They don’t care. They don’t have to care. They’re the phone company.

Well, that was a fun three days of forced vacation.

Words can’t describe my level of annoyance with the phone company. Or rather, no words that meet the PG-13 guidelines for this blog.

It happened the middle of Tuesday afternoon. A line of moderate thunderstorms passed to the north of us. We could hear the thunder, but the storm was two or three miles away. No big deal — it didn’t seem necessary to put up one of our weather warning posts.

Then the lights flicked on and off for a split second. Just a blip — it wasn’t even enough to reset any of the electric clocks in the house. But the internet went out. Natch. The phone kept working, but no more DSL.

I had to go grocery shopping. When I came home, the internet was still out, so I called the phone company and didn’t oprima nueve para español. After going through the usual rigmarole, the tech had me reboot the modem, unplug and replug the modem, etc., etc. He checked the status of the server, and said there were no malfunctions at that end. There was nothing else that could be done remotely.

I spent an hour or so on the phone with two levels of technician (the lowest flunky and then his supervisor), and could get no help except that they would send someone out on Saturday April 1. That’s when I got annoyed and had the flunky put me through to the supervisor. I try not to give guys at the lowest levels a hard time, because they really can’t do anything more — they are constrained in their responses. So I told them I was speaking for the recording (because they record everything), and then proceeded to give an earful to the higher-ups who might eventually listen to the recording. I didn’t get obscene or anything — that’s not my style — but I was, shall we say, emphatic.

The most I could get from them was that they would escalate the ticket, so that the local area supervisor out here in Bigfoot County could make a decision on whether or not to pay attention to our measly little problem. But all the technicians in our area (probably all two of them) were booked up until April 1, so we couldn’t expect any help until Saturday at the earliest.

And that was that.

I had a few choice words to say about the phone company after I hung up. And then we hunkered down to wait.

I used other means to put a message through to Vlad and Henrik, who were eventually able to put up posts and approve comments.

Then this afternoon the internet suddenly and mysteriously came back to life. The technician never showed up here, so whatever was done to fix it — a problem that couldn’t be fixed remotely — was done remotely.

Later today I’m going to call the phone company and try to find out why they were able to do something they said they couldn’t do, and why it took three days to do it. But I can’t spend too much time on it — I’ve got a heck of a lot of work here to catch up on.

[Additional choice words about the telephone company redacted for violating Gates of Vienna’s standards of decorum.]

10 thoughts on “They don’t care. They don’t have to care. They’re the phone company.

  1. This reminds me of the untenable situation in which we were left without electricity – i.e., heat and water – some years ago. I’ll spare you the story of why we can’t use wood heat to say that at the very next fund-raiser I asked for help in having a gas cooker installed. It has saved us any number of times…and we keep potable water on hand.

    When we removed ourselves from blogspot (after its acquisition by Google that quaint idea – customer service – disappeared in the downsizing). Then they began playing passive-aggressive games with our website (sometimes on, sometimes not) so we read the Leftist writing on the wall and ‘migrated’ to WordPress. I can never thank Henrik enough for the work he did.

    WP is much friendlier, but without the acres and acres of firewall protection…thus began the era of DOS attacks. Finally, we purchased good firewall protection but it means a big fat nuisance to allow anyone else to act as moderator. Every time we go down, it changes our IP address…

    Eventually, we reached Vlad and Henrik, our techie in Denmark and thus came back to half-life. The DSL provided by our phone co seems to be getting worse and even more, their response is the kind you get from a monopoly, which they are in this area. The customer service for a widespread outage is fairly good, but for one or two customers? Don’t hold your breath.

    So, as we did last time with the heat and water problem, we’ll figure out a work-around – and I sure hope we’ve got it figured before the summer thunderstorms start up again. What worked before – i.e., move to a motel and post from there, doesn’t work with our present set-up. We’re so well protected from hackers that even we can’t access the blog easily except from here…

    We’ll keep you posted. Meanwhile, I wore a hole in the floor pacing…all the things I needed to research were closed to me. I was almost ready to go to the library…

  2. A whole other network at the flick of a switch..That’s all I can say guys..Redundant network?..Somehow?..

  3. I am currently in a battle with our electric company here on Long Island. Their graph claims that we had an extraordinary spike in usage last October that has driven our “balanced billing” payment up $60/month.
    I exclaimed to them what could possibly have done that, driven the usage up 50% in one month. They told me it was the heat and humidity…
    Looking at their graph I responded the the ave. temp. was the same as last year 71 and that we would not be running fans, etc. at that temp, in fact we do not have AC of any type.
    I insisted that someone come out here and check out our usage as this is ridiculous.
    We are now paying $190/mo for two people, two laptops and a fish tank!

    So… the inspector will be here at the end of April. If he/she wants to claim our appliances are old and they suck a lot of juice, did they suck less juice last year?

