If you’ve been anywhere on the Internet recently you probably saw an article about the guy that called Comcast and had to endure a grueling 20 minute phone “conversation” just to cancel his service. I know most people listened to the recording thinking “oh my god that poor man” but honestly, I feel no sympathy.
Why? He was lucky enough to be able to cancel his Comcast service and move onto to someone else. At the very least he was lucky enough to have an Internet connection to look up Comcast’s number so that he could cancel his service. I have neither of those things. While he and I are (or were) both in complicated and unhealthy relationships with Comcast, he was and is much better off than I am. In his relationship, he was the poor, annoyed boyfriend who’d done no wrong, yet was tied down to Comcast, a psycho-obsessive girlfriend that was one forgotten monthaversary away from leaking his social security number to Snowden. Think Ted Mosby and pretty much any crazy girl either he or Barney dated. My relationship with Comcast is more like an arranged marriage. Comcast and I had spent our early days blissfully unconcerned about each other until I woke up one morning to instructions by my parents (landlord) that Comcast and I were getting hitched. Three months later here I am, the fed up wife that’s too passive-aggressive to actually do something, and Comcast, the still unconcerned husband, taking my dowry (cable and Internet bill) and sleeping around with every whore on the block that U-verse hadn’t gotten to first. Sure, he may have had to deal with a 20-minute break up, but I’ll have to deal with monthly 20-minute "troubleshooting" for what seems like eternity.
What brought on this profession of hatred for my betrothed? Since I signed up for Comcast my Internet has never really worked properly. It’s been faulty enough that in the three months I’ve been attached to the old ball and chain, I’ve made numerous phone calls, had two technicians come—to tell me that they can’t figure out what’s wrong—and have been asked more than I ever hope to be asked in my life if I’d like to sign up for a Comcast landline. Comcast, no one wants your fucking landline. No one wants a landline from anyone. I’d expect you to know this by doing maybe the smallest amount of research, but then again I wouldn’t actually expect you to do the smallest amount of research. Anyways, yesterday turned out to be another one of those phone call days, and in true marital form, I decided to document the experience. Maybe I’ll show our kids one day.
Friday August 15th, 2014
10 a.m. Part One Begins
I wasn’t shocked when I woke up this morning to no Internet connection. After two hours of plugging, unplugging, and resetting everything on the modem, I’ve finally decided to hit up bae. I’ve been meaning to call Comcast for a while. Scratch that. I’ve needed to call Comcast for a while. I’ve had no intention of calling them because another hour-long conversation that produces zero results wasn’t on my summer bucket list.
12 p.m. The Honeymoon Phase Is Over
Calling Comcast is proving to be a much more difficult task than I expected. I can’t use my computer to look up the customer service number so I have to use my phone. I’m even less shocked to discover that the Comcast mobile site is a shit show and doesn’t seem to have the customer service number--or any number--anywhere. After 15 minutes I give up and decide to google “Comcast customer service number” which turns up fruitful. I don’t know why I didn’t just start with that.
12:22 p.m. The Call
The automated voice system welcome's me to Comcast. It's warm and friendly, like S&M with a teddy bear made of glass shards.
"Thank you for calling Comcast, home of Xfinity. Para continuar en Espanol, marque nueve. For quality or training purposes, your call may be monitored or recorded. Thank you. Please hold while we process your call."
I've given no information at this point so I'm not really sure what's there to process. I'm left on hold listening to the sweet sounds of some special Xfinity fighting show I won't be watching. I'm assuming my call won't actually be monitored or recorded since they probably don't have any sort of training system or quality standard.
"Thank you for calling Comcast, home of Xfinity. Para continuar en Espanol, marque nueve. For quality or training purposes, your call may be monitored or recorded."
I wasn't quite sure about the meaning of the message the first time around so I'm glad I got to hear it twice.
"For assistance with high speed Internet, press "2".
There's no instruction on what to press for debilitatingly unresponsive Internet. I try 2.
"For help connecting to the Internet, press '1'."
