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Nine days and waiting …

Posted by joeabbott on November 23, 2014

I don’t hate Comcast … but, I realize I’m just saying that to avoid being one of those exceptionally loud-mouthed individuals who spew negativity just for the sake of being heard. Yeah, they really get under my skin. I try really hard not to make it personal when I’m talking to their personnel … they’re just people with jobs doing the best they can with the resources available … and yet, I found myself raising my voice the other day. I’m not big on yelling.

Why does this come up? Well, the note I made to myself on 11/14 during a conversation with the Comcast people is still sitting on my desk. It says, “11/29 Tech to come out. 4-6PM”. Yes, I made the note on 11/14 and, for a suspected outage requiring a technician to fix, I was assigned a date of more than two weeks before they’d show up!

See … I’m starting to raise my voice even now, a week later.

Out in Seattle we get these terrific fall wind storms. It’s part of the reason (a big part) of why we had the cottonwood trees in the backyard removed: gales come rushing in from the north and west, branches and sometimes whole trees will come down, and all manner of minor chaos ensues. Trash bins are upset, property damage is inflicted, and various utilities go out. It’s part of life.

About a month ago, our Comcast-provided Internet connection was lost to one of these storms. I was working from home after dinner on a tight deadline and needed connection, so I called in and was surprised to hear: nothing is wrong … your modem must have died. When I asked if they’d be out later that evening with a replacement, the near-chuckled response was “no”, but they could mail one. I decided against, canceled my modem rental from them, and ran out to Best Buy to get a replacement.

Several hours later, after buying, installing, and working for 45 minutes with a technician from whichever company I bought the modem from, I was still having problems and called back to Comcast. At that point I was told: hey, there’s a general outage in your area, no one’s getting through. I was mad but kept my cool, asking why the previous tech hadn’t been privy to this seemingly important information. The response was the best that could have been given: they weren’t sure why the other person did or didn’t know anything, but my service was out and there was nothing to be done about it just then. Focus the customer, keep them moving forward. They did well.

And, sometime that night, everything magically started working again. I didn’t see that myself, as I was sleeping in preparation for getting up at 4AM so I could get into work and get my job done, but all our other system started working then. Both desktop machines (a Mac and a PC), both tablets (an iPad and a Surface), the various phones (iPhone and Windows phone), Xboxes, laptops, and even our scale (a Fitbit Aria). Yes, we have a connected life and without the Internet we’re living a curtailed existence. We don’t watch TV (I game, Suzy has various Netflix-type outlets), we’re not constantly tweeting, posting on FB, or living a SIM life; but we do leverage the Internet a lot.

Which makes flakey service for which we’re paying plenty of money each month very frustrating. Our checks never bounce, why should our service?

This brings us to 11/14; a day of little importance but one in which we had another minor wind kerfuffle and our Internet service went out. I called a more-familiar-than-it-should-be-number and talked to my technician. I was patient while she did her diagnostics, I was patient as she had me plugging in and out various systems, I was even patient when she asked (somewhat accusingly as if she found the weak link): who installed the modem?

Time out.

“Installing a modem” means running the power cord from the wall to the unit … something anyhow who has vacuumed a floor, made a piece of toast, or enjoyed light from a lamp they’ve purchased would know how to do …, then running the coaxial cable from the specialized outlet from the wall to the modem … you cannot mess that up; it has a threaded connector and only one way for the parts to go together … and then the cable from the modem to the appliance … again, specialized plugs with positive locking mechanisms force you to do this correctly.

She almost had me at “raise your voice annoyance” with this question.

I then related to her that we had similar behavior recently and it was due to an outage, but she assured me everything was going well and I was the only one without Internet connection. Clearly this time it was my modem that failed. I sighed, resigned myself to being without my Internet, and asked when I’d see a replacement unit; the next day, I was told.

Over the prior conversations and from discussions with the tech from the unnamed company that I’d purchased the Best Buy modem from, it was clear something was non-optimal in my house. Something just not quite right with my setup. So, while I was positive the outage was on their side and would self-correct, I asked that they send out the tech so he could install the modem properly and run other diagnostics. This is when I was told it would be 15 days before one would show up.

Fifteen days.

I sorta lost it. I wasn’t screaming or swearing, I didn’t call names or mindlessly insult Comcast, but I did raise my voice, cite the amount we pay them monthly, and reflect that this was an absolutely unacceptable time period to wait before I was served. I was fair, but I was unrelenting. Honest, but more pointed than I normally am. Yeah, I think I hate Comcast.

Anyhow, our Internet service magically restored itself later that night around 3AM, the new modem came in the mail … not the next day, but the one after … and in about a week the tech will come out. I’ll ask him to run diagnostics, I’ll have him tweak things to go more smoothly, and then he can install the new modem. Then I’ll likely have to call their customer (dis)service lines to request a refund for the days we were without Internet Service, and I will wait for the next windstorm.

I’m trying to decide if when it happens again (and it will happen again), if I should just wait a day and save everyone some grief? Or maybe I make a stink and hope they improve their service and I receive that for which I pay? I’ll play it by ear but hopefully will manage to avoid raising my voice … I find that people hear you better that way.

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One Response to “Nine days and waiting …”

  1. momma said

    Ouch! My head hurts! I think you need something to help you manage with all that stress! Seriously….. very bad for your health, Joe. Much love, Momma

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