Entry 11: An Open Letter to Cablevision

Dear Cablevision:

I would like to thank you for making my transition from being a Cablevision customer in Westchester to being a Cablevision customer in Stamford go so smoothly…if, by “smoothly,” we mean “like sliding bare-assed across some sandpaper.”

My installer, Willie, arrived at 2pm for my 8am-11am appointment, which I had scheduled two months in advance, because I work out of the house, so it was somewhat important that my phones and Internet were up and running as soon as possible. Plus, if we do not have Internet access, my wife and daughter go through withdrawal symptoms such as one might see at a Celebrity Rehab Facility.

Willie, a very nice gentleman with a Caribbean accent so thick I couldn’t tell if he was asking if I wanted another phone line or a nickel bag of ganja, seemed perplexed by the set-up I had requested, which was working services.

Okay, I had ordered three phone lines which maybe is a little unusual, but it’s what I had in Westchester. Willie, however, told me he was unable to do this, but proudly explained that he had jerry-rigged my fax line through the Internet or some such thing. Or maybe he said he was going to do the limbo. I really couldn’t tell.

Then he began connecting the living room TV, the part of the installation that I would think the cable TV company would be best at. Although there was a jack right behind where we had positioned the television, Willie insisted that it was a dead jack and he had to use a jack across the room, and asked if I would mind moving the TV over there. When I refused, he asked me how he was supposed to get the cable across the room to where we had so inconsiderably put the television. I then offered two suggestions (I had a third one, but I kept it to myself): first, that he could try to revive the dead jack, possibly with CPR. Failing in that, perhaps he could run the cable from across the room up and over a doorway and down a wall, to which he replied that he only had black staples with which to attach the cable to the wall. I asked him if he did a lot of installations where the people had black walls, and he replied that he would like a Red Stripe. Or maybe he said something else.

So we ended up with a cable going across the livingroom under the rug, so that it looked like there was a very thin snake living there. He then hooked up the other TVs, and turned them on triumphantly, and they didn’t work.

Willie claimed this had something to do with the wrong code on the boxes that you had told me to bring with me from Westchester, so he called his dispatcher, who kept him on hold for one and half hours, during which time Willie roamed my house aimlessly.

Finally he said that he’d be able to program the box remotely once he got the codes, and then he connected the Internet, which then also did not work.

Willie told me that there was a system-wide outage, which was also why he had been on hold for so long, and the Internet would come back when the system did. At least I think that’s what he said. And then he left…three hours after he had arrived.

Of course, the Internet never got going, and the cable box never got coded, so I called your people and complained about the incompetent installation, and they said they’d get someone out between 8 and 11 the next day, and at 4:45 the doorbell rang and it was Willie!

Yes, that’s right. You sent the same incompetent installer to fix his own incompetent installation (and also to bring the remote controls he had neglected to leave the day before).

Remarkably, however, Willie managed to get the TVs working (albeit, without the promised multi-room DVR) and get us online. We still had the snake under our carpet, but at least we could watch TV and my wife and daughter could change their Facebook statuses or whatever the heck they do on Facebook all the time.

The next day I was on the phone with your people again. (And why, by the way, do your tech support people insist on giving their names and call-back numbers if you can never, ever get the same person again?) I was supposed to have the super-duper high-speed Optimum Boost Plus service, with speeds approaching something for which you used to need dilithium crystals (“More speed, Scottie!”) and instead, my Internet connection was barely faster than dial-up. I truly expected to hear that annoying nails-on-blackboard screech the old modems used to make.

It turned out that Willie had used the wrong modem. So a (thankfully) new guy came out, only two hours late for the appointment, and connected the right modem. While he was at it, he fiddled around in the attic and brought back from the dead the jack behind the living room TV, so we no longer had sub-carpeting reptiles in our house.

In total, it took three weeks, three tech visits (all hours late), a dozen calls to tech support, and about two days worth of my life to get my Triple Play up and running the way it is supposed to.

And yes, you have a monopoly where I live now, so you’re a necessary evil. But the way technology is developing, you won’t be necessary for too much longer.

Then you’ll just be evil.

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One Response to Entry 11: An Open Letter to Cablevision

  1. Pingback: Entry 177: Fifteen Lessons Learned from Hurricane Sandy | The Upsizers

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