Sunday, April 18, 2021

Customer Non-Service #2...

 "Even your most-loyal customers always have a choice of where to take their business..." -- Marilyn Suttle, "Who's Your Gladys: How to Turn Even the Most Difficult Customer into Your Biggest Fan"

Score a shit point for Verizon this week.

Actually, we can score two shit points for Verizon this week.

The Overlords are customers of Verizon FiOS, which, when working, is perhaps the best cable-telephone-internet package available anywhere in America. Generally speaking, Verizon kicks the ever-loving crap out of all the other options we've had -- Optimum, Spectrum (formerly Time-Warner), or Dish, 

"Dish" turns out to be a well-earned moniker, for all the issues and petty nonsense surrounding it, that great big metal thing on your roof is only suitable for feeding a dog from.

But, I digress...

The problem began last Sunday when the Overlords awoke to no cable television, no telephone service and no internet connection which makes me extremely nasty.

With no other forms of entertainment to provide distraction this means Mrs. Overlord will insist on talking to me. The subjects of her conversation are typically limited to "What She Wore on June 21, 1987" (and how good she looked in it. The woman has a remarkable memory for detail on shit like this, but can't remember her own fucking telephone number), stories I've heard nineteen million times that all begin with "One time..." or "I remember when...", shoes, linens, furniture, trivets (I did not know what a fucking trivet was until I was regaled with rousing tales of finding them on sale, and a set for every holiday, too!) and other trivialities which hold as much fascination for me as watching grass grow or paint dry would.

I love Mrs. Overlord dearly, but I don't wish to be subjected to hours of inane chatter issued solely because silence bothers her above all other things. If you let her, she'd talk the hind leg off a donkey. In Seinfeld-ian fashion, i.e. -- about nothing. For Fuck's Sake, pick up a book, Woman!

But that's my cross to bear.

So. we call Verizon customer service to resolve this issue and to prevent my having to commit suicide for all the blather, only to be told that a technician could not be dispatched until the following day. This is, mind you, after you've spent 15 minutes wrestling with Verizon's "Automated Service Menu" and you've finally been connected to a "Technician" who will ask you to reboot everything in the house, which you've already done twice with no results.

And speaking of these phone-line "technicians" you can tell them exactly what the problem is (I know because this is sorta-kinda related to my business) so as to skip all the nonsense and get someone on the problem ASAP, but it does not matter. These idiots don't actually KNOW what you're talking about and are following a script. The script will be followed -- perhaps on pain of death -- to the letter, even if doing so will prove as fruitless as asking AOC to utter a coherent sentence.

So, after going through the motions and arriving at exactly the same point as we began, only 45 minutes later, the "technician" schedules an appointment with another "technician" in the field who will not arrive for 24 hours.

Thank Science the DVD was still working, because it saved the police the trouble of investigating a murder-homicide on a weekend.

The "field technician" arrives the following morning. He begins by examining the equipment inside the house, which I've told him is already functioning because I've tested it all, already. No matter, Must Follow The Script.

After wasting more of my time going through the useless performance of pretending to work, he tells me the problem "must be" at "the box" on the telephone pole around the corner.

No Shit, Sherlock. I could have told you that. In fact, I did.

Thirty minutes later, he returns to tell me that someone -- another field technician who was working in the area Saturday night -- had disconnected the Overlords from The System and neglected to re-connect us. What makes this especially difficult to correct is that "the paperwork" -- upon which the techs are supposed to record where individual cables are and where they've been moved to -- is about as accurate as any estimate of the cost of ObamaCare. These guys are lazy and don't do paperwork, and so they have to improvise and guess when confronted by something left undocumented.

Our service was restored, but within a few hours a new problem arose.

The video on television becomes choppy and pixelated; the audio cuts out; scenes repeat or skip.

Resetting the equipment in the house does not correct the issue, so the Overlord does some of that IT Guy shit and breaks out a handy tool that measures the strength of a beam of light being sent down a fiber optic cable. The light levels are inconsistent; they rise, they fall, there is no rhyme or reason wherefore or thereof.

The problem, then, is that the signal being sent is inconsistent which causes the cable box to ask for a retransmission of data that has either been lost, garbled or received out of sequence. All of this takes time which you typically would not notice because it's all happening at light speed. If you're noticing it, then something is seriously wrong because your cable box is constantly having to ask for a retransmission multiple times every fraction of a second. This causes delays; these delays add up, and eventually, you get a shitty picture, no or inconsistent audio, pixilation, and choppy video.

This tells me the "field technician" didn't check the light levels before he left, or if he did so he figured borderline was "good enough" and left after neglecting to fill in HIS paperwork.

Now, the Overlord has a bag of tricks to work around this problem which I will not detail here: it's complex and possibly illegal. Suffice to say, it works. After a fashion. For three days we had perfect television, internet and telephone service.

