Friday, December 11, 2009

Eastbound And Down

My apologies for the lack of new posts, but I was experiencing internet issues...and by issues I mean I had no connectivity. Apparently, the modem Comcast provided me decided to stop working during the early afternoon and into the evening. Internet connectivity would reestablish itself after 10pm, but I'll be honest here...I'm normally fast asleep by 10pm because I am up at 5:15am every morning (I sleep in until 6:30 on weekends).

Anyhoo, I needed a new modem, which begat drama with my mama. After nearly a week of spotty internet connectivty, I finally contacted Comcast to dispatch a tech. An appointment was scheduled for the next day, which happened to be the day my mom watches the girls. Since I am a working man and am saving my PTO for the week of Christmas, I didn't want to take the afternoon off. So, I asked the Customer Service Rep to have the tech call me at work before arriving at my house. The reason for this was simple - I needed to be able to alert my mom that the tech was on the way if it coincided with the time she picks my oldest daughter up from school. We would then ask our neighbor, who was on standby if the tech would arrive at that time, to escort my 6 year old home from class...but the neighbor needed to know by 3:00pm as she had an appointment..she would be late for her appt if we needed her, but if not she was going to leave on time.

Of course, 3:00pm arrives, the neighbor takes off, and my mom prepares to pick up Maddy from school. As she was loading up the car with my 3 year old and 18 month old girls AND my sister's 3 year old boys (they are visiting from Alaska), a Comcast truck pulls up. My mom told the tech the situation and asked if she could wait a few minutes (picking up Maddy takes 10 minutes tops since the school is so close, but no way am I letting my 6 year old walk home unescorted) while she picked up Maddy and was told, 'Absolutely not, I don't get paid to wait.' Yes, well.

The night before I had prepared a document detailing the nature of the outage, the times it seemed to occur, that only internet service was impacted, if diagnostics could be run from the street drop to the house, etc. Again my mom asked if the tech could review what I wrote and troubleshoot from the outside while she drove to get my daughter. She was met with another, 'No, you have to reschedule.' as the tech walked back to her truck. As a last resort, my mom asked if the tech could at least call me, and the tech refused, but she must have felt somewhat guilty as my mom was coralling 4 kids into her SUV because she asked where the modem was. The tech ran into the office, saw the modem was working, and told my mom I'd have to call back if it was an issue later that night, and took off.

Now, what's missing from the above, besides the pre-arrival phone call from the tech, was the fact that the tech was beyond rude to my mom. Being short with someone is one thing, and I can sort of understand the tech's position. What the technician didn't need to do was act in an aggressive manner. My mom is a tough customer, I've witnessed her stare down overzealous Mexican federal police angling for bribes on trips to Mexico. It takes a lot to get under her skin, but when she called me near tears to tell me what happened...well, let's just say Comcast Customer Service is lucky I was heading to a meeting...otherwise I would have torn into the first person that picked up at their 800 number.

When I got home that evening we of course had no internet connectivity. Now, The Better Half's new job requires her being on call at night, and that requires an internet connection, so this is more than just not being able to jump on Facebook and WoW. She works for law enforcement and if their laptops are down while out in the field, they need to be able to contact their techs to assist them. It's kind of important that we have connectivity.

I called Comcast, didn't go into Hulk mode, and spoke with a nice rep named Bob. This rep scheduled another tech and placed in the work order that I needed to be called before arrival because the appointment was scheduled at the same time Maddy needed to be taken to school. I was going to leave instructions with our nanny concerning our internet problems, but at the last moment decided to wait for the tech myself (taking the time off without pay so I can take Christmas Eve off). This time everything went smooth as called ahead, he eliminated potential reasons for the connectivity issues one by one, and at the end of it all determined that it was just the modem causing so much grief. He replaced the modem and we haven't had an issue since.

Now, this is NOT a rant against Comcast. They have been nothing but good to me over the last 15 months. This modem issue was the first time we have dealt with an extended outage in that time frame. However, I am thinking that the first tech they dispatched was one of those bastard contractor mercenaries from Prince Telecom, and in my experience, nothing ever goes right the first time with them. They get paid by the job, so they are always in a hurry and wanting to move on and usually leave a mess of cable behind and issues to be resolved later. If it wasn't a Prince Telecom contractor, then here's hoping I never run into that 1st don't show up at my house and behave rudely to my mom....that's unacceptable even if company policy is that you can't wait. Be nice. That's all she had to do...well, that and make a FARGIN PHONE CALL before showing up as requested. All of this would have been avoided with one phone call....

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