JUST THE WAY IT GOES — Marilyn Armstrong

I honestly thought when I finished dealing with the medical stuff that I was done with my days of customer care. It never occurred to me that I was going to be doing it again the very next day.

There is definitely an epidemic of pathetic customer service. It really isn’t the fault of the service people. They don’t know what they should know because they have not gotten sufficient training. Not only that, but they aren’t paid particularly well, so they’re mostly working at entry-level wages, they are young, and poorly trained. Is it any wonder that they struggle to answer questions that aren’t “typical” questions?

Tom, the television, and Remy

We got — my son got us — a new Roku for the bedroom. It was working, but it’s also four-years-old and a lot has changed since it was installed. In particular, the remote is much better and does a lot more than the old one. It controls sound, turns the entire system on and off. This remote unit does everything you can expect it to do, including (supposedly) work by voice. I don’t use the voice function because they never understand me and I’ve just given up.

So Owen plugged it in for me because I’ve shrunk. When I installed it last time, I was at least an inch taller. Now I can’t reach it. I used to be more-or-less a normal height for women, but the average height of female persons has gone up. I have not.

Then my spine sort of crunched itself together and over the past 10 years, I’ve lost 3 more inches. In total? Four and a half inches, which is a lot when you were only 64.5 inches at full height. I’m glad my son is tall. He certainly didn’t get it from me.

So I started to set up YouTubeTV, which is our primary source of entertainment. We also have Netflix, Acorn, and Hulu, plus the free versions of History, PBS, and some others that we never watch. I’d really like to get HBOGO and CBS-Pay-to-Play (that’s not what they call it, but it’s what I call it). But HBO is $16 a month and CBS is another six or seven (I’m sure it’ll go up). It all adds up to a pretty big number. The only reason I have HULU (the least expensive channel) because they carry “Orville” which I love so much, I have to have it. Acorn is also not expensive. It was originally $50 a year and this year, I think it’s going up to $60. Which is still inexpensive.

Of course, Charter has raised the price of streaming services, so now we pay more for streaming — without cable or telephone — than we used to pay for cable, telephone, and computers.

Why not? They’ve got a monopoly and we have no choice about where we get our service. Charter is the only ISP in this area and for most central and western Massachusetts. They are awful. If there’s something wrong with the signal, I will wait until I really can’t see anything or make the computer work before I call them.

I signed into YouTubeTV. I followed the same rules I used the last time I set it up. The TV wouldn’t work, though it showed up beautifully on my Mac. Swell.

A wide look …

I turned it off, unplugged it, and tried again. Half a dozen attempts to fix it later, I called for help.

The guy on the other end said he would have to “escalate” the incident since I’d already done everything he could suggest. I said “NO NO NO.” I was done with spending my life waiting for or arguing with Customer Service.

He said they’d get back to me by the end of the day. Since they are in California (Redmund, naturally), I asked what that meant since I live by Eastern Standard time and it was already 2:35 pm. “Are they going to call me on my time? Three in the morning? What time is ‘by the end of the day’?” He couldn’t answer me. I suspect no one had ever asked him what “end-of-day” meant for the east coast. Time change confuses many people.

Oh, and Tier 2 couldn’t call me. It would arrive as an email. Not to worry, though. They work 24 hours a day. Except that I’m not awake 24 hours a day.

I pointed out that I’d have to sit up waiting for the email and meanwhile, I’d have to explain to my husband that there was no television … and he was very likely to be very unhappy while I was already more than a slightly annoyed, so could I please talk to a supervisor?

Suddenly, a few moments later, I got a set of instructions. I followed them. Voila, they worked. Amazing, eh? No Tier 2 escalation. No emailed instruction in the middle of the night. No having to explain to Garry why there were no movies. Garry is very dedicated to late-night old movies he knows I won’t watch.

I said “Thank you,” and hung up. Then I had to sign onto all the other channels, which took another hour, give or take a few minutes. Total time? About 3.5 hours. Maybe a little more.

I can’t even imagine what else I could possibly need to do tomorrow that would land me on another customer service line, but these days, who knows? Once you get on a roll, you keep on rolling until you hit the bottom of the mountain.

Categories: #Photography, Computers, Customer Service, Marilyn Armstrong, Movies, old movies, Wi-Fi

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37 replies

  1. Manhole Explosions! That got my attention. The only thing worse than crappy customer service is walking over an exploding manhole…


    • Hey, Squirrel.

      Back when I wuz on “The Dawn Patrol” TV News shift, the suit/s rushed me from a stale ‘last night ” triple homocide to a “fresh” manhole explosion that was annoying people. I tried to argue news judgement on stories and LOST. Suit envisoned great visuals LIVE. By the time we got to the scene, the manhole explosion was dead and we were left with poofs of smoke. I did my live report, emphasizing the danger of the manhole explosion as the camera zoomed into the thinning poofs of smoke. Somebody must’ve heard a crew member laughing on a live mic. Wasn’t me.

      Back at the triple homocide, the story was moving with the usual suspects apprehended. It was a gangland hit and I had some sources. But who cared?

