Monday, August 30, 2010

Comcast - a Truce

My victory with Comcast can't be classified as a Phyrric one as the cost to me was not devastating - merely involved losing my temper, something that despite my Irish genes and once red hair, rarely happens. I'm still fuming over the fact that to get a response I had to lose my temper, and go public in this forum with my peeve. Saddened too, that as a woman who who prides herself on having good manners, I was forced into a corner with frustrating and inept customer service to the point that I was rude, and no doubt offensive to people only trying to do their job.

I am back on line. About 20 minutes ago I received a call from Comcast Corporate - a man named Mark. I'll not give out his last name nor his phone number but should any of you reach the level of frustration that I reached - e mail me and I'll give you his name and number! I told him I would do that. Our conversation was cordial, positive and sufficient to put on hold my plan to cancel Comcast service. He has assured me that I have a direct line to him should problems crop up in the future.

So I'm special! big deal. I shouldn't be getting special treatment - all customers are deserving of the same level of attention to a problem that my outburst brought about. I expressed to Mark my frustration with the condescending "talk from the script" approach used by the technical support reps - and I learned that Tucson customer support is now outsourced to the Philippines. Personally I'd like to subject every single management person in the company to a series of these calls - have them experience the painful approach to troubleshooting and the avoid at all costs involving a service call outcome. I let him know how discouraging it is for loyal customers to see "special rates" being offered to new customers and not to them.

For now there is a truce, the problems with service to my place resolved, a direct line of support established. Obviously I'm grateful for all of the above. Customer service is sacred in any business.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Communication Companies Rip Us Off

Yes, perhaps the title of this post is alerting you to the fact that I'm about to rant big time about my internet provider - COMCAST. I've been a customer for over 10 years. I pay my bills on time. I've been off-line more than I have been on this past month. Constant drop-out of service; endless "on-hold" most of the time calls with technical support personnel who all split infinitives, - (that's a pet peeve for another day - "patiently waiting" is the last thing I'm doing now!) and sound as though they are underwater. The most inane advice given is to "go to our website" - this when I'm off-line. And then the gall to attempt to up-sell me on services and remind me that I can have up to seven or was it seventeen email addresses - all I want is one that is reliable.
One solution offered was that they send a new modem - time frame ? Five days! Rather than wait I drove 48 miles round-trip to pick one up at the Comcast store. The new modem has not solved the drop-out issue.

For this so-called service I've been paying in excess of $60 a month - a few minutes ago I called customer service and asked what they proposed doing to keep my loyalty. "We can give you a promotional rate of $39" says the chirpy, earnest young man getting the full force of my ire. And here's my primary beef with all this. Why can't they offer the same rates they use to lure in new customers to existing customers? Makes sense to me as a business model to keep your old customers happy and not rip them off. It's the same with the cell phone companies - gripe and you get a better rate. Just be aware that if you are being shafted by a service provider and you see one of those ads luring in new customers at a discounted rate that you need to get on the phone and demand the same rate.
Hoping that this posts before I lose service again! Meanwhile I have put my Sunday plans on-hold - Comcast is sending out a technician. Whoopee.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Western Drug and Really "Cool Stuff"

My daughter came up to the cabin with her youngest and two other young boys in tow to join Ben for a long weekend.  Lisa is a Smith graduate and for as long as I can remember wanted a sister and then, once married, wanted a daughter. No such luck on both counts - she's stuck with males. I'm sharing her account of a day with two 9 year olds and tw0 12 year olds - or almost 13 as they are quick to point out. Me? I bailed once the cabin was over run with males!
I'm sharing her e mail on events.

Today the boys met the horses including a foal who tried hard to eat Mike's shorts. They went swimming in the lake -- entry into the lake involved a lot of discussion about their "nards" and how far under the water their "nards" were.  After the swim, they all had to check to make sure that their "nards" were still there.  Henry declared that he had "hair" down there.  Ever helpful, Ben looked and concluded that it was pond scum.  

Next was the construction of the great fort.  Henry breathlessly explained, "Mom, we need your expertise!"  So, I guess I'm good for something. 

We went to the local organic farm to see if they had any good pizza toppings.  Mike believes that pepperoni is grown organically.  He argued quite vigorously that indeed pepperoni grows on trees.  The farmer did not have any pepperoni trees, but we did get some beautiful broccoli florets. 

Then off to the bustling metropolis of Eagar/Springerville for a visit to the Great Western Drug Store.  I know what you're thinking..."you took the boys to CVS or Walgreens -- how odd?"  

Western Drug trumps CVS/Walgreens any day.  This store was THE model for Walmart and Target.  It is has most likely been in existence since pioneer days -- some of its merchandise having been in place since the grand opening day circa 1930. Western Drug is the place you go if you need hemorrhoid cream and an AK 47; if you need to shrink wrap a javelina...Western Drug; if you need Playboy shot glasses and a monkey pinata -- yup, Western Drug is your place; if you have a hankering for doing a water color painting while bleaching your teeth, and also outfitting your 2-day old infant in guessed it, Western Drug.  It is boy heaven.  The walls are lined with dead animals...just their heads, of course -- gleaming teeth and bristling hair -- lined up above the supply of every firearm known to mankind.  The Michigan Militia could arm all of its members here.  

I was only moderately alarmed to note some of the inventory -- the Sasquatch Big Stick is featured prominently.  This is evidently Big Foot's beef jerky -- or maybe you turn hairy if you eat it?  My gross out limit was reached while noting that the Bull Elk in Rut Urine products were featured in the same aisle as the Depends products.  Is that really necessary?  I spent some time lingering in the cosmetics aisle...trying to counteract the visions of hunters smeared in elk urine wearing Depends. They have a rather large display of Wet n' Wild products;  fantasies of mud masks were dashed by the boys who found me to insist that they had found the "coolest" stuff  -  Cooler than Big Foot's food product? -  Cooler than deer mule and elk musk?

Cap guns and ice cream cones....what could be better?  Oh, yeah, the flint that Ben and Justin wanted would have added to the purchases and probably put me in the running for mom of the year.  "But mom, it's just for making sparks not flames."  Ahh..right.  NO.  NO.  NO. 

And so for the moment, they are engaged in a cap gun battle -- the rain is starting up again and I expect them to burst indoors any moment.  Pizza making is on for tonight -- dough has been rising all afternoon.  (oh, and I might have a glass of wine!)

We have grand plans for chocolate croissants and a hike in the morning then we'll clean up, pack up, and head out -- probably on the road by 1pm at the latest!