Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Heaven It's Not

Springtime in the Midwest
I am cranky!  Yes, today is definitely a day for Crabby Pants to visit here at TAOBC. I could blame it on the weather.  A foot of snow in late March didn't help improve my mood, but actually it is a combination of smaller annoyances, which I will get to shortly.

There was a movie...although for the life of me I can't remember which one...that espoused the idea that Heaven was a place where the things you loved doing  in life would be yours for eternity. Does anyone remember which movie that was in?  Darn, that is going to nag at me trying to remember where that came from.  Anyway...if Heaven would actually turn out to be spending Eternity doing all the things we love to do,  then  Hell must be doing the things we hate doing...forever...and ever...never ceasing...into Eternity.

Cheerful thought don't you think?

Unfortunately, I have a fairly sizable list of things I hate doing.  If a person would be in the frame of mind to look at the positive, that would mean I will have a lot of variety for all Eternity..too bad it will be Hell.

Take for example,  a few things on the "hate list" from just the last few days...things like preparing Income Tax filings.  Hate it!!  I hate driving on icy roads especially near reckless idiots that are driving like maniacs. Oh, and I hate fighting the crowds at the stores right before snow storms when seemingly everyone is concerned about starving to death before the snow melts off our driveways.

See, I wasn't kidding...about the crankiness.  But the granddaddy of all my beefs this week is that I have had to deal with...NOT ONE....But TWO customer service 1-800 numbers.

Yes, I do believe that 1-800 customer service numbers could, in fact,  be HELL.

Thought Number One:   "We Value Your Call"  is an Outright LIE

My first fray into the quagmire of having to call someone for service took the better part of two afternoons.  The matter of a major electronics store finding my extended warranty on a laptop is still trying to be resolved.  Oh, I have my receipt.  They see where I paid for it but unfortunately, they can't find where it was ever filed into their system and will have to get back with me in approximately 10 business days. I am not optimistic.The other little niggling component to that one is that this is a computer "glitch" supposedly and they profess to be the ultimate computer store.   GGGRRRRR!!!

Then as I was stewing over the warranty that has disappeared as effectively as DB Cooper, I am greeted by this on my TV screen.

Followed by:

Followed by:

 That can't be good!!!!

The first major problem with cable companies these days is that other services are bundled with it,  which means if one service goes out there is a super good chance you are going to lose all your services.  No phone, no TV and no Internet. 

Now doesn't that just suck!!  Not only are you panic stricken at the thought of NO TV and NO INTERNET but the real scary part of this is you are going to be forced to call the 1-800 number. **shudder**

SOOO the adventure begins...

So I call the  HELP ME PLEASE !  number only to get Mr. Robot who wants to know:

1. Did you try to reboot your system prior to calling? (yes)
2. Are you calling on the phone number associated with the account? (nope- that phone is not working)
3. What service is out, the Internet, phone or television?  (All three are out and why don't they know this?)
4. Did you check on line for possible solutions? (how many ways can I tell you my Internet is out)
5. Unplug the modem for 10 seconds and replug in.

 OOPS...we have to stop for a minute while the robot runs some tests....beep-beeps for several minutes before robot man is back  While I suspect this is Robot's way of torturing me, I can't actually prove that.

oh...he's back

6. Who was your favorite teacher?
7.  What is your password?
8. What is your mailing address?
9.  If we get disconnected can we call you on your account's phone number (OMG...Robot are you not listening to me...MY PHONE IS NOT WORKING...I am on my cell phone)
10.  We are experiencing heavy call volume.  The expected wait time is 35minutes. Perhaps you would like to get online and chat with one of our technicians.  (yes, I would prefer to be online but that seems to be out of my reach right now)

45 minutes later.....Tech-Guy picks up the phone.  (little does he know at this point his work day is about to take a serious nose-dive.)

Technical person asks me all the above questions again. Evidently he and Robot Man don't speak.

Then,  he tells me that the big red X means my equipment is kaput.. dead...fried.  Supposedly, a hardware malfunction.

But..no problem.. they are  prepared to send me all new equipment via UPS.

WHOA!!!!  Say it isn't so!!!! I have been down this road before and it wasn't a good experience.  Last time they were supposed to  send me just a  new cable box, they inadvertently sent three. While sometimes more is better that isn't true with cable boxes.  It took days to work out which one to hook up and which two were sent in error.  AND the one that was hooked up didn't work.

So are you at all surprised that I was losing my mind at this point ?

At this point, I am "dramatically and emphatically"telling Tech Guy (while my head is spinning 360 degrees)  "You seriously plan on sending me new equipment via UPS ????   Surely that can't be right???  Who is going to hook these things up????

