TV was on the fritz again. This happens a lot since everything went digital. It never makes sense, which means it’s probably related to hormones or some planet being in retrograde. Usually I can fix it myself with some combination of unpluggings and holdings-in-of-buttons, although the precise order is a mystery.
Sometimes, I think, it just comes back on as a sort of blessing. It’s like God. You might get the dropsy or win the Irish Lottery, but it won’t be because of anything you did.
Not this time. This time I scared up a screen that promised Software Is Being Updated, but I was dubious. The progress dots were just loitering. After about five minutes they gave way to an Error screen in big red letters. I unplugged more vehemently and jammed the plug back in like I meant it, Mister. It didn’t budge. I unplugged the toaster and the slow sink, to no avail.
Somewhere there was a suggestion I chat with someone online, so I gave it a go. First thing I see is that I’m really important and the estimated minimum wait time is 127 minutes. I kept the window open and farted around on the internet.
Cool! The estimated wait time kept coming down fast until it was down to five minutes after only a half hour. This is a winnowing technique. They know perfectly well they lost half their complainers right off the bat. Smart! Then every two minutes they updated to say I was down to five minutes. Five minutes minimum wait time, which would include, I now realized, 127 minutes.
Then I got a new message! Hi! My name is CenturyLink and I’ll be with you in a moment, as soon as I figure out who you are and whether you are packing! Followed thirty seconds later by “All our agents are busy. Try again later.”
Oh, no you di’n’t. I gave the chat window a wicked bitch face and then typed in “Are you there?” To my surprise, it came back with the message that someone would be right with me, and thanked me for my patience, which I believe was rather an assumption on their part.
“I’ll be with you in a minute,” it said. That would be Nick (“The Nickster”) and his imaginary friend Nurse Skippy, who is still in the bathroom. Nick isn’t allowed to chat on his own without a nurse in the room since the Incident.
Every two minutes, I got a slightly different version of this message and then–1-1/2 hours in–the “agent” terminated the chat. Would I like a transcript of our chat? Oh yasss. Yass indeedy, I would. I’ll need it for the murder trial.
Used to be we had ourselves a fat monopoly called Ma Bell. Ma was all-powerful. She owned our phones and unless you had a postage stamp or a ham radio that was the only way you were going to communicate with anyone who wasn’t in the room. When your phone didn’t work, you went to a neighbor’s house to call Ma and she sent out a nice man in a spiffy suit to fix it, no charge. He’d come in and frown at the phone and then go outside with a loop of new line and a bulge in his pocket and come back brandishing a dispatched squirrel, either a relevant one or an alternate that happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Then your phone worked again.
We used to complain about Ma Bell. I don’t remember why.
I've had my digital TV for about nine years now with no problems at all. What does go off unexpectedly now and again is the dvd player or the usb hub, to be fair, I do give both quite a workout, so they're probably just tired. I turn off the whole shebang at the outlet, wait a minute or so then start it all up again, and away she goes for another round of viewing.
"They're probably just tired." Heh heh
The IRS calls that a "courtesy disconnect."
Naw. Really? That is awesome.
If Ma Bell is related to our Bell here in Canada, you don't want to get too nostalgic!! I think all those companies (well, pretty much all companies of any kind) are only scheming how to get our money at the least cost to themselves. Service is just a word.
I used to object to people using the word "service" as a verb when they weren't talking about livestock, but now I think it's rather appropriate.
'Your call is important to us' is a phrase which signifies loooooong waits to me. And raises my dander.
I now believe I need to spend some time looking up "dander." I've heard of getting one's dander up, which is obviously the same thing as raising it, but what IS it?
Now you have me thinking …not always a good thing. Dogs and cats have dander which is the stuff that poor ol' allergic folks are allergic to. So when one of them are irate or spooked, their hair stands on end. If dander is on the skin of the animal, does this hair raising equate to raising their dander, too? So the worst that could happen is that you make someone sneeze!
I checked derivation. It's official. No one the hell knows.
