery that warrants the title "modern-day Sodom" is fairly limited, geographically, and that part of the city remained relatively unscathed. The suburbs (hot beds of sin!), lower income neighborhoods, and small towns supported by fishing industries suffered substantial damage.]

I also can't listen to radio call-in shows. I used to wake up to some kind of C-SPAN call-in show, during the 2008 election, and it made me want to tear the alarm clock to pieces--not a good feeling, especially when it's something you kind of hate anyway.

I know there's no shortage of opinions when it comes to people being hateful while hiding behind anonymity, but this is actually something else:

I frequently read Amazon product reviews. I figure it's part of my consumer due diligence for shopping online. I generally don't read them for books, because of the aforementioned hatefulness. I wanted to get some feedback on one book I had heard was "controversial," and I was pleasantly shocked by the thoughtfulness and thoroughness of the reviewers. It read more like genuine literary criticism (my least favorite class in college) than the rantings of crazy idiots. Anyway, in case you're curious--the reviews of Rob Bell's Love Wins are worth skimming.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

WTF, Comcast?

Today, I spoke with Comcast. I actually started talking to Comcast on Saturday, when the rep on the other end of the line said, “I’m going to run some diagnostic tests.” And then said the modem was “depleted” (may contain uranium?) and needed to be replaced.

When can he schedule an appointment for a technician to come to my house during working hours to look at it? Um, never. OK, when can I go to a service center during working hours to drop it off? Um, never. I work during working hours. Can you mail me a new one? You have to call back during working hours. Fine.

Yesterday, I called and talked to someone who said they could mail me one. It should arrive on Thursday. Sorry for the inconvenience. Fine.

Then I got a barely intelligible voicemail saying I needed to talk to sales if I wanted a new modem, but no mention of how one gets in touch with sales. Fine.

So I called back today and was told they needed to run some diagnostic tests before they could mail me a new modem. Am I near my modem? NO. LIKE I TOLD THE OTHER COMCAST REPS, I AM NOT ABLE TO HANG OUT WITH MY MODEM DURING WORKING HOURS, WHICH IS APPARENTLY THE ONLY TIME ANYONE WILL TALK TO ME ABOUT GETTING A NEW MODEM. Please hold for a supervisor.

15 minutes elapse. New rep answers the phone: how may I assist you today? Uh, I’m waiting to speak to a customer service supervisor. New rep works in billing. Doesn't know how I ended up in her call queue. Please hold while she tries to get someone in customer service on the line.

10 minutes elapse. New rep answers the phone: how may I assist you today? Through clenched teeth, I explain that I just need someone to ship me a new modem, and I will gladly mail the old one back. OK, it may be 3 – 5 business days for me to receive it. She can overnight it, but it will cost me $30. Can’t you waive the fee? Sure, she can do that.

So, hopefully it’s done? Perhaps a mere 5 days later, I will have internet service again? I have to imagine that this is the plight of all people who are dependent on a single company to provide a service they consider necessary. Cox doesn't serve my side of the street, apparently, and Verizon needs phone lines? Or cables? Or something?