Tech-Guy seems to not notice yet, the fragility of the situation at hand. He is now trying to convince me that any moron can hook up a DVR and five cable boxes into a home theater set up.  According to Tech-guy ...easy-peasy-lemon-squeazy...nothing to it.  And if I have any problems I can call the HELP ME PLEASE!  line for assistance.

Thought Number Two:  If all else fails,  lose your composure to the extent that they worry that you might do bodily harm to yourself or others.

At the prospect of becoming an unpaid installer for my cable company, I now am turning into this person.

Tech-Guy, is now pulling out PLAN B...which is

"Oh, I could send out someone to install the equipment for $99.99 if you would prefer."  (BTW..when you read that line be sure to read it in some indistinguishable accent of your choice)

Well, actually, I would prefer to punch you in the face but that is off the grid, I suppose. So after I threaten to take my business elsewhere (veiled lie as I already checked with the other companies and they too require me to do my own install) and remind him that I am a valued customer. (yeah, like he cares?) we leave it that someone is coming over to install new equipment for the low, low price of $99.99.

I am sure that Phone-Tech guy is calling Install-Guy on a red emergency phone to be sure to arm himself as he might be dealing with a nut case.

As it turns out, Install-Guy looks at all the "may they rest in peace" components and says he is surprised that I hadn't been upgraded to newer models and he wouldn't be charging me.  One may or may not surmise that he is actually worried how fragile my mental health is from the Phone-Tech's portrayal of aforementioned conversation...but what do I care?

Now my TV looks like this:


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lisleman said...

Wait did you forget to mention the lovely music on-hold or did they get rid of those awful sounds?
I think you missed your chance to negotiate a lower rate. Currently we have dropped all but the internet service on our cable. Beware of the bundle. Two or three times in the pass I have temporarily lower my bill by threatening to drop the service. Once I remember (the truth) starting the conversation with "Am I talking to the right person to cancel my service?" That got their attention.
Oh I do not believe in extended warranties. There is a reason they push them.
Lastly regarding the heaven/hell thing - what if only heaven exists and there is no hell?

Cheryl P. said...

Yes, the scratchy awful music still blares into the phone while you wait for something to happen.

The problem in this area there is so little competition. We have AT&T, Surewest, and Ixfinity. All the rates are very close but the equipment varies quite a bit. This year Google is coming into this market with fiber optic cable that is 100 times faster that conventional cable so there are going to be some new rates because Google is signing up people at ridiculous rates to take over some of the market share. In the meantime, I don't really have a lot of choices.or at least with the options I want.

As for warranties. We always keep extended warranties on our laptops because they take a beating on airplanes. The warranties replace the computers for like products in the event of a any type of failure. We have had 4 laptops replaced with new over the last several years.

I have talked to a number of people that believe that there is a heaven and no hell. I have to believe that there are consequences for the truly evil.

Aleta said...

Whenever I have to call one of those 1-800 numbers I put them on speaker phone and have something else to do like read a book. One time I was so into the story and had been on hold for so long when they came to the phone I actually forgot what I was calling about. Lol

Bodacousboomer said...

When I have a problem with a company, I skip all that crap that we all find so annoying. Instead go straight to the office of the CEO. Almost all of them have a "corporate resolution team" or some such, that work outta his office. It's usually much quicker than dealing with all the underlings and you usually get better results as well.

luvbeingagranpa said...

G-O-O-G-L-E.......yeah, it's lookiing better all the time........by the way, what is your mother's maiden name? the street you lived on as a 12 year old? the name of the puppy who licked your cheek for the first time.....how many times your skipped rope when you were 7 1/2 and, and, and ............by the way, we value yourrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr$$$$$$ just not your calls..........so please HHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHoooooolllllllllllldddddddd

Cheryl P. said...

How do you reach real people any more? Every company has you go to the website which never really gives out any information. The "contact" space gives you the option of email, chat room or 1-800. Seriously I am shocked when I call someone and a human gets on the line. If and when I ever get a chance to talk to the CEO of AT&T, I am fairly certain, he will want me to shut up and leave him alone.

Cheryl P. said...

Those security questions are the worst. Who remembers them? The latest one was what country would you like to visit.? 7 years ago when I set that up, I might of wanted to visit a country that no longer exists today. Yes, it will be interesting how having Google stealing up accounts what incentives might come into play.

Liggybee said...

You know...I gripe about the same things sometimes, especially about shopping. Except for groceries and just times I really want to shop, I buy stuff online or thru my friends who sell stuff (like Avon) instead. I don't really like dealing with the kinds of crowds at stores anymore, particularly when there are supposed to be sales. People forget that there are other people shopping there!!! They get so rude.

And these electronic bundles...my husband said the same thing. That's why we're glad we have cell phones. If our house phone (which gets its signal from our Internet cable line) ever goes out, we wouldn't have any phone service. The perils of technological advances...(sigh!)

