Yesterday I had another interesting experience with our internet service provider.
Extreme anger (chiefly used for humorous or rhetorical effect).
“he hid his pipe for fear of incurring his father’s wrath”
Synonyms: anger, rage, fury, outrage, spleen, vexation, (high) dudgeon, crossness, displeasure, annoyance, irritation; More
In all honesty I have to say that we are a bit spoiled when it comes to reliability. The car start when we turn the key, the furnace runs by itself and keeps our house warm, and the refrigerator just seems to work. When they do not work we usually feel betrayed and outraged at the inconvenience. Systems fail from time to time, and I completely understand that machines have a life cycle. Also people make mistakes, accidents happen, I understand. Believe me. I also understand customer service. When it comes to reliability our internet service provider, Comcast, is usually quite good. We magically have internet service to our home and we generally have no issues. Except about once or twice a year when the payment for our Cable bill is late by, oh say, fifteen minutes. Then the company assigns its ‘Wrath Department’ to fuck with us the best they can.
Imagine buying a car and driving it around for a month. Then if your payment is a few moments late the ignition switch stops working. Then when you pay the bill, you have to call customer support to get instructions on how to reset the car, in order to get the ignition switch to work again. When it still doesn’t work an hour or two later you call again only to be told that the car dealer upgraded your car while it was off and you need to buy another part to get it running. That’s essentially what happened yesterday with Comcast.
We woke up on Sunday morning and everything was good and right with the world. I checked my e-mail while my lovely wife watched the news streaming over the internet. We did some house cleaning and a little shopping, and when we came back our internet connection wasn’t working. I asked my lovely wife if she paid the Comcast bill, she checked and since it wasn’t the end of the month quite yet she hasn’t paid it. But she did so over the phone, just to cover the next month. We waited a half hour or so and nothing. I reset the cable modem, the wireless router, etc… Still nothing. So we called Comcast.
The customer support person said that the system isn’t talking to our cable modem because they upgraded their system and it doesn’t support our old DOCSIS 2.0 modem. Since we own our own modem and do not rent one from Comcast we would need to buy a DOCSIS 3.0 modem. Because my wife and I both work from home time to time, we absolutely have to have internet connectivity at home. So off we go to best buy to get a new modem. Of course there are a wide ranges of modems with lots of bells and whistles. We chose the one with the Xfinity logo on it because I expect Comcast blaming whatever failure we expect to experience on the modem. I imagine my response will be something like: “But there is an Xfinity logo on the fucking box”. Anyway we get home and plug the thing in and boot it up.
My wife called Comcast to tell them we bought a new cable modem and give them the MAC address and serial number so they could make the connection. It failed. They could not connect to the modem, but said to give it some time because sometimes it takes some time. Or something to that effect. So we had dinner and relaxed for a while, tried to calm down a bit at having to spend $75.00 for a modem that we didn’t know we needed, to solve a problem that probably didn’t exist.
An hour later nothing. So we called Comcast back and described our frustration in the nicest language possible. This is why my lovely wife was still on the phone. I didn’t trust myself to make the call. In the end they said that they would have to send a service tech over to our house. I was close to losing it. She set up an appointment for Wednesday (my mid-week day off). So it looked like we would be out of service for a few days until some tech came out to our house and did exactly what the guy on the phone was doing, but with probably better English skills. I decided to check out the cable to make sure that our dog didn’t chew up the coax, or something. Due to our upcoming move, and we just don’t watch television, I had to unpack our TV and cable box to test out the system. Sure enough the cable works just fine, just not the internet connection. Harrumph. I guess we just wait.
That night we had a storm blow through with winds around 65mph. I knew the power went off then back on again because I had to turn on the coffee maker myself. Poor me. However, the power cycling did give me an idea. I got out my iPad and clicked the Safari icon. Yep, our internet connection works again.
Not sure what happened over the course of the night to magically fix the issue, but I suspect that either the customer support person over the phone was clueless, the power outage reset the Comcast equipment, or the call was transferred to the Comcast Wrath Department. Were they just fucking with us the whole time? Was this their subtle way to make sure that we understood just exactly what happens when their payment is a few hours late?
Back to being spoiled by reliability. Sure I expect stuff to run as designed, and I also know that mistakes happen, stuff breaks, and technology has to be upgraded. However, why is it so hard for Comcast to simply send us an automated e-mail when our bill is coming due with a gentle reminder like, “Please pay your fucking bill or we will sick the Wrath Department on you and make your life a living hell. You have thirty seconds to comply” Or, how about an e-mail that says “Hey, we are upgrading our network and you need to buy another modem or your service will mysteriously stop working, and just for fun we will make the switch at the same time as your bill comes out so we have options in making the transition more painful. Oh, and we are the ISP in town, so suck it.
Welcome to the Wrath Department, how can we fuck with you today?