Helping You Get the Most Out of Your Misery






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Friday, April 14, 2006


Smashing One's Head Repeatedly into a Brick Wall (Is Better Than This)

What a difference a day makes. Yesterday at this time, I was feeling very Snow White in the forest. Little birds were landing on my shoulder and a happy tune was in my heart. Cut to now. I'm fairly quivering with rage and if a bird were to land on my shoulder, I would very probably crush the fucking life from it.

Thanks, Earthlink!

Here's the deal, see: We've had our internet service through Earthlink for probably coming up on ten years. No real complaints for most of that time. When I was still mailing in the bill every month, they were very nice about not shutting my service off if I forgot for an extra week. They have very reasonable rates. For most of the time that I've had them, I've been a what you might call "satisfied customer". Now, not so much.

We've got DSL, which I love. It lets me get my pointless shit a whole lot faster, for which I'm grateful. We've had it for almost a year now and it's mostly been peachy. But for about the last month or so, I've had periodic loss of connection. Every once in awhile, the modem has a little issue and decides it doesn't want to work for me anymore. Which means I have to turn it off and wait for it to start back up again, a process that takes a couple of minutes. A two minute wait is very rarely catastrophic, but it's still a pain in the ass, especially when I'm paying for perfect service, not shitty service. (I considered the Shitty Service Package, which is ten bucks cheaper, but decided to go with the Perfect.)

So I've been meaning to call Earthlink customer service up and get it straightened out. As I'm off today, I thought I'd tackle this item on my to-do list. So I navigate through their "Help Menu" (and I wonder if that's meant to be ironic) and hold for a couple of minutes until the "technician" gets on the line.

Okay, there's probably no way to bitch about this without coming across as a racist assburger, but the fact that the vast majority of customer service phone jobs have been outsourced to India over the last few years has made it a lot harder for me to be a satisfied customer. I understand that it's more cost-effective for the companies. I know that the people who I'm talking to are probably just as skilled as the pot-smoking college kid I would've gotten on the line five years ago. I know that I shouldn't complain about someone's English skills when I speak only one language and sound like a retarded three-year-old when I attempt to talk in Spanish.

But come on! The lady on the phone with me couldn't understand my repeated explanation of the nature of the problem. She had me turn the goddamn thing off three or four times. She didn't' seem familiar with the modem I have, because she kept asking me questions about a modem that sounded nothing like mine. And when she'd go off on one of her pre-written explanation paragraphs, I had no fucking idea what the hell she was saying. She'd leave me on hold for awhile, during which time I would lose my DSL connection and turn the modem off and on to restore it. I'd tell her about it when she got back on the line and she'd once again ask me about the blinky lights on the front of the modem. She seemed very interested in the blinky lights.

After forty-five minutes of uselessness, she gave me a "ticket number" and transferred me, apparently to the person sitting right next to her, because there was no discernible improvement in the level of knowledge. This person, too, had me shut the modem off and turn it back on, then asked me to describe the lights. I got really sick of describing the lights.

Finally, I got pissy. I all but screamed, "The problem is with the modem! Just send me a new modem! Send it, you fucking twit!" (I'm paraphrasing.) She seemed to disagree. She suggested that I go about my business and call back when the connection was lost again.

So, basically, I used an hour of my daytime minutes to speak to someone in India and raise my blood-pressure. Awesome. I think I'm going to call back and just tell them that I accidentally dropped the modem in the toilet, so they need to send me a new one. Maybe that'll do it.