Comcast has got to be the most frustrating company in the world to its customers. When you live in Chicago you have few options, unless you are willing to abandon cable completely, which I know is a growing trend; however one that Lindsay and I haven’t entirely bought into as of yet. If we weren’t a couple that watched so much sports on television – from college football and basketball on ESPN to the NBA on TNT, then the decision regarding whether or not to keep our cable subscription would probably swing in the other direction, but after you combine the amount of sports that cable offers, which can only otherwise be viewed by going to a bar or inviting yourself over to your cable ready buddy’s place, with the ease of DVRing or watching On Demand new episodes of shows at your convenience, it’s must easier to justify keeping cable.
Of course I say all this as someone who is currently frustrated (to put it lightly) with Comcast; however it’s hard for me to be too incensed since I knew full well that Comcast was quite possibly the worst company that didn’t steal zillions of dollars and greatly contribute to our recent financial crisis. Lindsay and I decided to bite the bullet and subscribe to Comcast as our cable and Internet provider, even though we’ve both experienced their less than stellar service in the past, for our new apartment because we literally had no other cable options. AT&T U-Verse, a seemingly viable alternative, does not yet offer cable in our area and installing a dish isn’t possible at the apartment where we live; therefore the decision ultimately came down to Comcast or nothing.
Right off the bat there was an issue with our set up, which the technician claimed was a problem with the specificity of the work order that didn’t fully inform him of the services we were requesting, and as a result of this mix up he didn’t have the capability to get us completely set up. Of course this means that we needed to make a second appointment, which is no small feat for a couple of professionals who work between Comcast’s primary 8-6 service hours, but this initial problem ultimately wasn’t the end of the world since the only consequence was that we wouldn’t have TV in our bedroom for a few months. Our cable and Internet service began around August 1st and since then I have been waiting for the first windy or rainy day to knock it out for any length of time, but through several blustery nights and a hail storm that nearly led to my car being split in half we never had so much as a blip in our Internet or cable service.
Then of course we come to yesterday, a mere 5½ weeks into our new relationship with Comcast, where after a long day at work, which included almost 5-hours on the court putting our players through individual workouts, all I wanted to do once I got home around 8:30pm was make something to eat and watch my Cubs finish off an easy (and rare) 9-1 win over our division rival the Cincinnati Reds. It takes a second for our TV to fully turn on so while that process was taking place I went into the bedroom and began unpacking my work bag. When I emerged from the room a minute or two later I was expecting to see the game, but instead all I saw was a black screen with an error message and the Comcast promise that the channel would be restored soon. Obviously my next move was to check the Internet, and after discovering (to no surprise) that it also wasn’t working, I called Comcast customer support so that I could take my place on hold.
About ten minutes later I spoke with a very nice woman from somewhere outside of Chicago, which I know because after she had me verify my address promptly asked me if we had experienced any inclement weather recently that could have contributed to the outage. If there had been a severe rain storm or some other type of terrible weather that led to the outage then I wouldn’t have been upset with Comcast since these types of scenarios are out of their control and largely unavoidable, but since it had been warm and sunny for the past several days I was trying my hardest not to take out any of my growing frustration on the customer service lady who was trying her best to help solve my problem.
After about 20 minutes on the phone we had exhausted her troubleshooting checklist and with my cable and Internet issues still unresolved she finally suggested, as a last resort, that I set up an appointment for a technician to come out and see if they could diagnose the cause of my cable and Internet ailments. I clearly wasn’t happy with this solution but I had no other choices, except for the sole one I had back in August as to whether I should subscribe to Comcast or simply live without cable, so I did the only thing I could and made the appointment for Friday during the late afternoon. Shortly after my appointment was confirmed I hung up the phone and then spent the rest of the evening brooding about how it was my damn dependence on cable that got me into this inevitable predicament, so ultimately I had no one to blame for my frustration but myself.