There are some folk who don't see the gem inside my rough exterior who might consider me a hot head. To which I say a hearty "bite me". But let this opinion be a caution that within this blog may lurk items of a venting nature or perhaps those which might be considered a rant. So be it. Proceed with caution. You have been warned.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

ISPs, Phone Companies, and Service calls, oh My!

The Rantmaster’s castle has experienced a bumpy road of late. Things are breaking down faster than I can even call for help. Before itemizing the list of crises for your entertainment I’d like to spin a tale of technical support buffoonery served up by my phone company / internet service provider. I won’t name the company but it rhymes with “sensory stink”. For the last two months my DSL (I know – but that’s all that is available in my area) has been dropping connection at varying intervals, sometimes several times a day. The tech support line was called on three occasions. Credit where it is due, I never had to wait long for a pseudo tech (script reader) but the heavily accented ladies were unable to connect the symptoms I described to a solution. In the hopes of a fix the old hot head held his temper through some very trying conversations none of which produced any results. Finally I resorted to the internet chat support option which I had to do from work since – catch22 – I couldn’t from home because of the bad connection problem. This tech was much more knowledgeable and was able, from my description of the problem, to tell me that they would have to send a service tech out to solve it. I was told, and soon received a confirming email, that a service tech would show up the next day “between 1:00 and 5:00”.

I’m sure that you can see where this is going. There is nothing more frustrating than this type of service appointment. Essentially you are being told that “we really don’t give a damn that you have to work in order to pay for our services, we expect you to give up half a day to wait for a service call that may or may not happen in a timely manner.” But over the barrel I was. So I went home at noon to wait. At 3:00 I clicked on a link in my confirmation letter to see what the service schedule looked like. (I had learned that I could get a reliable internet connection if I took a phone off the hook.) The schedule said that a tech would arrive between 5:43 and 7:00. And that was the point where my patience ran out. I called tech support to confirm this and the heavily accented lady informed me that yes, the service call was now scheduled for after 5:43 PM. The next 30 minutes was an exercise in rantsmanship. I prefaced it by saying I understood that the lady had no control over this but since SensoryStink had no phone, address, or email available to express my displeasure, she was going to hear it and she could pass it on to her superiors. I won’t elaborate, but at the end of my diatribe – vivid and intense but free of profanity - I’m sure that the message was received that I considered the company’s service policies to be the equivalent of the throughput of a male bovine. She, of course indicated that she “understood” and that there was nothing she could do. I complimented her on her unfailing politeness in the face of raw anger and hung up.

Twenty minutes later the service tech showed up, spent 30 minutes at my house, installed a new modem and charged me nothing.

Now I don’t want to suggest that flying off the handle like Peter Finch in Network had anything to do with this outcome, but the service came suspiciously fast. So thanks to whatever got this accomplished. Problem fixed after only four phone calls, one internet chat and one service call. Should this make me happy? I am somewhat perplexed.

Now on to other concerns. The recent cascade of problems started with the cord in a drapery rod breaking. Not earth shaking, but it took a month to get cord and find resources to figure out how to make the repair. Meanwhile we have a blizzard, fight an ice dam leaking into our three seasons room, desktop computer’s on/off switch on starts functioning only intermittently, kitchen stove oven starts turning on spontaneously due to faulty repair part supplied by Sears service, garage door opener chain jumps track leading to cracking my head on the malfunctioning door, slow leak develops in tire, squirrels chew bulbs off outdoor Christmas lights, orchestra rehearsals reach new heights of frustration, doofusses at work continue to prove their doofusity daily and it’s winter! My friends and associates are heard repeating the phrase “don’t poke the bear”. Color me cranky.

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