Wednesday, January 27, 2016


I wasn't out in a field trying to herd cattle into a barn during a hail storm. That's what I told the nice lady on the telephone. She got points for appreciating my patience. She was the fourth person I had talked to since the day began. On the phone. About our cable TV. And Internet. And phone service. It all started as a demonstration of customer loyalty. Or something like that.
A few weeks back, I had called the cable company to see about getting a break on my monthly bill. The fellow in the Customer Loyalty department suggested that I wait a month or so until the start of their new fiscal year, when there would be more deals available. I wanted that: more deals. I wanted to keep the hundreds of cable channels coming into my TV and the blinding fast Internet speed, and a telephone line that would connect me to the company that would give me these things. For a price. I just wanted to be able to talk about that price a little bit.
I have been paying my cable bill, on time, for thirty years. I figured I was due some of that loyal customer love, but first I had to call them up to remind them how loyal I have been all these years. I mentioned this during my first call of the morning, which I figured would be the only one I needed to make. The first nice lady I spoke to listened to me opine about my place in their corporate earnings, and she felt she could help me out. Once I got what I wanted, I pushed the issue just a little more. How about a little something for the effort? Free Showtime? Why not?
The answer to my rhetorical question came a few hours later when I sat down on my couch to watch my new, cheaper TV. Except there was no Showtime. Or HBO. The new deal seemed to have left be with less to watch than more. That wasn't the deal I was after. So I called back. After wading through the first wave of droid prompts, I started talking to a nice gentleman who clicked and clacked a little bit and then opened up my account. Apparently there had been some confusion about which buttons needed to be pushed and which wires got crossed. He made sure that before we hung up that I was happy about what I was seeing on my television. Problem solved, right?
Except that while I was on the line with the cable company, my mother in law was trying  to get in touch with my wife, and had to resort to calling her cell phone because she wasn't able to ring through or leave a message. Our special features were gone. We had our movie channels, but no caller ID or voice mail. I got back on the line again to run the gauntlet one more time. This time, the customer service person listened to my situation and quickly passed me off to a technician. She was very enthusiastic about helping get to the bottom of this now hours-long dilemma. She thanked me for my patience, and that's when I let fly with my comment about herding cattle in a hailstorm. This only served to pump her up even more.
She fixed the problem. We got our voice mail back. We got our caller ID. We got our Showtime. And she gave us a one hundred dollar credit on our bill. Suddenly I felt just great about the time I had spent chatting up the cable company from the relative safety and calm of my living room. For a hundred  dollars, I could make a few phone calls. Or herd cattle in a hailstorm.

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