    Every time I open up the electric bill I wonder what the schizophrenics want from me this month because “balanced billing” it is not. I wonder how families with a tight budget deal with these issues. I know that if the boys still lived here I would have a tough time putting dinner on the table. Lots of beans and rice, potatoes and bread…
    Actually, if you want to save money buy soda and ice cream! They are the cheapest things in the grocery store! No wonder everyone is obese.

    • Obesity: yes, cheap ice cream and sodas (esp the so-called “diet” variety) but low-end pastas of all kinds with those pre-packaged “flavor” packets full of the kinds of glutamate which serve to inflame muscle and brain tissue and wreak havoc on the endocrine system.

      Don’t forget all the various forms of sugar. I ordered some ranch dressing mix from a reputable (“reputable” no longer) online bulk retailer of nuts and dried fruits/veggies. The first ingredient in this powdered dressing was maltodextrin and it went downhill from there. IIRC there were four versions of sugar, much like the ingredients list on a box of raisin bran.

      Someone has finally come out with a ketchup that has no High Fructose Corn Syrup.

      If there is such a thing as reincarnation, those Big Food CEOs will return as residents of pig parlors for their short existence. They’ll be crowded together so densely that many of them won’t have room to stand, and forced to eat lots of anti-biotics and hormones before some undocumented refugee with TB zaps them and then prepares them for your table. It couldn’t happen to a nicer bunch of fellows.

      It’s gotten so bad that even our low-end grocery stores are beginning to offer the basic fresh vegetables in organic forms. YEAH!! They are selling well, too. If you’ve grown your own veggies you know which ones are likely to be high on the “dirty dozen” list…peas were on last year but not this one. However, the variety of pea grown for organic purposes proved to be so sturdy that we grew to like them better than the green squish.

      BTW, Babs, I used to teach budget nutrition when I worked at a woman’s shelter. It really was a matter of not knowing for most of them. I mean I developed one lesson called “Broccoli 101” after finding out they didn’t know what broccoli was. Those lessons were fun. Partway through my work years there, we began to get Mexican women, brought into town from the fields by some of the nurses who made home visits. Their babies were healthy so we began a cross-cultural exchange on beans and corn…

    • Good luck with the elec company. That’s a city-hall kinda fight. Make them bring a five or ten-year record of your usage and have calendars for previous years. Weather Underground has them going back monthly for a number of years.

      I don’t keep much paperwork for house stuff, but I do document our electric usage. I used to do it for “fun” but when we had a huge unexplained hike, I became Eagle Eye. It was only because some defective plumbing pipe finally degraded (right on time, according to the guy who replaced it) that we found our Heating Surprise. Unknown to us, the HVAC duct work had fallen from their connections and were lying partly in the water from the defective pipes. But mainly they were blowing hot air into our crawl space. The crawl space is lined so we paid someone who’s retired from HVAC work to go under the house and replace and/or reconnect all the duct work. We also found another company to do our HVAC repairs and such, since the people we’d had for years should have known about the fallen ducts…had they bothered to look.

      It was because I monitor the bill that I knew something was wrong, but I didn’t immediately connect it to the fact that during the summer, the B was sweltering up there in his attic office. Once the ducts were reconnected, there was no need for further a.c.s to make his work area bearable…from then on it cooled off normally.

      Learning curves are expensive – you never know what you’ll meet coming ’round the bend.

      Our bill is somewhat less than yours but we’re in a milder climate. We cook with gas, which has made a big difference or our electric would be bigger than yours. We heat/cool with an upgraded Trane compressor. In addition to the duct work, I think that has been the most money-saving investment we’ve done. The previous one was ten years old and they’ve made lots of improvements.

      THe local fellow who owns the electrical installation and repair shop we switched to showed me the manuals he uses and also described his schedule of classes to keep up his certification. All his techs take some version of this. He expects owners to schedule their own seasonal tune-ups so there is no automatic money grab. Some do it yearly, others do it twice annually.

      If you’re far north enough not to need AC, then it’s not relevant for you. OTOH, whatever heat/cool system you have in place, investing in an expert’s time to look over what’s in place and advise would help you in your ‘discussion’ with the electric co.

      I have homework to do myself: figuring out if our perfectly serviceable Maytag refrigerator should, after 15 years, be replaced with something far more energy efficient. I love this thing, it keeps food better than any refrigerator I’ve ever used. So I have to figure out how long it would take to see our money back if we got a new one. I may not live long enough to care. Back when the B was employed I got one of those smaller front loader washing machines and it’s VERY energy efficient. No matter how much I level it, though, with our uneven pine floors, it can sometimes sound like a jet taking off.

  4. On the one hand you seem to be paraphrasing Lily Tomlin’s Ernestine and on the other hand you seem to be channeling James Coburn’s 1967 movie The President’s Analyst. Well done either way.

  5. It hardly takes anything to knock the Internet out. It was probably a card at one of their terminals. But, sometimes it takes a great deal of time to track down exactly where the problem is. And, what appears to be a little glitch on your end might have very little or nothing to do with the glitch on their end.

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