Saturday, December 12, 2009

Commercial Failures of the week

Ever have one of those weeks where everything seems to cost you time and money? Where everything seems to break at the same time? where the whole concept of the "valued customer" apparently means nothing anymore? This was one of those weeks. It started early in the week, when I called a medical supply office that was making custom fit orthotics for my running shoes. I suddenly realized it had been over two months since I ordered them. They told me, "yeah, they're here, can you come in next week for a fitting? Okay great, see you then. Oh and (lowers voice to a mumble) these aren't covered by insurance, so that will be $160."

Wait...what? And, why didn't you tell me this before making the order?

Things progressed when I paid a visit to my local Lowes. We have a light fixture in our kitchen with three hanging track lights on it, and one decided to fry itself. We installed it in late 2006, so naturally Lowes doesn't carry it anymore. And neither does the manufacturer. Not even repair stock. Great. So I can either tear apart the fixture and attempt to replace the element inside that's fried, or replace the entire light fixture AND the matching one over the dinette table, which won't be easy because these fixtures were specifically chosen because the hole in the ceiling is off-center. Naturally I'm going with the former plan.

And then, there's Comcast. You know all those FIOS commercials you see with the read-headed cable guy who simply just doesn't have anything worthwhile to offer his customers? I was that customer today. A little over a week ago we treated ourselves to a brand new Tivo. This Tivo takes CableCards, which are little cards that slide into the Tivo and perform the same task as one of those digital cableset top boxes. Comcast readily provides them, but they insist on coming out to install. No problem, I made an appointment for today (a full week after I called), and they gave me the typical arrival estimate of between 8am and noon.

At 11:59 today, just as I was about to click the "chat now" button on Comcast Support's website, the phone rang. It was the contractor's secretary who called to say not only is he running late, but that they didn't have any Cablecards and wondered if I'd like a set top box instead. At that point I completely blew up at her and demanded to know why they are just telling me this now, and how she expects me to insert a set top box into the little slot on the front of my Tivo. She quickly got herself off the phone by interrupting my tirade and asking if I wanted the supervisor to call me directly. I replied with "yes please" and hung up the phone.

An hour and a half later, having heard nothing from them, I CALLED Comcast support, and got a very nice and understanding lady who took all sorts of notes and sent all sorts of emails to allegedly the right people who would get in touch with me. Very nice of her, though so far that gets me cable service on my Tivo as much as pouring orange juice into the CableCard slots would. But it turned out that 45 minutes later I got a call from a "district supervisor" who said they found some CableCards and would be right over. And they were.

And none of the three CableCards he brought with him worked. He then told me they would have to come back during the week. So I scheduled the followup appointment, let him leave the house, then called the nice Comcast lady back and asked her what she could do for me to compensate for the misery of the day. The best she could do was give me a $20 credit. Not only was that pretty pathetic, but a friend reminded me this evening that this installation also cost $16. So I'll be calling Comcast back again shortly. Meanwhile, FIOS continues to dig up our street, laying cables for their service. Keep digging FIOS, keep digging.

And to top things off, my camera broke this evening. Awesome capper to an awesome day.

1 comment:

Kelly said...

Wow. That sucks.