Daily Archives: October 12, 2007

Coulda knocked me over with a feather

Took my equipment up to the Comcast office in Rockville today. Was dreading it after the time we’d had with the service (although the people were always nice enough – except for that nasty contractor). I stood in line for about 20 minutes and was seen by a cordial gentleman. At Comcast in Rockville they have plate glass covered cubicles and you have to slide the equipment through a 4×12″ opening. I wonder if they feel threatened.

The man behind the counter coolly, but cordially asked me to slide him the pieces of equipment one at a time and I did so, not so coolly, but cordially. He asked for my telephone number, then asked if I wanted to port the number elsewhere. I told him I had already done so. Then he looked at his screen, and quietly said, can I ask you a question? I said he could. He asked when we began having the problems. I said early August. He asked if anyone had switched the modem, I said yes, someone did at the end, but the issues still happened. He kept on shaking his head as he entered the equipement into the computer. I then got out my checkbook, opened it and waited for him to tell me how much the final bill would be. (I expected something around $75, but also expected a fight because we were leaving early (even though we never signed the contract). When we were done he said it was not going to cost anything. I must have looked shocked because he said, put your checkbook away. And apologized for the poor service.

Wow. All I can say is Wow!

Then again, this is Comcast. Perhaps the folks out in the Billing land won’t get the memo.

Verizon, phone support & wildlife

So yesterday morning a Verizon FiOS guy came by and installed FiOS to our house. It went smoothly enough and the technician was nice enough. I guess my recent rash of Comcast issues has left me with a bitter taste in my mouth when it comes to cable techs. The Verizon guy did comment on the bird’s nest of telephone wires in the ceiling of the basement though. He thought it would be a problem, but when he hooked up the phones everything seemed to be working fine. He’d forgotten an extra HDMI cable, so returned about an hour after he left and hooked up our second HD tv.

At 2:30 when the kids weren’t home yet, I picked up the phone to see if I’d missed a message, and there as no dial tone. Here we go again, I thought. It was like it was Christmas Day and my favorite present didn’t work correctly. I’d had such high hopes in Verizon. I was about to call Verizon when Clare and Andrew walked in the door. Clare shouted that we needed to run back to school so she could turn in a permission slip and check for a NYC field trip with her art class. Andrew stopped me on the steps with the news that his shiny new fancy cell phone had been stolen.

Let’s stop here and review my reaction to that news. A good mother would have sat down and said something like, “Oh no Andrew! That’s terrible. I know you liked that phone a lot. You must feel just awful.” I am not a good mother. I closed my eyes, took a breath and said, “You’ll have to buy the next one – and it will be $150 instead of $50 this time.” What an ass I am! He obviously was hurting and I just made it worse.

So I took Clare to school to hand in her check and permission slip. On the way she wondered why I was so upset about the phones (Andrew’s cell and our Verizon issue). She said that if that’s what got me angry I was a lucky person – meaning, I suppose, that I had no real issues about which to be angry. Of course she had a point. She’s pretty cool that way.

When we got back home I did let Andrew know I felt sorry that his phone was stolen, and that he must feel awful. Of course it was too late, the damage was done, but perhaps it made him feel a little better. Maybe?

I then called Verizon about the phones being out:

Verizon (very cheerful male synthesized voice): Thank you for calling Verizon your Broadband and communications company! Para continuar en español la prensa 2. For Billing press 1. For Internet press 2 for everything else, press 3.

Me: [Pressed 3]

V erizon (very cheerful female synthesized voice): Please say or type your ten digit telephone number.

Me: 301-555-5555 (not really my telephone number of course – but I did tell Verizon the real one)

Verizon: Thank you! You said 301-555-5855 Is this correct?!

Me: No

Verizon: Oh, I’m sorry! Please say or type your ten digit telephone number again!

Me: 301-555-5555

Verizon: Thank you! You said 301-555-5555! Is this correct?

Me: Yes

Verizon: Great. Just wait a moment until I pull up your records.


Verizon: How may I help you today? Say phone for telephone problems, Internet for Internet problems or TV for television problems.

Me: Phone

Verizon: Oh, I’m sorry to hear that you are having phone problems. What is the problem? If you have no dial tone, say: No dial tone.

Me: No dial tone.

Verizon: Oh, I’m sorry to hear that. Let’s see if we can troubleshoot your problem. Ok, many phone problems are because of faulty wiring…(at this point I was not paying attention because I saw medium sized dog trotting up the middle of the street. I wondered where its owner was. As the dog got closer thought, perhaps it wasn’t a dog after all. Maybe it was a huge opossum (it had no hair on its tail) or a coyote (it looked like a scruffy dog, but was not as big as I assumed coyotes to be)

Me: FOX!

Verizon: I think you said box. Is that correct? I’m afraid I don’t understand.


Verizon: Can you repeat that? I didn’t understand. Or press 3 for an agent.

Me: [pressed three]

Clare: Wow. Mom a fox. It’s trembling. What’s wrong? [grabbing camera and heading towards door]

Verizon (human male voice): Hello, how may I help you today

Me: No! Clare don’t go outside. It looks sick.

Verizon: I’m sorry?

Me: Oh, sorry. There is a scary looking animal outside. I’m calling because my phones have no dial tone.

Verizon: I see here that you just had it installed two days ago.

Me: No, it was installed two hours ago

Verizon: Hmm, let me run some tests. Hold on.

Me: OK. [looking out window and addressing Clare] Oh no, it’s on the porch. I need to call animal control. Maybe it has rabies.

Verizon: It seems that the problem is inside your house. There may be some faulty wiring. Let’s do some troubleshooting.

Me: Oh my God! It looks really sick. And scary looking.

Verizon: Do you think this scary animal might have damaged the phone wires?

Me: No, I need to call animal control. It might have rabies and I can’t because my other phones don’t work.

Verizon: Let’s do some troubleshooting…..

Me: Clare – where is it now?

Clare: In the backyard.

Verizon: If you need to go and call about this animal, I understand. Just call us back and say agent.

Me: Yeah, that would make sense.

So it turned out it probably has the mange (and not rabies) according to the “Wildlife nuisance” number I dialed. The very calm man on the phone told me not to worry, don’t feed it and call back if it was aggressive.

Note: I searched Mangy Fox on google and found that in July 2004 a mysterious creature was roaming Maryland. It turned out to be a mangy fox and not, in fact, a chupacabra

Note 2: Our phones now work. The tech came back and played with the nest of phone wires (he’d previously commented on). After a couple of tries it all worked fine. To be on the safe side, I opted for the wire insurance plan Verizon offers.