Oh well, I sure wish it warms up soon!!! So tired of wearing heavy jackets!!! Anyway, hope your week ahead warms up and cheers up...clicks!!! :)

Riot Kitty said...

That sounds like something right out of Monty Python. "What's your favorite color?" "Blue?" "Wrong!"

Nicky said...

I feel for you. The last time I had to call a customer service number, I kept my cool and just kept repeating "No, I don't agree. I'd like to speak to your supervisor. Yes, I understood what you said. But I don't agree and I will keep calling back until I speak to a supervisor." And that continued through 4 different people until I finally got what I wanted. Mainly because I think they ran out of people to pass me off to.

Kimberly @ The Wyatt Zoo said...

Oh, I hate electronics! They never work for me, and I don't have the patience to deal with them. I'm one of those unfortunate people who can try to fix something one way a half dozen times without it working, but when Josh does the exact same trick, it'll work with no trouble.

I'm sorry everything crapped out on you at once, but at least you got it fixed! We've got snow here, too. Hoping spring comes for both of us soon!

Jo-Anne said...

I feel your pain........but then anyone who has delt with these idiots would feel your pain.......I am sure if we could reach through and punch the idiot on the other end of the phone on the nose we would.............

Kathleen Barca said...

I love to read your rants. I have been through all of them at least once if not more. I had the new telephone systems that usually end up overseas somewhere, So I ask for someone that speaks English, that is something that is fun to do. I hope it is all straightened out for you now.

Love and Blessings,

Cheryl P. said...

I am in total agreement with you about shopping. I order most things except groceries online. If I have to go to an actual store due to "need it now", I try my best to go at some slower time...never ever on a week end if I can help it.

I see more problems since the phone/Internet companies went to using one cable to bring all the services in. I have, yet another guy coming in tomorrow to try to figure out if there is a bad interior cable or a bad connector. There seems to be a short somewhere. UGH!!!

You and me both...I am ready for winter to go away. There is still a foot of snow in my yard.

Cheryl P. said...

Riot Kitty, I wouldn't of thought of that but you are so right!!! Hilarious...I hate when they start asking those stupid security questions to verify who I am. Who else would waste an entire afternoon to get my TV reception back on???

Cheryl P. said...

It just never goes well. Between talking to an electronic menu and someone that I am having trouble communicating with, it always turns into a battle. I guess now that they are charging $99.99 to get a real person involved there may be more people willing to be "volunteer installers". I am not on board with that at all. If their equipment isn't working, they need to figure it out.

Trina said...

Ohhh!! I hate making the 800TECH calls. You're right, the robot and the tech never really speak, it's just a way to weed out the morons who didn't reset their appliances. The only thing worse than the robots is the techs you can't understand - now I do try, but if their accent is too strong and they don't listen I blow a fuse. I've actually screamed at one person before because they were being so very difficult and not listening to my issue. I did feel bad afterwards, but at the time it seemed that going psycho was the only solution.
Cheer up, spring is here and it should warm up *chuckle* Better yet, pour a stiff drink and grab a good book, good off the grid for a while.

Wolfbernz said...

Hi Cheryl,
I know what you mean. The sometimes unavoidable calls to service lines can be so very frustrating, especially when it's you TV and Internet. I love it when you're calling about internet problems and the robot tell you that you can chat online with a tech... freaking idiots. The good news is that you're one making those calls
Clicks for you!

Cheryl P. said...

Wouldn't that be fun...just I nice little flick on their nose to make sure they were listening.

Cheryl P. said...

You are always so sweet, AngelBaby! I have had pretty good luck communicating this time but the problem of getting it taken care of is aggravating. The TV is back on but still having trouble with the phones. Someone else is coming over tomorrow. I am keeping my fingers crossed.

Cheryl P. said...

I totally get where you would have a breaking point. I have had some techs in the past that I just couldn't communicate with. I wouldn't be at all surprised if your point about the electronic menus just being gatekeepers to get rid of the morons isn't the truth of the matter.

Yesterday, it wasn't too bad as far as language barriers but the 100 bucks to have a person switch out their failing equipment about sent me into a rage. I didn't yell per se, but I was curt and firm that I wasn't about to switch out the equipment myself. Someone else is coming tomorrow. They now think that there is a cable that might have a short in it.

Cheryl P. said...

Their insistant harping for everyone to go the the website is irritating, if the customer is calling because their Internet is down. I noticed today there is a recorded message saying if the Internet is not available to use a Smart Phone. That is taking a huge leap that someone wants to take care of a service problem on a Smart phone web site. It seems we are heading for the day that we will never actually talk to people to do any kind of business. Well...except what you do because a web site can't do all the skilled jobs you are capable of. Perhaps you should just direct people over the phone how to remodel a kitchen and then send them a bill.

Cheryl P. said...

