We’ve been having huge problems with our broadband service, lately, possibly because all cable companies are run by soul-sucking incompetents, or possibly because my personal electro-magnetic field has thus far managed to disrupt my internet service, on occasion, everywhere I have ever lived. It matters not, I suppose.
And so there have been countless calls to Charter to report the agonizing slowness of our connection speed, and all of the fabulously unrelated questions we get asked when we make those calls. Because, you know, whether or not I have a lot of MUSIC ON MY COMPUTER, that would affect my connection speed, apparently. Also, I have taken to lying and saying that we’ve unhooked our router and have one computer directly hooked into the cable modem, just so that we can skip the part where we spend twenty minutes with them trying to convince me the router is broken. (Hint: It isn’t.)
Look; I understand that there are morons out there, people who will call to complain that their internet is broken when, in fact, their computers aren’t hooked up to the modem. People who will say the connection is slow when it turns out that their computer is a Commodore 64. I get that the service techs have to weed out the idiots and the simple fixes. Fine.
What I DON’T understand are things like an automated menu that says to me “If you wish to speak to an agent at any time, simply say ‘AGENT,'” and then when I—I know, it’s crazy—SAY AGENT, the menu responds, “I think we can handle this without one. Next, I’d like you to—” At that point, I’m sorry, I’ve stopped listening, because why are you offering me an option and then refusing to grant it, like I’m a two-year-old begging for candy before dinner? (For the record, the automated system doesn’t recognize “OH FOR FUCK’S SAKE,” either.)
I’m even willing to completely skip the standard complaints about service techs who don’t actually speak English. We all know how annoying it is, we all know companies don’t care, and I’m tired of even talking about it.
This morning our internet didn’t work at all. I threw on some clothes and went to my local coffeehouse, after the most frustrating service call I’ve had to date. My marble-mouthed foreign technician wanted me to power-cycle the modem (already done), reboot my computer (done), and after some other similarly useless exercises, started asking me questions about my computer.
Because, you know, it’s MY COMPUTER’S FAULT that the modem wasn’t receiving a signal. (Note: They can check that from their call center. He can SEE that the modem has no signal. So he is asking me about my computer because…? Maybe I have one of those fancy MODEM-KILLING models?)
Anyway, first he wanted to know what sort of computer I have. A Mac, I told him. “Oooooooh,” he said, as if that was my problem, right there. Then he asked which operating system I was running. I told him I was running System 10. I could hear him typing madly in the background—probably playing Scrabulous with someone.
“Okay, Ma’am,” he finally came back with, “So your operating system, I’m sorry, I didn’t catch that, is your operating system Safari, then?”
Me: Safari is not an operating system.
Tech: Yes it is, you are not running Safari Operating System?”
Me: Safari. Is. A. Browser. Are you kidding me? This is your technical support?
Tech: Oh. I’m sorry, ma’am, um, which operating system, then?
Me: System 10. OSX.
Tech: Alright then, thank you. Well, we need to schedule a service appointment for you, would next Monday be okay?
Me: No. I need an appointment TODAY.
Tech: Oh. Well let me see….
And then I died of frustration.
So I went and had my fancy coffee and some borrowed wifi and by the time I came home, everything was working again, you know, because I’d removed my big electro-magnetic head and my Safari Operating System from the premises for a while.
The DSL installers come on Monday.