Wednesday, May 6, 2015

a lovely chat with the great satan

There are some conversational topics that will make anyone squirm.  Try steering the watercooler talk towards "the big C," or drop "the C word" and watch your friends, family and coworkers' brains begin to shut down.  Yes, I'm talking about Comcast.

About the only thing worse than talking about them is talking to them, but as modern adults we are often burdened with both tasks.  The initial problem that led to my need to contact the big evil Internet machine was one that I don't really heap much blame on them for - they shipped me the wrong thing.

Last week I received a cold call.  The excellent Truecaller told me it was my wonderful ISP - since I give them a load of money each month, it seemed like it might be in my best interest to take the call.

On the phone, I was told that for $3 more a month I could get an Internet connection that was ~4x faster than my current service, plus TV with HBO, plus two cable boxes.  When I asked about shipping and setup fees, I was told that these would be waived, and two cable boxes would be shipped to my house free of charge.  About this I was ambivalent - I'd sort of rather not have TV service in my house, but since it was a requirement to get the faster Internet, I consented, thinking eventually I'd either hook it up or not.

(In my mind, this hard sales push is a direct response to Netflix's recent insane numbers and jubilant CEO.  But maybe they just like fucking with people, I don't really know.)

So the package arrived, large enough for two cable boxes but feeling empty.  Upon opening it up, I found two identical packets of cable TV information, but no cable boxes.  Chalking it up to standard Comcast fuckery, I waited, but the cable boxes never came.  For me, this shipping mixup is somewhat understandable - there's something about putting the right things in the right boxes that can be difficult for people to wrap their heads around.  Not saying that I don't want to put Comcast down as much as possible, but about this I'm not too peeved.

On the suggestion of a coworker, I decided to chat up Comcast online rather than deal with the known nightmare of a phone conversation with them.

But that chat was worse.  In it, Comcast:
  • Transferred me three times to three different departments.
  • Took one to ten minutes to respond after each message.
  • Informed me that I was only slated to receive one cable box.
  • Intimated that I would be charged for the box's delivery no matter what.
  • Informed me that I could not cancel my TV service over the chat system,
  • citing the insecurity of their chat system as the primary reason!
The most fucked up part is, I knew it was a trap when I agreed to the upgrade.  I guess I just wanted to see how much of a trap it was.

After most ISP encounters, people often find themselves in need of a cathartic retelling.  Comcast's depth of unscrupulousness and incompetence is known by all, but it still fairly boggles the mind to see it.  It's sort of like watching a video of a guy doing a backflip, or girl getting hit in the head with a shovel - you aren't surprised that it happened, but does get your sympathetic nervous system pumping.

For the brave, the bored, and the masochistic, the full text of our chat follows.  It took probably an hour from start to finish.  Writing this article took less time than my ineffectual chat.  Enjoy.


  1. I both love and hate that you listed spring breakers as one of your favorite movies