It’s Sunday and I should be at a fundraiser for which I’ve purchased a ticket, but I’m home waiting for the cable guy, a perfectly reasonable way to spend a Sunday afternoon when you haven’t had an Internet connection for two days.
My cable and Internet connection disappeared sometime Friday afternoon, late enough to ensure that all calls to the company will be routed to their call center in Mexico.
The nice young man in Mexico, who reads from his script, intended to convince the customer that the customer’s equipment has failed — the cable splitter, the modem, the router, the piece of cable from the splitter to the modem, etc. He’s insistent the modem doesn’t work because he’s sent a signal to the modem to reset and since it hasn’t, the modem must be the problem. No matter how hard I try to explain that if the cable doesn’t work, the modem can’t be reset, he doesn’t get it because it’s not in his script and he’s resolutely following his script.
It is of course too late to pick up a new modem from the local cable office, even if one were needed, which I doubt, so I use the time to test my theory that my cable isn’t working and pledge to myself to look into switching to satellite TV and another Internet provider.
I unhook the electronic mishmash of splitter, modem and other devices, and connect the incoming cable directly to the small television in my home office that still has a cable input, being old and low-tech, which, I’m sure, explains why it’s still working after 20 years. I now have proof the cable is faulty when the screen fills with snow.
I call the cable company back to schedule an appointment with a cable guy and I’m told by another nice young man in Mexico that the system is “down” between Mexico and the U.S. and they can’t schedule an appointment. He is so earnestly trying to help me that I end up apologizing for the annoyance in my voice when I ask to speak to a supervisor. Surely, there’s some phone number in the U.S. I can call to schedule an appointment for the next day, no? No, there isn’t. I must call again Saturday and start over.
Saturday, after adamantly refusing to go through the it-must-be-the-fault-of-the-customer’s-equipment routine, I’m told it is too late to schedule an appointment for the same day, as I suspected. I must be home on Sunday to wait for the cable guy and as luck of the bad draw would have it, it will include the period of time for the fundraiser to which I’ve purchased a ticket.
On Sunday, the cable company calls twice to make sure I will be home, as if I’ve somehow forgotten the appointment overnight and yet again somewhere between the first and second call. I ready myself for the fundraiser just in case I can make some portion of it. I miss yet another call from the company when I’m outside, and when I return the call I assure them for the third time that I am indeed waiting for the cable guy. (Dave Barry fans will recognize this next line: I am not making this up.)
When I get the fourth call from the cable company, they give me an expected time that will allow me to rush to the fundraiser and attend for half an hour before rushing back. As I’m walking out the door, I get call No. 5 from the cable company, but this time it’s the cable guy telling me he’ll be here in 10 minutes.
I elect not to tell the cable guy that four minutes earlier I was assured he would arrive an hour later and I was just about to leave. A bird in the hand is more valuable than a few minutes at a fundraiser and all that.
The cable guy arrives and within minutes he’s single-handedly restored my faith in cable guys everywhere. He quickly confirms the cable in my office has no signal, the modem works fine, and after a reconnoiter of the exterior connections, tells me another cable guy has apparently accidentally disconnected the cable leading to my upstairs office. Accidents happen and this one has followed the unwritten rule that all accidental cable disconnections must occur on Friday evenings so customers will experience Internet withdrawal during the weekend.
This helpful and efficient young man also informs me there were two unnecessary splitters on the cables leading to my office that have gone unnoticed by other cable guys and which he’s now removed. Voila, the cable guy has more than doubled the speed of my high-speed Internet connection which often seemed as slow as a turtle transporting the megabytes on its back.
In one fell swoop I abandon my thoughts of switching Internet providers. There’s nothing like a good cable guy. Thank you, cable guy — next time, I’ll ask for you by name.