Walk into any bar and begin telling a Comcast story. Within minutes it will escalate to violence. Each person topping the next with customer disservice and their loathing of one of our least favorite monopolies.
Everyone has a story. Most have more than one.
Mine began when I naively thought I could move my “service” with just a phone call. The Comcast phone representative said I had, but there is no evidence anywhere that what Comcast says on the phone has anything to do with fact. Taking their box to my new home was easy. Installation occurred when I surprised their installer by out-waiting him. The first bill was prepaid along with the installation fee. The second bill arrived showing that I had a two month credit on my old account and owed two months, plus late fees on my new account. I called and after several long waits and one unexplained hangup, I was reassured it was fixed and all would was fine. Just to make sure, I wrote a letter complete with a diagram showing how to take the money from the credit and apply it with the enclosed check to the new service account. All was quiet. A month later I owed three months and three late fees, but also had three months of credit. I repeated the process of calling, writing and paying. Days passed. On the one hundredth day we hosted a dinner party. It was a lovely evening in the fall. The windows were open to cool breezes. The cocktails were flowing. Many of our best friends were there. It was perfect. Until… it was interrupted by an unrelenting thumb on my doorbell and loud banging on my front door. The music stopped as I opened the door to seemingly perfect silence. The man-boy in the Comcast costume informed me and my guests that he was cutting off the cable. When I asked why, he replied with all the drama and volume he could muster, “because you are a deadbeat and haven’t paid your bill in three months.”
No, the story doesn’t end there. I called Directv and in less than two minutes arranged new service and installation the next day. I placed all the Comcast equipment in a box and drove to the Comcast office. Back then, they only had one in Atlanta. A tiny little place across from the Post Office on West Peachtree. The place was packed. The line snaked back and forth in the queue for the only person at the counter. Everyone was angry. I suppose we were all fortunate that Georgia’s idiotic open carry laws were not yet on the books or there would have been bloodshed. When it was finally my turn, I calmly asked to speak to the manager. Surprised, the agent said it wasn’t possible and she could help. I repeated my request a few times until she pointed to the corner and said that I’d have to just wait. Wait I did. A half an hour so had passed when the manager walked out to me and asked what he could do. I didn’t realize that my blood pressure has spiked such that my voice built from almost normal to a gutteral scream while throwing the box to him, “bend over and stick this cable box up your ass.” Yes, the place exploded in applause as I left. Yes, I know you have better stories, please share them in your comments.
Many of you know that I have been attempting to make a career change. The economy has been particularly unkind to those over 45. Or without a particular compunction for greed. Or not independently wealthy. Or if you’d ever work for a small business. Or had been self-employed. Or experienced. Or could actually do things. I’m damned on all charges. I have been looking for a “job in my vertical” – HR vernacular for almost any job that doesn’t involve being a trainee selling insurance. Since the odds of me even being interviewed, much less hired are less than the mythical college-educated single woman over 40 getting married,* I have also invested (wasted is likely more accurate) a good deal of time imagining new businesses, inventions and products the world is desperately lacking or that next new killer app. Each ideation with its own outlined business plan inevitably concluding a high risk of failure due to inadequate capital.
* In the June 2, 1986 edition of Newsweek titled “Too Late for Prince Charming?” covering the study “The Marriage Crunch,” in which they concluded that a 40-year old single woman was more likely to be killed by a terrorist than marry – a 2.6% chance – 20 years later Newsweek apologized.