Thinking is out of fashion. Brains are dead gray lumps of matter. They have no use, but are merely taking up space inside our skulls. How do I know this?

Last week Charter turned off first our cable box, then, our telephone. Eventually they re-provisioned the telephone and some hours later, they fixed our cable box. Since then, our phone has been wonky. It rings, but when I answer it, there’s just silence. Or I call and I hear someone pick up, but all I hear after that is … nothing.

It’s intermittent. Sometimes, it works, other times, not. And we all know that an intermittent problems is the hardest to pin down.

My best friend and I had a whole afternoon of trying to talk to each other by phone and only because we are both very determined, stubborn women did we finally connect. Her cell phone will not speak to my landline and it doesn’t matter who calls who. Something is broken.

Today, I tried to get an appointment with my oncologist. Not only is it that time of year again, but I have a hard thing in one breast that I need to make sure isn’t serious. I don’t think it is. I think it’s scar tissue. Adhesions, if you like. However, I can’t simply ignore it. I had to make an appointment with my oncologist at Dana-Farber.

No answer at the front desk, so I left a message to call me back. They tried, but could not get through. I called them again, but I couldn’t get through. Eventually, I got through using a different number — and they got back to me using sheer persistence.

With utmost reluctance and trepidation, I realized I was going to have to call Charter. Again. I had no way to know how many calls I had missed. I couldn’t continue to ignore the problem.

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The call went surprisingly well. I got through to an agent in record time … a couple of minutes, even including my usual hostility fueled interface with the robotic telephone interference system. I got a fellow who found my account and quickly ascertained that the phone was not holding the signal after connection. He said there was no point in trying to fix it remotely. He would have to send an actual human technician to see what’s wrong. Holy expletive, Batman! He also said he’d put a note in the record so the tech would know to come even if I didn’t answer the call, being as I wasn’t consistently able to receive calls.

Two hours later, the phone rang. I could see it was Charter Communications, but surprise! Only silence from the other end. I took courage in hand and called them back. After getting a person — navigating the robot was a little more difficult this time — I got a young lady. I explained they had called me and I needed to know why. Eventually, she ascertained that it must have something to do with my appointment with the technician for the day after tomorrow.

I said, yes, indeed. Our phone was only intermittently able to receive calls, which is why we needed the technician. She explained that the technician’s have to call to confirm the appointment, or they won’t come. I took a deep breath and pointed out that the guy who is coming is the telephone technician whose job it is to fix broken phone service. And that there should be notes to that effect in my file.

She averred that this was true. She said she would try to make sure that the technician — THE TELEPHONE REPAIR TECHNICIAN — understood that OUR PHONE ISN’T WORKING PROPERLY and he could not rely on getting telephone call through to us.

“Do you have an alternate phone number?” she asked.

“Not really,” I replied.

“Because he will need to call you.”

“The phone is broken. He’s the phone technician. Don’t you think he should be able to put these two pieces of information together? Wouldn’t that suggest that calling me might not work out?”

“I suppose,” she said, tentatively. I could hear the doubt in her voice. She wasn’t entirely clear on how these separate pieces of information were related.

“Seriously, just tell him to come. Don’t call. Just show up. I promise, on my honor, we will be here. I cannot promise the phone will ring, or if it rings, that I will hear anything when I answer it. Because that’s the problem. That’s why he’s coming. That’s what he is supposed to fix.”

And that’s where we left it. Is it me? Am I expecting too much? Shouldn’t the guy coming to fix the phone be able to deduce that there’s a problem — some kind of malfunction — involving the telephone. Their telephone service. Ergo ipso, calling to confirm the appointment might not work out?

Are they putting something in the water? The air? Is this one of the effects of global climate change, the stupidization of humanity?

Categories: Communications, Customer Service, Humor, Technology

Tags: , , , , ,

33 replies

  1. I like the thing where your internet won’t work so they suggest you to contact them. Via the internet.


    • The electric company does that too. If you power is out, you can get them on the Internet. They don’t see the connection between “power” and “computer” and “internet.” Stupidization in action.


