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Wildly Exaggerated: I Got SERVED.

Saturday, March 17, 2012


In the last few weeks, I've felt exponentially more optimistic about life in general. Maybe it was finally getting enough sleep. Maybe it was the Girl Scout Cookies. Maybe it was the discovery of a K-Cup I can finally love. Maybe - maybe - it had something to do with the meds that balanced my brain chemistry so I didn't feel *quite* so much like lying on the couch until I starved to death. WHO CAN SAY?

The point is, I was flying way too close to the sun, so I did the only reasonable thing I could do. The only thing that would bring me back down to the level of abject misery on which the rest of the country lives 24/7. I did the thing...that could irretrievably destroy a good mood.

I called Customer Service.

I love Customer Service. I love everything about it. I love the dystopic sound of a robot on the verge of tears as it starts every sentence with "I'm sorry..."! I love the even more dystopic sound of the human being who finally picks up where the robot left off, terrified, knowing I'm already seething as she reads from a script that requires her to thank me for literally everything I do or say in the course of our conversation! But the thing I love most is that the end of a Customer Service call is never really "Goodbye", but merely, "I'll call you right back, even more pissed than I already am, since you've routed me to this dead-end and refuse to fix my problem". 

It all started when I decided to switch from AT&T to Comcast, because I wanted faster internet, and Comcast could give me that *plus* a more useful cable connection for less! Wonderful! I signed up online, which was super great, because who's gonna give me better customer service than ME? Nobody, that's who! And I can prove it! The process of finalizing my order with Comcast involved a quick little live chat with a New Account Specialist Or Whatever. He informed me that my number could be ported, but not yet, because AT&T needed to "release" it. I was assigned a temporary interim number, to be replaced with the old one once it was free. So I called AT&T!

Here's what you experience when you talk to the AT&T Robot:
ROBOT: Thank you for calling AT&T! I see you're calling from [your phone number, read out in a slow voice that takes only ten short minutes of your life]! Is that the number associated with the account you are calling about?
ROBOT: Great! Now can you tell me, in a few words, what it is you're calling about today?
ROBOT: You can say "I want to sign up for U-Verse TV" or "I'd like to order another U-Verse box"
ME: (muttering to myself) Really? Can I also tell you where you can shove U-Verse?
ROBOT: It sounds like you're calling to set up U-Verse! Is that correct?
ROBOT: (long pause) Now can you tell me, in a few words, what it is you're calling about today?
ROBOT: You can say "I need technical support" or "I'd like more information on U-Verse"
ROBOT: Hang on while I get more information... It looks like AT&T just received a payment from you! Would you like to hear the details of this payment?
ED NOTE: This is by far the dumbest part of the whole stupid spiel. Obviously they've done this because most people are calling about their bills(?) but if you're going to assume that's why I'm calling, WHY DID I HAVE TO TELL YOU WHY I'M CALLING? Also, I don't know what the rest of you people are doing, but when I make a payment, I already know the details of that payment. Because I made it. I don't need it read to me. I'd also like to point out that in two days, I called AT&T FIVE TIMES, and I got to hear the "recent payment" crap EVERY SINGLE TIME. 

So when the robot first passed me to a person, I told her what I needed and she gave me a different number to call. She conveyed the number with an air of authority and unshakeable confidence, so it never crossed my mind that this might not be the right number. I thanked her, hung up, and called the number. I'd provide a transcript here, but I can't. Because the robot at that number only spoke Spanish. I let it run through its options, waiting for the English equivalent of the standard "Para EspaƱol, marque el numero dos!" message. Nothin'. So I hung up and, figuring I had misdialed, tried again. Same result. I began to wonder if the friendly AT&T lady had somehow gotten the impression that I spoke Spanish, despite my accent-free English in our entirely English-language exchange. Finally I gave up and called the standard AT&T Robot back. We went through the same song-and-dance as before, in which he read me my phone number in the same amount of time it took to build the pyramids, asked what I wanted twice, didn't know what the hell I was talking about, offered to read my last payment aloud to me, and finally offered to hand me off to a human being. When the AT&T Robot picked up this call, it was 5:57pm. By the time he offered to hand me to a human, it was 6:01, and instead of hearing a human, I heard the Robot saying, "We're sorry, this office is closed for the day. Please try again tomorrow." 

So I did. I tried again the next day. I let him pat himself on the back for knowing my number, I yelled gibberish at him when he asked what I needed (makes no difference to him!), he told me I had recently paid an obscene amount of money for this crappy service as if this information might come as a surprise to me, then connected me to a person. I told this person that I needed my number liberated for porting. She said, "Please hold while I connect you". There was a click. Silence. Another click. Silence. Click. Hold music. Click. Silence. Click. 

ROBOT: Thank you for calling AT&T! I see you are calling from...

So we did it AGAIN, with me now screaming unintelligibly at the Robot, who moved unperturbed through his script, not registering my bloodboiling rage because why would he? He hasn't listened to a word I've said EVER! This time, when the human picked up, I was ready. "DON'T HANG UP!," I yelled before she could speak, like a kidnap victim who's finally gotten through to an ex-friend who is now her only hope of rescue. I explained my request once more, but this time I added, "I have talked to your robot four times, but he DOESN'T KNOW HOW TO HELP ME! And the last lady I talked to just gave me back to the robot. Please. Please. I don't want to talk to the robot again." (Yes, I literally said this. That is how crazy Customer Service makes me.)

Fortunately, this nice lady was able to help me, insofar as she could tell me that the number is free for porting, and Comcast has their info screwed up. In other words: Call Customer Service! And I will. As soon as I get approval to quadruple my psych meds. 

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