Written by
Molly Campbell
July 2011
Written by
Molly Campbell
July 2011

My television service is abominable lately. Recordings freeze. I love things “on demand,” but apparently my demands are unreasonable, because the last two movies I have rented won’t play. “America’s Got Talent” went black right at the most crucial moment, and I wasn’t able to see if that guy survived the fifty foot fall into the baby pool. My computer is no longer wireless. The phones are a bit wonky. We have limped along with all of this, but when we lost the signal right in the middle of “The Marriage Ref” the other night, the camel’s back was broken.


I dialed the number for customer service. The sales rep, Bill,  answered, and was full of enthusiasm and sincerity. “Oh, Mrs. Campbell, that is terrible. I just love that show myself! Those couples are hilarious! Wait just one minute so I can verify your account. What is your favorite restaurant?” I informed the rep that where I chose to eat was none of his business. “Oh, no, Mrs. Campbell. That is the secret question. Your answer let’s us know if you are who you say you are.” Of course, it was my husband who established all the secret questions and answers. I have no idea what he said. I took a few stabs. No go.


“Well, Mrs. Campbell, I can verify your account by calling you. Hang on, and I will call you, and if you answer, I will know that it is you.” This was convoluted, but as a desperate consumer, I complied. The phone rang, and I answered.


“Mrs. Campbell? This is the cable company. Now that I know who you are, how can I help you?” I only blinked a few times, and then proceeded to list my concerns. “Well, Mrs. Campbell, that is so annoying! Is the on demand movie you want to watch on HBO?” I replied in the affirmative. “Well, Mrs. Campbell, are you an HBO customer?”


This gave me pause. I have been watching HBO for a couple of years. Does that make me a customer? I assume so. Bill was still quite cheery. “Well, Mrs. Campbell, let’s try this! Why don’t you turn on HBO right now, and watch it with me on the line, and let’s see if it works.”


So we watched a vampire movie together quite companionably for about five minutes. Nothing happened. I ventured as to how this seemed like a waste of time. “Well, Mrs. Campbell, why don’t you try unplugging your cable box and then plugging it back in?”


I dutifully unplugged and replugged. Bill was confident. “I think that we have solved the problem. Let us know if you need any further assistance.” Bill was obviously tired of the whole thing. He couldn’t get rid of me fast enough.


I turned the television back on. I thought I would try demanding another movie. That demand was also not met. So I called the cable company back. This time, I was sincerely and effusively greeted by Mala, who lives and works in the Philippines. Mala confided in me that my problems were most likely  caused by my router. She asked me to unplug it. I told Mala in no uncertain terms that my problem was not going to be solved by the unplugging, because Bill and I had been over that already. Mala was very sorry, and told me that she thought the best thing would be for her to call a technician personally to tell him/her about my issues. Mala, very soothingly, assured me that she was sure the technician would be horrified that I am having so much trouble watching The Marriage Ref and demanding movies. So horrified that he/she would call me right back. That was two days ago.


So today I called Bill again. Bill was still happy and responsive, and he was shocked to hear that Mala had led me astray. “Well, Mrs. Campbell, I am going to just put you on hold right now, and call Mala. We’ll get to the bottom of this!” I held.


Bill got back on the line. “Mrs. Campbell, you will never guess what? Our technical department’s computers are down! We are experiencing some computer shut downs.”


I asked Bill if they had tried unplugging them. He wasn’t amused. “Mrs. Campbell, I assure you that we will do everything we can to solve your problems. Meanwhile, there will be a survey in the mail asking you about my service. If you fill that out, telling them what a good job I have done for you, you will receive a free month of HBO on demand services.”


Have you ever pondered the U-verse, and realized just how little and insignificant you really are?


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  • Bridget Straub

    There is no such thing as customer service anymore, just customer run around. I swear they train their represenatives to talk in circles and put you on hold until you give up.