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Someone will be with you shortly

From the publisher's desk
By: Keith Whitson
As a child I often heard the expression “Getting too big for your britches.” I still occasionally hear that today but it has an entirely different meaning. I am getting to big for my britches due to less time for exercise and a love for snack foods.
However, the original expression had to do with someone that had taken on more than they were able to do. They were promising more than they could deliver.
I thought of this expression recently when dealing with a well known company that offers telephone, internet and TV services in the area. Not that I have “come casting” a bad name on their services, but I could take a much needed vacation out of the time I have spent on the phone trying to get their internet portion to work.
I could have had a minor surgery and recovered in that time frame. I could have driven to the person I needed to e-mail and given them the message directly. I could have…well, you get the point.
The original installation representative showed up right on time. He got everything going but told me I would need a router to be able to use the computer. I know very little about technical jargon, but I knew that I had a router at another location.
He assured me that all I had to do was plug the cord from his modem into my router and, presto, I would be searching the Web. Of course, it didn’t work that way. That only works in their impressive commercials, so I had to call for help.
It is amazing how the subscription end of their company evidently has the most employees working and can take your information down the quickest. I was impressed that these folks were fast on the telephone, after all, their commercials sure boast of that. I should know, I have heard them numerous times now while waiting on hold for the technical support group.
“Please hold on the line,” the recording said. “A customer representative will be with you shortly.” A definition of shortly is “in the near future.” Again, the phrase “slow as Christmas” comes to mind.
The automatic voice tried to direct me to the best department for help. I punched in my phone number. I pressed “1” that I was an existing customer. I pressed “2” that I needed help with the internet aspect. After a few more questions and button pushing, I was directed to the internet department, where I had to once again go through the entire protocol of button pushing.
I think it was all just a stalling technique to discourage some and to keep the rest of us occupied and assured that we were getting somewhere. I was now on hold for the next available representative. Eventually, I would have to answer all of the original questions again.
The company representative told me that my router wouldn’t work and she would send me another one. I was also to receive a box to return the old one. A few days later, I got an empty box at my door. Did the new router fall out before it got there? Was this the box to send the old one back? I waited. No new router showed up.
I called again and finally reached a human voice, who sent me to another department, and yet another department, and yet another and then, I got disconnected. I called back and begged the lady who answered to please not put me on hold or transfer me. I was not up for more rejection.
My stress level was high at this point. Each person I had talked to was saying I needed something different and was sending me to a different department. I didn’t know who to believe.
She made some adjustment on her end and told me my device should work now and asked me to try it. I told her that I wasn’t at home at the moment. She more or less told me that I shouldn’t have called if I wasn’t home and there was nothing she could do.
Last week, I gave it one more attempt on my lunch break. I know the pattern of numbers by heart. I could recite their hold commercials by memory. I am expecting to even start to recognize some of the staff by voice.
I got a new lady this time. She suggested I have them send me a modem that doesn’t require a router and I can go anywhere in the house with the computer. “How much more will this cost?,” I asked. “The same as you are currently paying,” she said. “Well why didn’t they just give me one of those to begin with?,” I asked. “They don’t tell everyone they have them,” she replied.
In a few days, I got another empty box at my door. This time I decided they must be holding my new device ransom until they get the old one. I took the old modem out and had to force it into the undersized carton they sent me. I taped it well and placed the return label on.
Later, when I tried to use the telephone, it didn’t work. I used my cell phone to call the company once more.
“No, you can’t use the telephone without the modem hooked up,” she said. “They should have already sent you a new one. Well, I don’t see it in the system.”
She continued to assure me that she could over-night what I needed. There was a charge of $29.99 for shipping but she could credit that back. “Well, it won’t let me credit it right now,” she said. I will have to get my supervisor to do it later.
The device didn’t show up the next day. I found out that the carrier doesn’t make Saturday deliveries. But, it is supposedly on the way. The box indicates a weight of six pounds, so at least it’s not another empty container. I expect it will be outdated at this point and I may be starting all over.