Pinging, pixelating, and pissed off at Comcast.

Because I often work on the weekends, when I have downtime, I watch some non-thinking TV, like when I'm ironing.  Yes, I do iron.

But this was not the case last weekend.  Yes, I did work, and yes I watched TV in my downtime, and no it was not non-thinking TV.  It was the PGA U.S. Open Golf Championship.  I set up the media system to record the event on Saturday and Sunday.  No recording took place.  I didn't get the memo that this was the weekend for my cable box to flake out.

Once I described the symptoms (as in the screen freezing, no earth to TV contact with the remote, and pixels dancing in strange forms) my media expert did remind me that the device is a computer.  Oh.

Because I was working and I didn't have the time to deal with Comcast, I paid him to take on that privilege. So on Monday afternoon, he turned in that cable box and brought back a new one, which was on Comcast's dime (but I pay the monthly fees so it's really on my dime).  He hooked it up, ran through some channels and all was good.

Until it wasn't.  However...when I described the problem the next day (the picture didn't fill the whole screen on certain stations, the TV didn't even get most of the stations) he told me all I needed to do was contact Comcast, tell them it needed pinging and it would be fixed. Oooh kaaay!

Comcast uses call centers...maybe just one.  I don't know where it is.  But with a novice like me trying to explain what a TV is doing, I may as well be the director for a space flight going around the moon - cutting in and out as I'm trying to tell the astronauts what is or is not going on.

First things first.  I called Comcast.  The lady told me how sorry she was that I was experiencing my problem.  Lady, I don't need to you tell me your're sorry...I need you to fix my TV with pinging!  She proceeded to ask me my account number, ask me the new device number for my new cable box, ask me my old device number, and I believe she wanted the first name of my about-to-be grandbaby!

I made two more identical phone calls 90 minutes apart, with exact the same questions they had already asked of me.

Here's an idea!  Why don't they give case numbers to each customer so Comcast workers can get on their computers, and find out (without customer repetition) what the problem is/was?  That would be a great fix! But nooo!

While I was still discussing the issue with the lady, I started pushing some random remote buttons and I fixed it. I was so angry!  And pleased.

But I calmed down.  Now she was upselling me to buy a better cable unit.  It wouldn't cost me anything. Really?  Is this Comcast?  Do you think I'm stupid?  Apparently, yes.  She started calling me by a name I had not been called before.  I calmly asked her my name.  She seriously stumbled.  Ah ha!  I got her!  She was trapped!

"I'm so sorry.  I need to retract my offer to you."  Really?  She repeated herself.  I excused myself.  And I hung up.

Here's what I hate.  These call centers all have the same m.o.'s.
-Profuse apologies.
-Lots of fake empathy.
-Employees who must follow scripts to the tee so they don't listen to the customers.
-Radical assurance - "I will solve this for you."  Wanna bet how long that will take?

At this same time, I had a man over installing new window coverings for me.  He's about my age.  When I hung up the phone, I casually mentioned that if I could get by in this life without dealing with a call center, I might be fit for heaven.  But I'm not.  And I won't.  And he laughed.

I love having the local vendors come over and work to fix my appropriate issues, face to face. Now that's what I call a 'face center'.

It's a very good life lesson for me.  Face time beats fake time.

Live richly.  marilyn


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