Saturday, July 9, 2011

Please Direct Me To Looney Land

As I implied in my last novella, the rest of the day continued in a downward spiral.  The direct TV guys installed the dish on my house, hooked up all the televisions, gave me a two-minute tutorial and were out the door at 5:30 p.m.

Awesome, I thought.  That went well.  I have TV, I have a phone, now I’ll hook up my new modem and get my lightening fast internet working.  Full of hope and optimism I pulled out the directions, read them carefully and proceeded to install the modem.  Everything started out fine – until I got the “modem did not install correctly” message.  I had two options – I could retry the automated process or attempt to plug in the information manually.  The automated way didn’t work so I chose manually, which, you guessed it, did not work either.  My only other option was to call the Qwest help line.  Which I did.  

Mr. Helpful walked me through various and sundry steps and checks and shut-downs and restarts all to no avail.  I was on the phone with him for 38 minutes.  I know this because I was on my cell phone and I could see the minutes add up.  I was on my cell phone because I trusted my Qwest land line as much as I trust Shadow not to sneak in and snack in the litter box every chance she gets.  

During this marathon conversation Dean came home from work, turned on the TV in the kitchen in preparation to make dinner (because he can’t cook without television) and hollered down the stairs “where’s PBS?”  I, of course, being on the phone, could not reply.  Again he’s yelling down the stairs, “I can’t find the PBS station!  Where’s the PBS station?”  “ I don’t know.  It’s different on Direct TV than it was on cable.  I’m on the phone!”  Back to Mr. Helpful.  “Sorry….can you repeat that please.  My husband was yelling at me.” 

The fruitless attempts to connect my laptop continue on.  There is a lot of sighing from Mr. Helpful who cannot understand why the modem is working and I can connect if I’m using the Ethernet cord, but I cannot connect wirelessly.  As Mr. Helpful is talking to me I hear, from the top of the stairs, “When are you going to be finished?  When should I have dinner ready?  How long will you be?”  Of course I cannot answer.  I am SPEAKING to somebody on the telephone.  So I ignore it.  Mr. Helpful is still sighing.  Pretty soon, Dean comes down the stairs, stands in front of me – as I am talking on the phone – and says “how much longer will it be?  Are you almost finished?”  “I · Don’t · Know!  You go ahead and eat.”

Finally, at minute 38, Mr. Helpful sighed deeply and admitted defeat – sort of.  He decided it was Toshiba’s fault.  I was told to call Toshiba and give them some number he read off to me because he had gone beyond his duties as Mr. Helpful.  Even giving me the number was above and beyond the call of duty and then he proceeded to tell me what a pleasure it was to “help” me just before he hangs up. 

By this time Dean has been down the stairs again to see if I was still talking on the phone, my blood pressure was above and beyond healthy, and my stomach feels like I could grill the dinner I’m not eating in it.  I drag myself up the stairs and am met with “look at this!  I can’t get PBS!  It says ‘no subscription.’”  I am sure that can't be right and he must just have the wrong channel.  So back down I go, to my computer with the internet that only works while hard wired to the modem and search the Direct TV site for the PBS station channel.  “Try this” I holler up.  “That’s the one I’m on!” he hollers back.  “It says ‘no subscription’.”   

The last thing I want to do is place a phone receiver anywhere near my ear but it’s Friday night and I know Dean will require therapy if he can’t see Brooks and Shields so I pick up the phone again and dial Direct TV.  “Please, I whimper.  I have a simple question.  I’ve only just gotten Direct TV and I don’t really know how to use it and I can’t find a channel line up so pleeeeze, if you could just tell me the channel number for PBS.”  “I’m sorry.  You do not have PBS as part of your channel lineup.  You get no local stations in your area.  But you can purchase the LA PBS station for $2.50/month.” “Seriously?  I don’t have PBS??!”  “No.  Sorry.”  “That ssssss….” – and this is where, in the two seconds it took me to say the next word, I ran through a whole discussion with myself in my head.  Should I say sucks?  Should I say stinks?  Sucks is such a tacky, lower-class word.  I’m not tacky.  I shouldn’t let anger and stress bring me down to the tacky word level.  She doesn’t deserve that.  It’d be near to swearing at her.  But damn, am I pissed and I’ve wasted my whole afternoon dealing with one unresolved issue after another and damn it I just don’t care anymore and I mentally flipped off Emily post.  “That ssssssucks!”  Then I thought for a minute.  How will I tell Dean we don’t have PBS?  No Brooks and Sheilds?  No Doc Martin?  No Masterpiece Mystery?  “Okay.  Add it.”  Which she did.

