Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Snapshot of an Addict

At this moment, I’m sitting in my car in the pitch black, half-way down my long driveway, mooching internet off a neighbor. I have, in the past 36 hours, stood here, jumping on one leg and batting away the mosquitoes that hover around me like they know my blood sugar is high, just in an effort to download my emails onto my itouch. Occasionally I’m ashamed I’ve yelled at the itouch: “Download, you stupid emails!! Download!” It’s times like this I wish I’d gone ahead and admitted my addiction and gone for the full-blown iphone with connectivity anywhere.

I am here because yesterday morning, our neighbors (from whom I’m mooching) had Comcast come bury a cable that had been lying across our driveways for four months. When they arrived, instead of waiting for the guy who, as is required by law, comes to mark all power and telephone lines, they dug huge ditches anyway. And snipped our lines in three places. And as we have DSL, no telephone means no internet.

They shrugged and told me to call the phone company, which I did. Of course, I couldn’t call on my phone line because that was dead. And my cell phone battery was nearly dead as well. So I had to plug my cell phone into an outlet. This wouldn’t be a big problem, except that we live in the woods and there are only a few spots where we get phone reception in the house. None of those spots are near an outlet.

So I call on the almost dead cell phone with spotty reception, and go through a 15 minute computerized answering service that tries to diagnose a problem I could tell live person in 2 seconds. The computerized voice tells me that if I wish to speak to a representative, I can say “agent” at any time.

The conversation with the computerized person went something like this:

CP: If you’d like to speak to a representative, you can say “agent” at any time. Is your phone receiving a dial tone?

Me: Agent.

CP: I don’t understand. Would you like us to run diagnostics on your phone line?

Me: Agent

CP: Running Diagnostics.

Me: Agent! Agent!

CP: I don’t understand. Running diagnostics. Just a minute more.


CP: I can’t tell if the problem is in your phone or in the phone lines. Is there more than one phone in the house?


CP: I don’t understand.

Me: hanging up now.

I call back. It only takes me yelling agent four times before the computer finally says, “I think you said you wish to speak to a representative; is that correct?”

So I get the representative who isn’t particularly friendly and tells me since Comcast did the damage I won’t be responsible for the charges to fix the lines (at which part I start seriously rolling my eyes at her) and that they can come out in three days.

At which point I nearly fall apart. I’m pretty sure I sounded like a drug addict when I panick-ly tell her I can’t possibly go without internet for three days.

When I finally calm down and realize no amount of crying and begging is going to get someone here any faster, she finishes getting the information and then says, “So the technician will call you when he’s on his way. Is this account number the best one to reach you at?

Me: Ummmm….no. The account number has no dial tone. The phone lines are snipped. Remember?

Her: Oh, well, then, shall we send you an email?

Me: NO!! I can’t get internet, remember? Thus my previous meltdown!

Her: Oh. Well, they’ll be there when they get there, okay?

Me: Okay. I’ll be home… standing in the middle of the driveway mooching wireless from my neighbor and smelling of bug spray.

Her: Okay. Have a nice day.

So, dear blogging buddies, I haven’t see your posts or written back to your lovely emails, but I am hoping tomorrow it will all be better.

In the meantime, I’m getting monstrous amounts done since I’m not on the Internet. I’m not happy about it, but I’m getting it done.


  1. This was funny. But still, oh poor you!

  2. I can totally picture this.

    sounds like you got more help out of the computer than the live person.

  3. Don't you love people that work at companies like that? I mean, they REALLY think outside the box when they need to actually give a real answer. That's horrible, and I'm sorry. It's funny that this happened to you today. I just had a french drain placed in our yard today, but our diggers minded the lines. I did, however, once have a plumber come to our very old house to fix some pipes, and he ended up BUSTING a pipe which leaked into our downstairs and tried to get me to sign a waiver that said he wasn't responsible. The nerve. Lucky I have brains, well some brains. When you get your internet back you can read my very long comment.

  4. Oh yes - we have ALL had that conversation with that all too perky voice saying, "I'm not sure if I understand you..."

  5. Hello there!

    I work for Comcast. I can reach out to my local colleagues to see is we can send someone out ASAP. You can contact me (I hope you can still get connections from your neighbor's)and provide your account info at the email provided below.

    Sorry for the trouble.

    Mark Casem
    Comcast Corp.
    National Customer Operations

  6. First, I have to say that Mark here has restored my faith in customer service.

    When I usually get the run around on a phone line at a big company, I hit 0 a lot....and I've been known to say cuss words. But that's only because I was told the computer recognizes it as an irate customer and forwards me sooner. Not sure if it works. But usually, they send me through to a person, to whom I am always courteous and nice to. I'd never cuss out a real person, just the computer wasting my time.

    Glad you're back online!

  7. Yes... I do appreciate Mark and the effort at good customer service. If only Comcast laid telephone wires I'd be set. :)

    Unfortunately they don't, so I had to wait for Verizon, who could only lay temp cables because the Comcast people went at my telephone lines with great gusto in several places.

    I survived anyway. Barely. :)

  8. I so get this. I've been frustrated by those automated answering 'people.' I usually hit zero to see if it bypasses and gets me a real agent. But that doesn't always work! Sounds like the real ones are not always better than the automated, though! Hope it is fixed soon for you!