Monday, August 24, 2009

Your Call Will be Answered in the Order it was Received

I can never believe the looks of shock and disgust I receive when I tell people I used to work for a cable company. The problem is only exacerbated when the people I tell live in a city, where, like Lawrence, the service is merrily provided in an untimely, overpriced and monopolistic manner that ultimately results in frustration of orgasmic proportions. So, pretty much everyone.

This horrified expression is often chased with personal accounts of people's great battles against their local cable companies, and often in a matter-of-fact, even accusatory manner:

Stories of long wait times with anywhere from insipid to grating music playing ad nauseum interluded only with the promise of a service agent that would never come, but please check out our website because that's possible when your internet doesn't work.

Stories of malfunctioning field agents who commit to arriving only within a five hour timeframe, but stumble in more than acceptably late, and often, missing relevant parts.

And my favorite, stories of customer service agents who can't speak English, so how did they ever get a job where the single most important characteristic they should possess is that they should be easily understood over a phone?

Often, these anecdotes are hilarious, even when they're not intended to be. And as the story-tellers detail their struggles, you can almost picture them, sitting on the phone, a computer in pieces at their feet, eyebrows furrowed, butt cheeks clinched, clicking a pen or gripping their hair while fuming furiously as the elevator music pumps on a loop through the phone line that was merrily provided to them in an untimely, overpriced and monopolistic manner. And at that moment, that's when you remind them, that you used to work for a cable company. And yeah, man, I agree.

The following is an e-mail that was posted on If you have not visited this website, I suggest you do, but only AFTER you read this HILARIOUS e-mail from a dissatisfied cable customer. Be prepared to pee a lil'.

"Dear Cretins;

I have been an NTL customer since 9th July 2001, when I signed up for your 3-in-one deal for cable TV, cable modem, and telephone.

During this three-month period I have encountered inadequacy of service which I had not previously considered possible, as well as ignorance and stupidity of monolithic proportions.

Please allow me to provide specific details, so that you can either pursue your professional prerogative, and seek to rectify these difficulties – or more likely (I suspect) so that you can have some entertaining reading material as you while away the working day smoking B&H and drinking vendor-coffee on the bog in your office:

My initial installation was cancelled without warning or notice, resulting in my spending an entire Saturday sitting on my behind waiting for your technician to arrive.

When he did not arrive at all, I spent a further 57 minutes listening to your infuriating hold music, and the even more annoying Scottish robot woman telling me to look at your helpful website…. how?

I alleviated the boredom to some small degree by playing solitaire for a few minutes – an activity at which you are no-doubt both familiar and highly adept.

The rescheduled installation then took place some two weeks later, although the technician did forget to bring a number of vital tools – such as a drill-bit, and his cerebrum.

Two weeks later, my cable modem had still not arrived. After several further telephone calls (actually 15 telephone calls over 4 weeks) my modem arrived…

A total of six weeks after I had requested it, and begun to pay for it.

I estimate that the downtime of your internet servers is roughly 35%… these are usually the hours between about 6pm and midnight, Monday to Friday, and most of the useful periods over the weekend.

I am still waiting for my telephone connection. I have made 9 telephone calls on my mobile to your no-help line this week, and have been unhelpfully transferred to a variety of disinterested individuals, who are it seems also highly skilled malarky jugglers.

I have been informed that a telephone line is available (and someone will call me back); that no telephone line is available (and someone will call me back); that I will be transferred to someone who knows whether or not a telephone line is available (and then been cut off); that I will be transferred to someone who knows whether or not a telephone line is available (and then been redirected to an answer machine informing me that your office is closed); that I will be transferred to someone who knows whether or not a telephone line is available (and then been redirected to the irritating Scottish robot woman), and several other variations on this theme.

Doubtless you are no-longer reading this letter, as you have at least a thousand other dissatisfied customers to ignore, and also another one of those crucially important solitaire to attend to. Frankly I don’t care, it’s far more satisfying as a customer to voice my frustrations in print than to shout them at your unending hold music.

Forgive me, therefore, if I continue.

I thought BT were horrible, that they had attained the holy pot of god-awful customer relations, that no-one, anywhere, ever, could be more disinterested, less helpful or more obstructive to delivering service to their customers. That’s why I chose NTL, and because, well, there isn’t anyone else is there? How surprised I therefore was, when I discovered to my considerable dissatisfaction and disappointment what a useless shower of jerks you truly are. You are sputum-filled pieces of distended intestine – incompetents of the highest order. British Telecom – jerks though they are – shine like brilliant beacons of success, in the filthy puss-filled mire of your seemingly limitless inadequacy.

Suffice to say that I have now given up on my futile and foolhardy quest to receive any kind of service from you. I suggest that you do likewise, and cease any potential future attempts to extort payment from me for the services which you have so pointedly and catastrophically failed to deliver – any such activity will be greeted initially with hilarity and disbelief – although these feelings will quickly be replaced by derision, and even perhaps a small measure of bemused rage.

I enclose two small deposits, selected with great care from my cats litter tray, as an expression of my utter and complete contempt for both you and your pointless company. I sincerely hope that they have not become desiccated during transit – they were satisfyingly moist at the time of posting, and I would feel considerable disappointment if you did not experience both their rich aroma and delicate texture. Consider them the very embodiment of my feelings towards NTL, and it’s worthless employees.

Have a nice day – may it be the last in you miserable short life, you irritatingly incompetent and infuriatingly unhelpful bunch of jerks. "


If he's this bad with the automated phone line, can you imagine all the awful things he must scream at those Grocery Store self-checkout machines?