This afternoon I had the strangest experience.
Comcast, the cable and internet giant, treated
me like I mattered. I came home from class, attempted to download my
e-mail and found that my connection was, well, dead. This isn’t anything
new; for the past month or so I’ve had to “reboot” the cable modem every
other day or so to get a connection. I knew that I would probably have
to talk to Comcast eventually about the problem, but like dental work
without anaethesia, I wasn’t looking forward to it. So I rebooted the
modem, and an hour later, when it still hadn’t connected, I knew today
was the day. Mentally rearranging my schedule to account for the
afternoon of work I was surely going to lose, I dialed Comcast on my
cell. Funny, you never think about times like this when you sign up for
After navigating the automated menus, I was finally connected to a
tech after waiting for…. 30 seconds? OK, so it’s mid-day, they must be
slow. I’m sure he’ll be ignorant and unpleasant. I described what I’d
done and what the symptoms were.
“Yup, sounds like a dead modem; my COM21 did that too about a month ago.
Would you like me to schedule a tech or would you like to go pick up a
new modem at your local office?”
Uh, excuse me? You’re not going to make me wait 36 hours for a surly,
under-educated, condescending technician? [Note: I’m not trying to make
blanket statements about Comcast technicians here, only about ones I’ve
interacted with in the past] Still suspecting something was afoot, I
replied “Well, I’ll just go pick it up; do I need to call back then?”
“Nope, just plug it in and it should be up and running.”
Yeah, right. So I went to the office, still suspecting the desk clerks
were going to look at me incredulously when I asked for a new modem.
Instead, she says, “Oh, you talked to tech support? OK, let me get that
for you.” Finally, to add insult to, uh, injury, when I returned home
and plugged it in, it did actually work. Total time spent: 45 minutes.
I’m trying not to read too much into this experience. After all, Comcast
has a long, rich history of pimping customers around, unfulfilled
promises, and out-right lying when you call tech support. Ike can’t just
buy Tina some flowers and expect all to be forgiven; he has to grovel
first. And to further abuse the metaphor, I paid for the flowers
myself, in the form of incredibly expensive service. But I suppose if
you have to be a soulless, blood-sucking, government-enforced monopoly,
you can at least give your customers the illusion of dignity. Thanks, Comcast!