      In my 31 years at the Boston station, we zipped to maybe 15 or 20 manhole explosions with great expectations of scaring the bee-jezus out of viewers.
      Squirrel, those manhole explosions are there and gone –faster than bad hombres ravaging villages along the border.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Weouw…. education lessons by Marilyn. Another new word learned: ROKU. As a European without a TV, this really doesn’t concern me in the least but as somebody who has to deal with ‘customer service’ from time to time, I can at least commiserate on that level. My son, when much younger, went for a 2yr or so ‘stunt’ to work for the customer service of our national monopolistic phone-tv-network provider. He was getting regular training courses but was in a constant battle with his employers because he spent too much time trying to REALLY help the callers. He also pee’d off a few of them by telling them that if they couldn’t control their outpouring of abuse he’d just cut them off (how I would have loved to hear him doing that) and after said time he HAD to leave because he couldn’t take it any longer (from both sides).
    I’m just glad things are working for you now and hope they’ll do that w/o more phone intervention. You DID get what you wanted and that’s good, isn’t it?!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, but the kid was under-trained. And it really ISN’T fair to make this one kid take the heat. It was the company that didn’t train him that deserved to take it. But of course, it always falls on the bottom of the pyramid.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. It does puzzle me how the town authority can restrict which ISP’s are available. Do they refuse permission for any others to set up towers? We’re spoiled for choice of providers although there are only three carriers and the others piggyback off their infrastructure. Telstra, the semi government-owned entity has the monopoly but Optus is catching up and Vodaphone which used to be useless is said to be improving. I keep saying I’ll move away from Telstra because they are not the cheapest but their customer service is OK. Every time I’ve had to call them they have sorted out my problem and I had internet up and running here at the new house within a few days. They sent a new modem but I was able to connect with the one I had as soon as I unpacked it. Just as well too because there is only one cable connected to the TV antenna that works and it is not where the TV is so no free to air TV at present. I missed the last cricket Test Match but apart from that, I’m not missing much as I mostly watch Prime, Netflix, YouTube or the free to air catch up channels which are streamed. Unfortunately, they don’t stream sports. I could subscribe to a sports streaming channel as I did during the winter but I don’t really want to spend the money right now. I didn’t miss it as much as I once would have.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes. Personally, I suspect bribery and other “perks” are involved. I can’t PROVE it, but essentially one family runs the town — not an unusual situation for a small town and they do whatever they want pretty much.

      Liked by 1 person

      • That’s always a problem in small towns. In the Huon, a council area made up of 5 towns and various other townships the place seemed to be controlled by real estate developers until recently. Never a good thing in my opinion as they put their business interests ahead of what is best for the community.


    • Tas, you ain’t missing much. The baseball channel guys are babbling about the SAME rumored deals. They YELL when they think they’re losing you. They YELL a lot these days.

      How about Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, Gary Sanchez and 5 million US dollars cash for Babe Ruth and a PTBNL?


  4. We have Comcast (xfinity) out here. They’re not bad and my plan includes access to Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Hulu. I haven’t watched The Orville, but I may have to give it a try.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I’m still upset they cancelled Firefly. I thought it was brilliant. I agree though, trying to deal with service providers can be a nightmare!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. We have huge issues with service providers here too, Marilyn.


  7. I turned off the satellite, and now only watch Prime TV (free – well theoretically). I have Hulu and Netflix and can watch neither on my ‘old’ TV (it was bought in 2015 and to me? That’s NOT OLD!), but I can get both on my computer (if I want to sit in my office chair and have grumpy dogs because they can’t both sit on my lap)…I gave up about the Customer Service idea for almost anything. Of course there are times when one can’t avoid it, but I usually come away from any such conversation with a sour mood and stomach. So not worth it. It’s also painful because I used to do that job (in conjunction with other hats that I’d wear) and I know how it ought to be done…and today? They just don’t do the job well, as you pointed out. Hang in there, at least today maybe you won’t have to deal with some underpaid, resentful twerp who just wants to have work be over and get back to their i-phone. 😐

    Liked by 1 person

    • I need to be able to relax. So does Garry. TV is made for that. Since you have WiFi and a TV, all you need is a ROKU or even a streaming stick — both cheap — and you can use them on any TV. MY bedroom TV is at LEAST 6-years old and the new ROKU (just bought it a couple of days ago) fits fine. You do NOT need a smart TV and frankly, the ROKU works better anyway. You MUST have Wi-Fi or you couldn’t use your computer. There’s tons of stuff available and most of it is cheap. The only reason we get YouTubeTV is baseball. You have lots of choices. You do NOT need either a new TV OR satellite OR a “smart” TV.


  8. Oh Marilyn, we just got our phone/cable/internet bill and it has doubled. So I have to do battle once again with Bell. Not looking forward to that.


  9. customer service, there was a time you could ask the neighbors, a lot of TV going on, enjoy your day Marilyn

    Liked by 1 person

    • This was just a glitch. As soon as I got instructions on how to fix it, everything was fine. It was working, but it wasn’t accepting it on the television, just the computer. But now it works perfectly.


  10. I love The Orville, too!

    Liked by 1 person

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