It amazes me that there is now a whole generation of Americans who would not understand Lily Tomlin's famous 'telephone company' and 'operator' routines. And they can't wrap their heads around (a) it was a monopoly that was allowed, and (b) before 'phone jacks', telephones were *permanently* *Hardwired*. Their eyes just kinda glaze over…….
I've been thinking about it a lot lately. Remember when you called someone and you knew EXACTLY where they were when they answered? And if they didn't answer, well, you just had to wonder about them?
I love the Netflix series Cable Girls for just this reason … nostalgia!
Maybe I'll check it out.
The talk of Ma Bell and operators takes me back to college, when I worked weekends handling the campus switchboard, ringy-dingies, plug-ins, and all. I loved that! It was a women’s college and during the war, so it was a busy time-slot. It seemed to me that I was contributing to the well-being of the community anonymously. Your digital “operator” gets no satisfaction, and neither do you. Lose-lose, sadly.
There is something soothing about the plug-in part of a switchboard. I wish I'd had that job.
O. M. G. Don't get me started on Century Link. Worst customer service EVER. I have, however, actually chatted (chatted! HA.) with a few individuals over the years and I generally resort at some point to shouting – by which I mean using ALL CAPS. They have nothing to do with our TV, but they do control our landline and our broadband. Terrible broadband, I might add.
Did I mention they're expensive?
Life was so much simpler in the analog years. I, too, have reverted to random button pushing to fix a problem on my 10-year-old Samsung, and now I'm down to just 8 pushes to get the persistent problem righted. Spectrum-Charter has better customer service than your provider, but I blame it for the need for the button pushing. The best, though, was Fidelity in Oklahoma.
Do you ever push buttons harder when it doesn't work the first time?
Works for summoning elevators – right?
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AAH, the analog years, not so long ago down here in Southern Arizona. Centurylink bought local Qwest 9 – 10 years back. The former Qwest employees were so embarrassed by CL's customer service that if you ended up finally seeing a field tech, he or she would give you their direct cell number to call to bypass "the system" next time you had trouble. Out here in the desert, the copper thieves would steal the phone lines three or four times a year, so that became a handy option.
Of course, the fiber optic IPTV service you have in Portland is still a distant dream for us. It wasn't that long ago that they converted the analog phone lines (put in to service the Titan missile silos during the cold war in the '60s) to digital signals to carry more conversations. But it is still that old copper and the woodpeckers around here love to peck holes in the cables (when they haven't been stolen).
You're right about the CL techs giving private numbers! Incidentally a lot of us postal carriers did the same thing. It's not like anyone answers the phone at the post office.
My old newspaper delivery person did that, too. She knew that sometimes papers are late, or get stolen, or whatever, and didn't want to get a demerit for it. I only had to call her a few times in all the years she delivered, and she would immediately remedy the issue.
Now I have no idea who delivers my paper, but when there is a problem, I have to play telephone tag with a robot. My only option is to credit my account for the paper — not to have one delivered.
Needless to say, my old carrier, Lisa, always got a nice tip at Christmas (even though I don't celebrate it.) This other guy? Pffft….
Just returned from bird-watching in Central America, where I went cold turkey on internet/email/texting/phone for about 8 days. It was heaven. And we were in the veritable Garden of Eden. Wait, are those two different places? I get mixed up.
I'm pretty sure I wouldn't suffer from withdrawal. I'd miss you guys, but the rest? I rarely carry my phone anyway. I feel sorry for kids who grew up with it all. (Especially the adolescents!)
Don't know if the TV is fixed, but you definitely got "serviced." Sometimes I miss Ma Bell.
True confessions time: it turned out, although we didn't find out until the next day, that is was the nationwide outage that affected several companies–including facebook I think? But could they have maybe PUT UP A SIGN ON THEIR SITE THAT THEY'D BEEN HACKED AND WE SHOULD HANG IN THERE???
I have learned NEVER use the chat option for service. The first part is usually a robot who repeats your question and then sends you to a real person. The real person you get connected to is an idiot. My advice? Use the phone and put it on speaker and go about your business until it is answered. Ask the person to repeat his/her name before your start the discussion.
Duly noted. Good advice.