And then it started pooping out again, and because the Overlord does not have the time to do the "customer service dance" with an annoying automated female voice and seven or eight foreigners working off a script, I've just repeated my trick a couple of times until I could find the time to make another "service" call.

This morning required four trips to the basement just to shut Mrs. Overlord up, and then I had had it UP TO HERE. She is capable of this annoying whine I refer to as "The Dog Whistle" which registers somewhere between high-end whale song and high-speed-turbine-running-with-bad-bearings, and sets the neighborhood dogs to barking and sends dangerous levels of vibrations through every window pane in the house.

Naturally, SHE can't be bothered to call Verizon and make a service call because she finds a ready-made excuse in disability. She can dial a phone, but won't. She could describe the problem to the automated whore and the illegal alien with a script, but won't. I could tell her exactly what to say -- even write it down for her -- and the process is somehow an ordeal for her, at which point the Dog Whistle kicks in and I have to do it, if only to retain my sanity.

She's the one using the television all day -- I reserve my TV time for hockey games -- who can't live without it.

Of course, you have to sit through the automated messages again -- which get longer with every iteration, as Verizon has to tell you everything they're doing to "fight COVID-19", and about all the wonderful new services you don't want, and to "verify account information" which makes no sense, because I wouldn't be calling you if I didn't have a fucking problem and you already HAVE the information.

Eventually, you get Elroy from Venezuela on the phone, for whom English might as well be a third language, never mind a second. You tell Elroy exactly what the problem is, what needs to be done to resolve it, and he ignores you. He goes right to his script, resets the box remotely four times, we have no fucking signal, whatsoever.

Good job.

He now wants me to download an app that will allow him to use my cell camera in order to see the cable box. I tell him to go fuck an ostrich.

We now require another "field technician" to be sent out. Which is exactly what I fucking asked for 35 fucking minutes ago, fucking Elroy.

Which means another 24 hour wait, because Sunday.

So I tell Elroy to schedule the appointment -- which means I have to sit around the house for a specific four hour block tomorrow, Heaven forbid I have a fucking life -- so the new asshole on site can do exactly what the first asshole did. If and when he arrives, I'm going to tell him exactly what to fix so that he doesn't have to guess and them I'm not letting him leave until I get steady light signal and Mrs. Overlord can watch every DVR'ed episode of the Big Bang Theory, or Dr. Pimple Popper, or 2,000,000 game shows or Mama Mia for the eleventh time this week, to her fucking heart's content, and leave me alone to get on with earning a living and finding us a new place to live.

I now give Elroy holy hell and a half because not only has he not helped us, he's made the problem worse, and hang up.

Five minutes later, Elroy's "Supervisor" (you mean "babysitter", right?), Fitzhume, from some tropical island where the national past times are most likely getting high and making babies you can't afford to feed, calls to inform me that it appears as if I've had an unfortunate customer service experience and he's going to make it all better by contacting the "field technician" on duty in my area right now and seeing if he can't get him to so something in a more-timely fashion.

This means he has to put me on hold for the next "two-to-three minutes" which quickly becomes 15, and then the call drops. He attempts to call me back and fails....twice. In the interim, Verizon's automated survey system -- with the same electronic whore -- calls me, I wait just long enough to respond "you people suck!" to the "What is the nature of your problem?" question, and then hang up.

Fitzhume is calling again at the same time.

When I finally get Fitzhume back on the line...he puts me back on hold.

And can do nothing vis-a-vis the scheduling of a "field technician", so I'm back where I've started. He apologizes profusely, like he gives an actual fuck, and I figure we're all set, at least until tomorrow.

Mrs. Overlord is inconsolable. So much so that the plaintive wails about having no television are beginning to actually pierce my eardrums. I can feel blood running down the side of my head.

She only has something on the order of 600 movies, television series and Broadway plays she can watch on DVD. She does not lack for alternatives. However, this has wounded her to the vagina and in typical female fashion, if she's got cramps, I'm going to feel them whether I want to or not.

But Verizon is not finished tormenting  me, yet, either.

For another foreigner has called, I think her name was Brunhilda and she hails from some Eastern European place where one has to manually fill a toilet tank with a bucket from the single pump in the village square before flushing, like Albania, or some shit, and she's here to tell me that we will be receiving credits on our bill for the two outages.

Fantastic. Why you needed to contact me about this, I don't know. Just adjust the bill, accordingly.

Unfortunately, each of these credits may take 1 to 3 months to actually be recorded, by which time, having sold the house, we will have moved and the account will have been closed.

I can just imagine the extraordinary amount of time that will be required to get account credits I've accrued on a closed account back and applied to the new account, and how many foreigners with poor language skills following a useless script I'll have to deal with.

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