Back upstairs I go.  “Well…………….I guess we don’t get PBS.  We have to pay $2.50/month to get it.  Because we don’t get any local programming.  So I added it.”  I’ll just say that didn’t go over well with Mr. PBS-less and within 15 seconds I was walking back downstairs and calling Direct TV to cancel our brand new, I used four hours of vacation to be home to get, PBS-less, two-hour old, Direct TV service.  I am somewhat, although not very, ashamed to say I played the angry husband card when I called.  In my defense I wasn’t sure if they’d make me pay horrific cancellation charges and I wanted to immediately garner as much sympathy as possible.  Here’s how it went:  

“Direct TV … hello, blah, blah, how are you?”
“I’ve been better.”
“Excellent”  pause  “oh, you said you’ve been better?  Well at least you’re not bad, right?” 
“Well, actually I’m not good.”
“OK, then how can I help you?”
“I just got direct TV today, actually we’ve had it for only two hours now, and we do not get PBS, or CBS, or NBC, or nightly news or things I used to be able to get with Bresnan and my husband is very, very unhappy.  He’s really, really not happy.  I told him I would cancel it.  So I just want to cancel it and I’m going back to Bresnan.”
Mr. Direct TV does some checking and realizes we do not get any local programming but he has a solution.  “What if we get you some bunny ears so you can get outside stations.  Then you can get PBS and those other stations.”
“Are you kidding?  Bunny ears?  That’s ancient stuff.  No.”
“Oh, no.  They’re not old.  We’d get you new ones.”
“Seriously?  No.  I don’t want bunny ears on three TVs that I have to adjust all the time and will not get good reception.  I’m going back to Bresnan and I just want to cancel this service and I don’t think I should be charged a fee because I’ve only had it for two hours.  Literally two hours.”

I’ll give him credit.  It didn’t take him long to realize he had a nearly crazed woman on the other end of the phone and he gave up quickly.  He cancelled the service and promised me that since I had cancelled within 24 hours I would not be charged a cancellation fee.  All I have to do is send back the receivers, remotes and some kind of internal card when I get the send-back-information-packaging in the mail.  

“But what about the dish?  On the roof? Will I send that back?”
“Oh, no.  You got that free as part of the ‘deal’ so you can keep that.”

Once again Miss Techno Angel had been watching out for me because I had not yet cancelled Bresnan.  I just didn’t want to do that until I was sure the satellite dish would get a good signal.  So after I downed my dinner of the big gin and tonic Dean had prepared for me after I’d cancelled the service (purely his own self-preservation) I spent the rest of the evening dismantling everything the Direct TV guys had done, and putting back all the Bresnan boxes, cables, etc..  And nothing worked.  Because there is probably a cable disconnected somewhere or hooked into a now useless satellite dish sitting on my roof. 

Last night, when I called Bresnan after all my attempts to get the TVs working failed, Miss Helpful Bresnan was so upset I didn’t have ANY televisions working that she put me at the “top” of today’s service calls.  I don’t think I could have gotten a stronger reaction from her if I’d told her I’d just cut off my arm.

And that is why I have been staying near the phone since 8:00 a.m. this morning, once again wasting my day, waiting for the Bresnan repair guy to call and tell me he’s on his way over to magically make everything right again.  But at least my laptop mysteriously began working this morning even though I disregarded Mr. Helpful Qwest's suggestion. Oh, and if anybody needs a brand new Direct TV satellite dish.  I know where you can get one.



Abby said...

I hate waiting for people to show up. And I hate having things not work. Sometimes it's better just to stick with what you had, except you never know that until you're in this kind of mess. Good luck.

The Fuhrmans said...

Do I need to bring by a cocktail ASAP? Sounds beyond frustrating. Can I ask what happens to your "package" if you drop satellite?

Art Elser said...

Oh my!! I'm so glad I don't work for Qwest any more. You'd hate me by association. And when I come up to Casper, you'd have the state cops turn me around at the county line. ;-)

Is there a possibility of letting Dean do the techno stuff since he's, at least according to Al, a scientist, and they deal with techno stuff every day.

I'm glad that Bresnan let you back in the door after you associated with those Qwest weenies. But you can smile because Qwest is becoming CenturyLink. Doesn't that make you happy? Now your friendly Mr Helpful will speak with a New Orleans accent.