We have crappy TV service. There’s nothing on, although there is a whole lot of it, and even the remote control is tragic. If you accidentally hit the wrong button there’s hell to pay to get the TV screen back in the proper corral, and it’s easy to hit the wrong button because you have to hold the remote over your head to make anything go. Also? We can’t turn the TV off without getting off our asses and walking over to it, and what century is this, anyway? What are we, acrobats?
But we don’t want to change it, because we do not like change.
CenturyLink made us change anyway. They said they’re no longer offering our crappy TV service and we should look over their many fine alternatives. Really, there’s nothing I like better than calling a Service Provider on the phone, because I so rarely have anything to do for any given four-hour period.
The fine choices boiled down to having a dish bolted onto our house, which we reject on aesthetic grounds, and ATT. ATT wanted twenty bucks up front to get the ball rolling and that took a couple hours because something went wrong with the nice lady’s computer and it kept ralphing up my credit card. The nice lady was distraught and whimpery, because, I believe, she is accustomed to being screamed at, and I kept reassuring her that I was fine. I was so happy that she spoke English that I wanted to luxuriate in the experience. I don’t want to be that person who complains about people with accents, but I admit to a strong preference for it in my Service Providers. Anyway I told her I could happily listen to her all day long, and then I did.
I could have walked a twenty over to their office faster. It was my idea, ultimately, to plug in my landline and try to get the transaction through that way, and it took me a while to find the cord. It has been unplugged for four years although we still pay for it because evidently taking the landline out of the Internet-TV-Phone Bundle doesn’t make it cheaper. Basically, our landline is serving as packaging twine for our Bundle. I plugged the old workhorse in, the very same lady called me back on it, and we were in business.
Then all I had to do was wait for a new device to thud onto my front porch and plug it in, plus they were going to send over a Service Technician. I wasn’t clear what the Service Technician was going to do, but I said okay. “Okay,” the nice lady said, brightly, clearly relieved that ATT had my credit card number now, “how does Tuesday work for you?”
Quite well, thank you.
“And what time of day is good for you?”
This, as it turns out, is a little Service Provider joke. They are howling in the break room.
“Anytime after nine would be fine.”
“All right, we’ll set you up for Tuesday, with a Service Window between 9am and 5pm.”
“That’s some window,” I said.
“But no later than 7:15,” she continued.
At this point I am laughing myself snotty. I’m not sure the nice lady is used to that, but I think she wanted to keep the conversation going so she didn’t have to talk to someone mean.
The service window between nine and five but no later than 7:15 reminds me of our newspaper service. When The Oregonian went digital, they offered a sort of hybrid deal: they would deliver papers some days, and the other days would be digital only. They trumpeted this change as “Newspapers Sunday, Wednesday, and Friday, with a bonus paper on Saturday!” Awesome! It’s not like we went from seven papers down to four; we get a bonus! Whoever in Marketing came up with that probably still gets a bonus just thinking about it.
Anyway, the “no later than 7:15” Service Window proved to be a bust. Tuesday came and went with no Service Technician. Two days later I got another call explaining that the technician never made it to my house but they’d be happy to send one out Monday if I wanted. Sure! When?
She had a window between nine and five. But no later than 7:15. I can’t wait. Actually, I can.
The problem as I see it, was the phone chat lady not being specific as to which Tuesday the Service Technician would arrive. She might have meant the third Tuesday after Easter or maybe even next year. You really need to pin these people down when it comes to days and times.
Now that is a WINDOW!
Well Murr, their ineptitude is your readers gain; I admit to some guilty chuckles here, haha! But I only want you & Pootie to get your service back and then some, no more of that acrobatic stuff. 🙂
Weirdly, the TV turns out to be okay as far as it goes, which is not quite far enough. I still don't know exactly how to use the remote. And the only channel we don't get is PBS, for cryin' out loud.
Newspapers: A couple or three years ago, our newspaper went from being printed in Wichita KS (10 miles from us) to being printed in Kansas City MO. Delivery immediately became troublesome.
A year ago, our service went from 7 newspapers per week to 6 – Sunday through Friday. Saturday is digital only (which we've never been able to get to work!) Our "bonus" is that the puzzles & comics from the Saturday non-edition is included in the Sunday paper.
The Internet has been the death of newspapers. At one time our subscription produced 14 papers per week – morning Beacon and evening Eagle. They were printed on full-sized newspaper print and ran pages and pages. Now, many of the articles carry a byline from The Kansas City Star.