I hate the direction that companies have gone for the sake of new money streams. I checked with 2 other cable companies to see if I switched my service, would they send out an installer. Neither of them would. Everything comes to my door in big boxes for me to install...or I can hire someone.

Usually, it's reversed around here...my husband can't get something to work and it will work for me. I think it's pure luck.

This has been a crazy year hasn't it with all the cold weather? I hope you little ones have enjoyed the snow. Our two little grandsons just made a new snowman.

Robyn Engel said...


Are you sure it's a movie you're trying to remember? Because one of the most brilliant episodes of one of the most brilliant TV shows, Twilight Zone, featured a criminal who was shot and ended up in what appeared to be heaven - non-stop booze, gorgeous women ready and willing, etc. It drove him crazy, eventually, and he learned, in the end, that he was in the "other place." That was my all-time favorite episode.

I hope things ease up for you.

Cheryl P. said...

I do remember that Twilight Zone episode...it was brilliant. Twilight Zone could scare the absolute bejeezus out of people.

While I haven't quite figured out the movie, I am not sure that it wasn't part of a conversation in one of George Burn's God movies where he talks about what heaven is like.

Today will be a better day weather wise...some of the snow should start melting AND AT&T is suppose to send another tech today to figure out what's going on. Actually, while I complain and "dramatize" things....when UVerse works it's awesome. Of course the "when" in that sentence is the key word.

Wendy said...

You mean, when you first put on your TV, THAT was the picture on the scene? Yecks, that picture really is scary! So many great comments 'cause we just LOVE it when you post a rant. You say what we all feel. It is also the whole time wasting aspect that gets on my nerves with 1-800, or you call a company and FIRST they must give you a five minutes info-commerical on how great they are, PLUS the web site to get more info, instead of calling. Do they really think that we callers don't know about their web page? Do they really think we would even seriously consider calling 1-800 if we could get our issue solved somehow via their web page? I concur with Riot Kitty, sounds like a Monty Python. Maybe now that your techie issues are solved, you could go do a Monty Python marathon to get your crabby laughed away......( I know I know it won't melt that snow).

oldereyes said...

Oh, Cheryl, you've been reading me long enough to know that this is on my list of most hated things. Since I'm a techie, it also drives me crazy that they won't believe I've done all the things on their online "try this first" list. I usually end up saying I'm doing it again, waiting the appropriate time and saying I did it. And Earthlink, my ISP, is the worst.

I can't say i remember the movie about heaven but I do remember a Twilight Zone in which a mobster found himself in a place where he always won ... got the girl, won the bet ... every pool shot went in ... and decided he was in heaven. By the end of the show he realized he was in fact in hell because there was no joy in winning when you always won.


Linda R. said...

I feel your pain. I usually let my husband handle those situations that I can't solve online. He has more patience with Mr. Robot than I do, and deals better with the "indistinguishable accents".

It usually turns out well enough. In fact, AT&T sent us a new cable modem for when ours died. I forget their reason, but who cares...free is free.

abeerfortheshower said...

I can hook that stuff up easily, I was just more surprised they wanted to UPS you something. You know, because I'm totally cool not having Internet, TV, etc for a day or two. If this is your local cable company, shouldn't they have local units that they can drop off at your house that same day (or you can just pick up)? That's what happens when our cable box went out...

Cheryl P. said...

I could hook it up, given enough time and energy I suppose... it just wouldn't be easy. We have 4 cable boxes, a DVR box, a receiver box, a gateway/modem and a battery back up. My point with AT&T is that they have me paying premium for this set up, along with their Maximum speed Internet and 2 wireless accounts with International plans on them and my hardline house phone . If I was on a direct email to you as opposed to a comment section, I would tell you what my bill is and you would be questioning my sanity.

So my point with them is that for all the money I spend, I want it to work. I want my TV not to be a big black screen with a big red X across it. And when it doesn't work I want them to send a guy in one of their little UVerse trucks over to figure out which one of those above components is the problem. As far as that $99.99 fee to have them do it, pisses me off but I will pay it rather than spend my day trying to figure out why the big red x is there.

I am not entirely sure the AT&T guy knew what the problem was either. So far in the last two days, I got a new DVR, a new battery backup, a new gateway/modem, and all 5 TVs re-networked to the new modem. Of course, then I lost the dial tone on the hardline phone. (in all fairness, he got that working before he left yesterday)

L.C. Griffith said...

Holy Schmolly! You've nailed my feelings about 800 numbers, robot operators, and cable companies. You've also got my blood pressure up. I'm tired and It's past my bedtime but I'm gonna need to read something soothing to calm me down and maybe take a muscle relaxer to get my forehead unwrinkled.
Cheryl, you my dea,r are an amazing writer and reporter and comic all in one. Your hate list is impressive as is your description of hell. Now go take a bubble bath and have a shot of something. You deserve some pampering. Big hugs and then some.