Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Moving, Comcast, customer service and reading books

Where did we get all this stuff? And how do we move it all? (find this image)
Moving is hard. Really hard. Especially for kids. All things considered, we thought we were doing pretty well. But Comcast's customer service made our experience even harder.

At least we got a good chuckle out of it.

I recently moved to Boulder, Colorado from Corvallis, Oregon and was surprised at how much 'stuff' I'd accumulated in my nearly 20 years of marriage. Having lived in the same town for the last 15 years, I was relatively unfamiliar with and unprepared for how much it would take to to pull it off. Despite our best efforts to prepare for and make the move and transition as smooth as possible, I was taken aback at how difficult it was to do this one little thing - cancel our cable television. Maybe The Cable Guy should have prepared me.
Jim Carrey in The Cable Guy

All we had for cable was the most basic of the basic packages. Thirteen bucks a month. That's it. Nothing at all bundled with it. No internet. No cell service. No fancy-dancy channels. No frills. Just the most basic package - the package they don't even list anywhere on the web - the package you have to ask for but doesn't have any name and they hassle you and hassle you and hassle you to get something with more options and more bells and whistles. The most basic of the basic cable.

But we didn't want it anymore. Partly because we were further simplifying our life and budget as we prepared to live in a very expensive town. Partly because we found we simply didn't watch much television. Partly because it was an extravagance we realized we simply didn't need.

But it could NOT have been more difficult to disconnect. We couldn't do it over the internet. We couldn't do it by simply writing CANCEL on our bill. We had to call and talk to somebody. Ok. I like talking to people. Sure. Why not. Except...in all the busyness of moving, it fell through the cracks so my beautiful, beloved bride took it upon herself to ring them to cancel our service. I'm sure she's regretting that decision. Here's why.

You'd think it would be a simple thing, calling to cancel service. One click (maybe two) and you can unsubscribe from unwanted email lists. Writing 'cancel' on magazine subscriptions does the trick. So just asking someone to cancel should be easy, right? Not so much.

First you have to wade through the automated, voice command menus that never seem to correctly interpret what you're saying. Then the lengthy wait for a real person to talk to you (unless you call Apple). After a real person finally does get on the line, you can't simply request for your service to be turned off. You have to listen through an interminable litany of reasons their customer service agent thinks you should keep their service. No thank you. Then you have to listen to all the 'perks' they'll add to your package if you just keep it. We appreciate that, but still no thanks.

Then you have to listen through all the reasons they think it's silly for you to cancel. It's insulting you think trying to make us feel stupid is an acceptable marketing or customer service strategy. No, we're certainly not more inclined now that you've tried insulting and badgering us. Whats that?! What's that?! *sarcasm* Oh NOW you're willing to hear our reasons why we no longer want cable?

At this point - nearly 20 minutes into this call - my usually patient and understanding spouse is starting to get a little miffed and no longer expecting a pleasant nor expedient conversation. But she pulls deep for a little more patience and explains that we simply don't watch much television, that we'd rather spend our time doing other things. The customer service agent, in a pleading and nearly incredulous tone, asks "but what in the world we're going to do in the evenings without television?!"

My sweet spouse's measured response?

"Read books to our children." Silence on the other end of the line. Then she hung up.

That. Was. Awesome!

So is this.

Solidarity, brother. Solidarity.

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