Saturday, October 31, 2015

I Got A Nice Rack Rate

I wrote recently about my experience trying to get someone from CenturyLink, my phone company, to sell me some upgraded service. I spent well over an hour on my cell phone on hold, and then another fifteen minutes listening to my service representative's immediate environs, while he tapped at his keyboard and periodically asked me if I was still there. I was, but he couldn't hear me, and eventually he hung up. I don't know why he couldn't hear me. I visualized him in front of a bank of wires pulling the plugs in and out and mine wasn't in all the way. But that's probably not how it works, or in this case, doesn't work.

Well, things happen. I get that. I could imagine being in his situation myself, reaching way over my left shoulder for the telephone while standing on the recorder pedal for the transcription machine for eighteen minutes like Rose Mary Woods, and all of a sudden all my boss's incriminating conversation is lost in the ether by accident, because things happen. It would have been my hope that someone from my phone company could figure out how to maintain a conversation because he's in the communications business, but such is not always the case.

Because when he gave up and called me on my land line, which he happened to know because he's from my phone company, he was still having problems with the communication aspect, particularly in the area of saying something I understood and getting an appropriate response back from me. The last time I spent that much time on the phone, I was talking to someone in India. I had been on the phone so long I could have set up medical insurance through Obamacare by then, and I no longer remembered why I'd called in the first place. Oh yes: we were talking about rates, and bundling, and what services I could get when.

I was confused, so he explained very carefully. It was something about my modem, and how many phone jacks I had, and what they did together in their spare time, and the fact that I'm in a GPON zone, and whether or not I get a rack rate.

"Rack jack what now?"

GPON. GPON. He explained I had copper in my wires, or didn't have copper in my wires. I don't remember which, or why, but it sounded personal.

The service representatives at CenturyLink go out for beers after work and rag on about how stupid people in the GPON zones are. I know they do. I know this because I also used to be in the communications business.

Some poor postal customer with a legitimate complaint would call up the station and get the boss on the line--our ring was twenty-five "shorts," and he had to wait for all 25 to be sure they wanted us, and not the Department of Motor Vehicles, which is 24--and he'd listen for a minute. Then he'd say "well, ma'am, I cain't do nothing about that, because your carrier is on LWOP, but the T-6 is over there helping out with the nixies, and I'll put a note here for the 204-B to give you a call once he's done entering the MSPs," and then he'd hold the phone out from his ear for another minute, and hang up and say "what a bitch." Then go out for beers.

So answering the phone is not all there is to communication. Most of us letter carriers were better at it. Here's what it looks like. Customer complains. Carrier nods sympathetically. Agrees, in standard English, that this is a truly awful problem. Promises to try to get to the bottom of it. And says "I'm sorry."

Then goes out for beers.

25 comments:

  1. How can that beer look so inviting at 5 in the morning? Must be 5pm somewhere! :-)

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    1. You won't believe this, but Dave and I just got on a plane that offered free IPA, and even we couldn't work up to it at six in the morning. I know, right?

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    2. C'mon, you're not trying!

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    3. The ticket is to order two shots of Bailey's in a mug of hot coffee. Now THAT'S GOOD at 6 AM! We were in first class on the straight shot to Dallas/FtWorth. We cleaned out their supply of Bailey's on that one! That'll teach them!

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    4. I bow to you. Couldn't do it. Maybe there's hope for me yet.

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  2. OMG...sinking into a third world domain. I hate them all, even those just doing their jobs. That is how it all started in Germany.

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  3. I was just wondering how it started in Germany.

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  4. All too familiar.
    Beer at 5am is slightly more appealing that beer at other times. The only use I have ever put it to is as a rinse for my once brunettle locks. 5am is perfectly possible there...

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  5. A beer at 5am would be much, much easier to swallow than all that gobbledegook UPPER CASE abbrevs. from an uncaring phone drone.

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    1. The post office is unbelievable for acronyms.

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  6. I have been known in past decades to not STOP drinking beer until 5 in the morning. Don't tell me that never happened to you.

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  7. And when you said "I'm sorry", I bet you did NOT add "if you took offense to anything" - talk about ruining a perfectly good bit of compassion and common courtesy by tacking on that little phrase!

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    1. Nope. I don't take things personally. I can be abject.

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  8. It seems that customer service is a thing of the past. It is hard to get it much less get good service.

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  9. Well, it sounds like, after all of the waiting, and the lengthy explanations, (his, not yours), and the copper wire elaborations, you got it all straightened out. Or did you?

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    1. We are looking with high speed wireless. It's a miracle.

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    2. I don't even know what I just typed. This is what you get when you're on the road and trying to work off your itty bitty phone with no skills. Coming home soon...

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  10. I'm betting you do have copper wires, just like all of us downunder and we'd love to switch to fibre optic cables, (for faster broadband/internet) but the major phone company owns the copper wires cables and says changing is too expensive unless we all want really high phone bills.

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    1. I don't know what we have or how any of it works. But we have fiber optic something or other.

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  11. I was driven mad by Ma Bell who kept denying everything I told them, my disconnects, MUST be my fault as they are so excellent at all they do for us peons. I got so fed up I plastered Facebook with my complaints, hit on their website with more and - my coup de grace, so to speak - littered their customer service site with more of the same.
    End result - they sent 3 technicians out to hang off various poles and test obscure wires at my house and then a week later a manager showed up at my door.
    "Are you happy now?" he looked exhausted.
    "Ask me in 6 month." I said.

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    1. Ack! Hats off to you, brave consumer. I don't think I have it in me.

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