  2. Ugh. I hate Charter. We had them at the last place I lived. They disconnected my Internet twice working on someone else’s service and tried to charge me for technician visits. I raised hell.


    • They really ARE awful, but they are literally the only game in this town. Our town fathers made a deal with them, so we can’t even get FIOS … and DirectTV is useless because of the trees. I can hardly wait for the day when i can tell them to go screw themselves. It will be a full day — maybe a week — of celebration!


  3. When this happens to me, I go on social media and publicly raise hell. This once resulted in the electric company coming to fix a connection on a Thanksgiving day. It resulted in my getting a refund from an airline. It resulted in the large independent book store in Denver waiving one of their rules (book must be published 3 months before 2/2017 when their local authors program reopens after being shut down for a year) and asking to read my book. Public humiliation is the way to go.


  4. Sounds like Catch 22.


    • So we are on the way back from the doctor (everything seems to be okay) and stop at the grocery store to pick up something for dinner. Not a lot of stuff. Some boneless pork, a nice piece of Canadian salmon, a bag of onions, some fresh green beans, a jug of fresh lemonade, and half a loaf of garlic bread. At the checkout counter, we give them our bags, one thermal and one regular.

      The bagger, who isn’t a kid but an actual adult male who does not seem, at first glance, to be developmentally challenged, ignores the bags and puts everything into plastic bags … and leaves them it all on the counter. Garry looks at me. I look back. I can read his mind. He can read mine.

      Garry puts everything into the bags, quietly shaking his head.

      Stupidization. No matter how simple it appears on the surface, it is too complicated for most people. This now includes bagging groceries.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. stupidization……Marilyn, this has to be my new all-time favorite word. I’ll call you later to see if the phone guy arrived. 😀


  6. So they can only come and fix the phone if it’s already working. Awesome 🙂


    • Even after I explained it, the lady on the phone sounded dubious. I don’t think she could see the connection between the need for a telephone tech and that the phone wasn’t working. These are the people we encourage to vote.

      Liked by 1 person

    • I did a stint as a technician in a recording studio, for a year, and we would often get a call from one of the recording techs that something was wrong with a tape machine, or monitor amplifier. We immediately grabbed a tool box, but made sure we entered the studio with a screw driver in hand. Suddenly what ever was broken would begin to work again.., as if by magic, or better still, intimidation. So yeah.., no point in running out to fix the phone unless it’s working already. I know, I know.., I don’t understand it either, but it was standard procedure.., and it worked (Twilight Zone theme here). One chief tech I knew would place a malfunctioning amplifier on a shelf in the shop for a week, after which, when put back in use, it would work. He called it “shelf curing,” I saw it as the tech equivalent of “go stand in the corner until you learn to behave.”

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yes. It’s the same mystical process that makes all your symptoms vanish when you finally get to the doctor’s office. Except they seem to come back the moment you get home. Garry calls it “the big tease” 🙂


  7. We are lucky with our telephone system. There are various private alternatives, but we are still with the Swiss national service and it words ok with me. There only problem is that they sometimes mess up the billig system, because of the non-human touch, but I can call them easily. Hope your examination goes OK.


    • About 40 years ago, the courts broke up AT&T’s monopoly on telephones and it’s been downhill since. Sure, telephones are cheaper, but real landlines — the ones that work even if the power is out — are very hard to get and expensive. So you are stuck with either a cable-based line or cellular. We have both VOIP and a cell phone, but service isn’t very good in our area. Not great choices.

      I hope tomorrow goes well too. I’m counting on this being just a lump of hard scar tissue. I’m not ready for another medical crisis.


  8. I hope it’s only scar tissue…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Me too. I’ve been trying to avoid dealing with this, but I ran out of avoidance a few days ago. I had to decide whether to go with my new doctor’s team or stay with the people I’ve been with for the past 7 years. I decided to stay with Dana-Farber. They have all my records and right now, continuity of care matters to me. I really think it’s nothing, but I need to confirm it. It’s probably nothing. Fingers crossed.

      Liked by 2 people

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