I have just recently switched my subscription to digital only because I did finally get used to reading the paper online. Now I digitally subscribe to The Oregonian, WaPo and NYT.
Those service windows are very large aren't they? Very large, but not very clear.
Ha ha ha ha ha!
I only buy paper newspapers because I have parrots and it's the cheapest source of cage paper. We can read it before they poop on it, and after they poop on it, it can be used as kindling in our fireplace. We can't really DO that with the internet.
We used to have cable, then satellite, and got tired of them incrementally raising their rates every month. Plus, most of it we never watched, because it was crap and we just have other things to do. (It would be so much better if, instead of "packages", you could just choose the channels you want and pay à la carte.) So we just do streaming now. Most of what we want to watch is on the Internet anyway.
I have trouble with accents, too. ANY kind of accent. watching Broadchurch, I could only understand about a quarter of David Tennant's heavy Scots accent. With "service providers", if they have a heavy accent, I usually just hang up and try for someone I can actually understand. Sometimes I hit the jackpot.
I only schedule things that require a large window only on certain days when I know I will be home all day. (Admittedly, that's most days right now.) But, yeah, even with an incredibly large window, I've had them come WAAAAY late.
It's so hard to hang up on a Service Provider you can't understand, when you were on hold for an hour to get him in the first place!
Technology is so complex! My credit card got hacked last week and now I have to wait for a new card to pay some bills and reset some automatic payments. It would probably be easier just sending cash through the mail and less susceptible to theft than a credit card. Good luck with your "Service Provider".
I had that happen too! My credit card contacted me. They flagged a suspicious entry and called me about it, and sure enough it wasn't me. But it was for, like, $2.79. Ordering a subscription movie or something. I had to get a whole new card.
Guilty confession I read the comments before I read the column. Column was great. I now use closed captioning on those wonderful shows like Broad church. I love your crowd of commenters and your replies. Thanks for making me happy today.
We need a little happy today, I'm afraid.
I have trouble with accents too, but do not be afraid. I had a brief conversation with the guys from the corner restaurant. I wanted to know if they are closed, or just taking the day off. They are closed but will be back, si dios quiere. It is not the accents- it is the whole pain in the ass of talking on the "phone" with some whippersnapper. I can't stop worrying if they are ok.
The whippersnappers talk so fast. Using words that didn't exist all that long ago.
Well, I've debated with myself for a few minutes and decided that I just have to ask — What about xfinity?
Whole different internet service? Can't bear it! Too much change!
Thank you for more giggles than I've had all day! I needed that.
I have many thoughts on cable service providers, and they are all agitated and hostile. I will just say that one day when I was particularly annoyed with Comcast I logged onto NextDoorDOTcom to see what my neighbors had to say on the subject. I discovered that no matter who their service provider might be, they hated it.
Recently — oh, I'm sorry, I find myself complaining more than I had planned to — Comcast erased forever any possibility that I might ever think more highly of them by removing from the lineup all the FM radio stations they used to let us listen to via our TV, stations from Sacramento to down below South San Francisco. I checked with some other providers and found that all locally available providers had quit carrying FM radio stations at just about the same moment.
As for trying to get a service-person to call, I highly recommend Flanders and Swann's song "The Gasman Cometh" (available on YouTube) which sums the daily torments up quite neatly. ("A ballad of unending domestic upheaval.")
Your commentors (-ers?) are marvelous, as are you. Carry on.
Aren't they? It's like a little party over here. And you're right. No one likes their service provider.
I second all comments, and raise you thrice, which is approximately what we pay for telecom, internet and cable TV in Canada. Basic landline, basic cable, internet $175.00 monthly. Means we eat cat food sandwidges on Tuesdays and Sattidays – Fancy Feast makes a good tuna pate – *just* so I can keep up with Studley Windowson and Pootie, and see how long and luxurious Dave's beard is becoming. Haw! (Also need my guilt level topped up from time-to-time by 'Anonymous the Boomer Baiter'.
Ain't it been a DAY in Washington?
Lordy, lordy, lordy. Lordy, lordy, lordy. Lordy. I got nothin'.
(The “X” was a test.)
For about $100, you can buy a digital antenna at Best Buy that looks like a flat figure eight on an ice cube tray. With that in Portland you can get all the local stations AND four OBB channels.