So, back in April I wrote about the mess with our cable company insisting that we all get boxes on every TV we own so that we can continue to have the privilege of paying a small fortune in order to watch our TVs. For a few weeks after finally getting said boxes all working, things seemed fine except for the fact that the images frequently looked like works by Picasso or Seurat. Faces and bodies were not necessarily attached to each other, or they just became a giant collection of dots. I’ve been told this is called “tiling.” Whatever it’s called, it gave me a migraine.
But soon, things went from bad to worse. Every few days, the cable would just go out completely. Usually right in the middle of something I actually cared about watching. Like what ingredient to add to my stir-fry after the asparagus.
Initially, it would go out for a few minutes, and then come back on. Annoying, yes. But screaming on the phone annoying, not quite yet. That came shortly after, when not only would the cable go out on a daily basis, but it would disappear multiple times a day, for at least an hour each time. I started calling the cable company at the start of each occurrence in the pathetic hope that I might actually get this problem fixed in a timely manner, plus maybe even receive some kind of monetary compensation for my time and trouble. One can dream.
Almost every conversation with the cable company’s reps would begin with me being told that this was only a problem in my house and had no relation to the fact that we had been required to hook those stupid boxes up to all the TVs just a few months earlier. (I had the temerity to try to get the reps to make that connection, since there had never been such problems prior to the boxes. But of course, they insisted that one had nothing to do with the other. My bad.) They told me I had to schedule an appointment for a repair person to come to my house. In the beginning, I made the appointments – which were always scheduled 2 or 3 days after my phone call – and would end up cancelling after the cable came back on. I can’t begin to tell you how much I enjoyed wasting my time in this manner multiple times per day. Plus, when I would call back later that day when the next outage occurred, there would be a recording telling me it was an “area-wide outage,” so what would be the point of having a tech come out to my house when the problem was not at my house? I’m sure you can follow my reasoning here. But very few of the reps could.
Anyway, after several weeks of this nonsense, I was no longer able to stifle my shrieks when I called and insisted on talking to a supervisor, because I was not going to explain what was going on for the thousandth time to a rep who had no power to do anything and who would insist that I needed a repair person. So I got a supervisor who actually sounded like he was listening to me. “I hear you,” was said multiple times in a reassuring voice. “I’ll look into it and get back to you first thing tomorrow.” Uh huh. I wonder if he heard me yelling at his supervisor two days later when the promised phone call never came.
So, in a world of few choices, I thought about switching cable companies, but didn’t hear great things about the options that were actually available. And eventually, things got better. Until today. I was preparing dinner, enjoying a rerun of one of my favorite shows that still has the ability to make me laugh – and I promise you, these days I am in desperate need of laughs – when at my favorite part, suddenly all went dark. No, I thought, not again. But yes, it was again. So I called. And got a self-righteous young rep who obviously knew everything and, in spite of my explanation of all that had come before, insisted that I needed to have a repair person come to my home.
“Did you not hear me?” I asked, gritting my teeth. “I’m sure it’s area-wide, even though you don’t know it yet, because most likely all my neighbors are so sick of talking to you people that no one is picking up the phone to call anymore.”
The know-it-all voice came back at me. “Mrs. Rechtman, we can’t help you unless you let us have a repairman come out to your house. It could just be your house that’s causing this problem.”
“Uh, no, in all the prior conversations, it’s been area-wide, which you people would eventually figure out hours later, and they had to have lots and lots of busy little bees working in some hidden Bat Cave to get everyone’s cable back. My house is just collateral damage, not patient zero.”
I could hear the annoyance in her voice. Because of course, she, like all the reps, knows so much more than I do. She repeated, talking over me, “Mrs. Rechtman, we cannot help you…”
“Mrs. Rechtman, would you hang on so you can take the survey for the service you received from me today?”
I try not to curse. I’ve learned to bite my tongue so unpleasant words don’t come tumbling out of my mouth, even when so well-deserved. No matter how much I wanted to tell her that in no way, shape or form, did she want me answering that phone survey. So I did what I could to stick to my principles. I pretended I didn’t hear her. In my cheeriest voice, now talking over her, I said, “Thanks so much for your help. Bye!” Disconnect – on so many levels.
Remind me to share my stories about switching trash companies next time. There’s always someone who knows so much more than I do. You, too? Yes, I hear you.
Copyright Nancy Machlis Rechtman, all rights reserved