Cutting right to the chase... they must get this a lot. After pressing "1" I am put on hold again, only this time to the soundtrack of some smooth instrumental rock. It's a refreshing change from Xfinity Fight Club.
"Thank you for calling Comcast. My name is Greg*. How can I assist you?"
I don't actually know if his name was Greg. I didn't feel like putting in the effort to remember his name because I just figured he'd be the first in a long line of representatives I'd be speaking to, and there's only so many names my brain can temporarily hold. (I was also too busy preserving memories of our marriage that'll last a lifetime) I give Greg my information and he does something with it in his computer. I have no idea what Greg is actually doing.
Eventually we make our way through the small talk and get into the deep stuff. The conversation goes like this:
Greg: "So how long has your Internet not been working properly?"
Me: "Well it hasn't worked at all all morning, but honestly it hasn't really functioned properly at all since I signed up in May."
Greg: "Okay, so stopped it working this morning."
I don't know how to respond to that. I thought maybe you were different, Greg. I guess I was wrong.
Greg is now done putting my information into the system, or at least I assume so.
"We're going to have to wait just a moment for the system to load."
Don't worry Greg, I'm used to waiting for things to load. Eventually it does load and he continues viciously grilling me for my information in an "attempt to troubleshoot."
"Is your modem online? Is the online light solid or flashing? Have you moved the modem to a different jack recently? Have you tried unplugging the modem or pressing the reset button?"
Actually I've been resetting it roughly seven times a day, thanks for asking. Finally, a man who really wants to know what I'm thinking!
"Okay, there's no known outages in your area, it looks like it's possible that the wireless gateway has failed."
Let's cut the bullshit and ditch the "possible." It failed. There's really no question about that. If it hadn't failed we wouldn't be having phone sex right now.
Greg informs me that a technician will have to come out to look at everything.
Second time's the charm. Third time's the tequila. Bottoms up.
Greg's work here is done and he will now transfer me to a "scheduling team member"
"I've done all the troubleshooting, so you won't have to do anything but set up an appointment with the next team member."
Yeah, I really doubt that, Greg.
"I'm going to put you on hold while I transfer you. Don't worry if the call drops I will call you right back."
It's reassuring that call-dropping is a big enough problem to earn it's own warning in the calls script.
The smooth rock has been replaced with Hawaiian luau music. I think this is my favorite so far. I've lost track of how many times I've been on hold, but I'd like to say four.
"Thank you for calling Comcast, how may I assist you?"
I was under the impression you would have all my information. Thank you, Comcast, for once again living up to the very low expectations I have for you. At least he didn't mention his name, though. That's one less I'll have to not remember.
New Team Member and I embark on my next Blockbuster hit: Troubleshooting 2: What Foreign Country Is Your Accent From?
(Spoiler: It involves high-speed, fast-action network tests and a sultry love scene where my information is verified for the third time)
"I'm going to put you on hold now to access our schedule. I'll provide all your information to the technician that comes."
You have a terrible track record and I will assume that that statement is erroneous.
The hold machine soundtrack has reverted back to smooth rock. I miss the Hawaiian luau.
"Our earliest available opening is tomorrow. You have an option of either 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. or 12 p.m. to 5 p.m."
A choice between carving out four hours of my day to wait around for Comcast and carving out five ours of my day to wait around for Comcast? Whatever shall I do?
I begrudgingly choose to wake up at 8 a.m.--on a Saturday-- although I don't know why since the technicians probably aren't up before 10.
New Team Member assures me everything will be fixed and working. He's so sexy when he jokes.
"Your reference number is 388672959. Do you have that? Thank you for choosing Comcast enjoy your service bye."
Did you read that in under six seconds? New Team Member said it in under five. Anything you can do, my man does better.
(I actually did somehow manage to jot down the reference number, not that I actually needed it.)
12:38 p.m. I'm Finally Free
T-minus 15 hours until it all begins again.
4:45 p.m. Comcast Calls to Remind Me of My Appointment
It only took four hours to completely wipe my memory of the day's frustration so yes, I needed it. Thanks, Comcast! Where would I be without you?If there's a bright side to any of this, it's that nobody tried to sell me a landline.