There are times when you’re a customer, and you need to have something done that you can’t do yourself, so you call up the service and ask them to send someone to do the thing, and they tell you: okay, we’ll send someone to do the thing. Here’s a window of time in which you need to be at home to let them in to do the thing. It’ll be X:00-Y:00. Be there or you suck.
So, the first time I was given a window of time for service to take place, it was getting Comcast Internet installed at my apartment in…2008? Yes, I think it was Autumn of 2008. And what happened was that Comcast folks told me the technician would come to do the installation between 11 Am and 2 PM. This was on a weekday, when I was working a temp job, so I took a day off, and thus lost a day’s wages to wait for the tech to show up and install my Internet.
What happened was, I was at home for the day, I went to the grocery store to do a little shopping in the morning because I might as well, and someone at Comcast called me up at 10:30-ish to make sure I was at home between 11 and 2. Okay? They really, really wanted me to be at home during that window of time. I said okay, finished my shopping, and went home well ahead of the 11 AM deadline.
Yeah, so, 2 PM came and went, I called up Comcast, they were fucking clueless, I waited some more, called up Comcast again, this time not at all amused, they were apologetic but still fucking clueless, and meanwhile I had made plans to meet my dad for something or other at 6 PM-ish, so it was a stressful day.
While I was on the phone with Comcast for the third time that day (okay, I may be neurotic, but I was a paying customer and they were screwing me over, so, fuck you), the tech FINALLY rolled in around 5:15 PM. He came in, did the thing, and my Internet was up and running, but he never answered the question of why I had to wait THAT long for him to show up. No one ever answered the question. The rep who spoke to me on the third try promised me a discount for the installation services, but that discount didn’t happen.
They made sure I was sitting at home and waiting starting at 11 AM, but then I had to wait for more than twice the window of time they gave me at the beginning. I took a full day off work, when I was getting paid by the hour. If I’d known what time the tech would actually arrive for the installation, I could’ve worked most of the day, thus getting paid for most of the day, and still come home early enough to let the tech in to do his job. Instead, Comcast took a day out of my paycheck for no good reason.
The Internet service did exactly what it was supposed to do, but I was so angry about that installation experience, I promised myself I would never use Comcast services again if I could help it.
At my next apartment, I got a Virgin Mobile portable wifi account for Internet. It was incredibly slow and unreliable, and I had to make several calls to tech support over the three years I spent at that address, but it didn’t need a professional installation, so I fucking used that thing the whole time. I was willing to go to that much trouble to avoid Comcast.
I finally got Verizon FiOS when I bought my new house. That was not difficult, as the service was already installed at this address. All I had to do was set up the account and buy the router, and basically I just pressed a few buttons when the router arrived by mail. No professional help required. There it was; I finally had good Internet service, paying less than I did for Virgin Mobile’s crappy portable wifi, and didn’t have to sacrifice a day’s wages for some fuck-nozzle to knock on my door after he finally got finished visiting all his drinking buddies in between appointments with more important customers.
(Oh, it seems I’m STILL pissed off about that experience. Note the words of Maya Angelou: people will never forget the way you made them feel.)
Moving on: I bought the house, got the FiOS, and I ordered a new bed from IKEA, to be delivered on a Saturday. I was given a window of time from, like, 11 AM to 4 PM. That did not include assembly. I would assemble the bed like I did with all my other IKEA furniture. I was merely expected to sit around at home for those 5 hours until the delivery guys arrived with the boxes containing my new bed.
So I sat around for all those hours, and finally there was a robo-call from the delivery company, maybe 3:45 PM, saying the delivery guys were running late and I should allow another hour. NOT A BIG ENOUGH EYE-ROLL IN THE WORLD, but I had no better options, so sure, I stayed put. 5 PM came and went. The truck finally showed up at more like 5:15-or-so. By which point I was all out of sympathy. But, okay, the truck finally pulled up, the guys got out and hauled the boxes up to my bedroom, and there was my bed, waiting to be assembled. And all I had to do was spend a perfectly good Saturday glued to my house for over 6 hours when I was told to expect no more than 5. Needless to say, I did not tip my delivery guys.
Yeah, so, that was my experience with “window of time” services up to now: I was basically taught that I would have to give up an entire day to get absolutely nothing accomplished because some other clowns don’t have their shit together and think “over-promise and under-deliver” is a good business model.
Last Wednesday, I forgot my phone at work because I was super-excited and preoccupied about something happening, and I came home late and found my Internet not working. That was a particularly frustrating situation, but maybe it would auto-resolve within a day. Thursday night, came home and still no Internet. So I called up Verizon, and we eventually established that it was a problem that I could not fix, so a technician would have to make a visit. The earliest time available was an “all-day” appointment on Saturday. Meaning someone would fit me in between his other appointments. I said okay, because I NEED TO HAVE INTERNET AT HOME, and I don’t know how many visits it’ll take to get it back up, so best start ASAP.
Of course I also had to cancel family biz on Saturday, and there may have been a certain family member who wasn’t happy about that. The biz could go on without me just fine, but this family member may have behaved like the world was ending because I had to skip out. Maybe just a little.
Short version is: Verizon kept on sending me communications about the impending visit, and mid-morning today, the story was to expect the guy between 11:45-12:45. I made sure to get my grocery shopping done before 11:45 AM, but I assumed I’d spend all day doing things compatible with waiting to let someone into my house.
Yeah, well, at around 11:55, the tech called up and said he’d arrive within 15-20 minutes, and fuck me with a chainsaw, he did. Took him a good long time to figure out what to do about my service problems, but ultimately he got my Internet back up before he left.
(And in the meantime, family biz happened, and I WASN’T THERE to sit around looking bored while Certain Family Members ignored my attempts to join the conversation. Somehow, everyone made it home in one piece. The world will never be the same.)
Moral of the story is: Comcast service technicians can bite my ass, IKEA delivery subcontractors can bite my ass, but Verizon FiOS fucking has its shit together with their service technicians. Everyone should be like Verizon. Buckle down and get ‘er done.
And I still intend never to use Comcast services again.