Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Heeeeere's Your Head Thump

Sometimes you need a gentle head-thump (or swift-kick-in-the-keister, depending on the moment) reminder that everyone you come in contact with is dealing with their own unique set of issues, problems, and annoyances. In other words, you're not especially special. You're just like everyone else and they're just like you. Life happens to all of us.

This week's reminder for me was in the form of a gentle head-thump. However, if not for the calming presence of my cooler-headed hubster, things might have gotten completely out of control. Thankfully, he made a special effort to come home and help me deal with the situation. Yeah, I think I'll keep him.

It all started when we switched over to a satellite dish company, which shall remain nameless because who needs that potential hassle? I did that once before and it was a whole opened can, worms everywhere thing for months. Anyway, after several months and a conversation with a friend who uses a different satellite dish company, it dawned on me that we could be missing some vital services. Specifically, could we get In Demand movies and programs? Up to now, I had assumed the original technician didn't talk to us about that service because we live in the boonies. We've learned to live without a lot of things out here, so it was no big deal. BUT, if my friend was right, this was a service we should have and were actually already paying for it.

Having learned a thing or three the hard way, I went to their web site and clicked on the "Chat with a Rep" box. Why not just call them? Because, my dears, if you have an online chat, you can get an actual transcript of the entire conversation. Uh, huh. That way, you have everything IN WRITING, just in case things go sideways later. And things almost always go sideways later. Or at least they do for me. And, if you have a regular phone conversation, it will always be their word against yours, or whatever notes they choose to make (or not make) on your file.

The online chat went surprisingly well. I asked my question, the rep responded with an apology and said the original technician who hooked us up should have also connected us to the Internet for the In Demand programs. She said she would have a technician out the next day to do that, and there would be no charge. Well, all righty then. THAT was easy. Uh, huh. TOO easy. I was already suspicious.

The next day, I got a call from the technician advising he was on his way (just like I had requested). So far, so good. Hubster came home for lunch. Also good. Turns out that was VERY VERY good.  THEN, the technician said, "What am I here for?" *FACE PALM* Yeah, right there on his little handy-dandy tablet, right next to our name and address were the words "Cinema Connection Kit" and next to that it said "DELETED."

I answered with a snort and said, "Well, that would be WRONG. That's exactly what we need, and you're supposed to connect it for us." He asked where the kit was, to which I could only respond with a blank look, because the nice girl I chatted with online said the technician would be bringing it with him. Again, he showed me his tablet where it plainly said "Cinema Connection Kit DELETED." GREEEEEEAAAAAAT! And, because he was looking at me like I was the biggest space case he had seen all week, I shoved the transcript of the online chat at him to prove I wasn't the cRaZY one. I really love being able to prove I'm NOT the cRaZY one.

Lucky for all of us, especially since he works out of an office which is almost 100 miles away, it turned out he did have one Cinema Connection Kit in his truck. Hallelujah! But our mutual relief was short-lived when the next question was, "Do you have wired or wireless Internet service?" Well, I had already been through this with the nice girl I chatted with online, so I thought nothing of it when I said "Wired." The look on his face, however, told me that was the wrong answer. Then, when he said he couldn't hook us up if we weren't wireless, my response was, "Well, we're done here then, because wireless is probably never going to happen out here in the boonies. But I don't understand, because the customer service rep I talked to asked me that question, and she said having wired Internet wasn't a problem." I shoved the transcript at him to prove, again, I was NOT the cRaZY one. How many times do I have to prove that in one day?!

At this point, the technician was being very short with me, and I was beyond aggravated, and it was definitely showing. That's when Hubster sprang into action and skillfully maneuvered the technician out of my office and into the living room where he could speak with him alone. I was smart enough, for once, to keep my keister in my office. Fine. If he could do anything with this guy, I was all for it. He had already reached the end of my medication, and I was ready to send him on his way. (Don't get excited. Benadryl is my drug of choice in the winter. And spring. And fall.) ANYWAY . . .

Next thing I knew, the technician was out back tinking with the phone box. I went in search of Dear Hubster to find out what the heck was going on, and he said the technician had discovered our phone box and Internet connection was set up in a way that COULD be used with the magical Cinema Connection Kit. I don't begin to understand what he actually said, so I can't repeat it here but, apparently, we were in business!

Bing! Bam! Boom! Minutes later we were connected and the technician was showing us all the wonders of the In Demand satellite world. This time my "Hallelujah!" wasn't wasted. It was actually WORK.ING.

Then, something rather surprising happened. The technician turned to us and apologized for being cranky and abrupt when he first arrived. He said he wasn't normally like that, and he didn't want us to think badly of him or the company. Apparently, he had worked a ridiculous number of days without a day off, and he had been scheduled to go on vacation the very day they scheduled him for our job. It was to have been his first vacation in four years. He is the only technician covering our area, and the scheduling-powers-that-be decided they didn't want to put us off until next week. As a result, his entire vacation plan was down the tubes.

Of course, I don't know exactly what his plans were, but I got the distinct impression they involved family and friends, whose plans were also ruined. Yeah, that would make me cranky too. We commiserated and apologized for the part we unknowingly played in crashing his vacation plans, and we all parted smiling. I hope he was able to re-schedule his vacation. I really do feel badly about that.

Looking back on that scenario, I can absolutely tell you that, had Dear Hubster not been here to defuse the situation and get things back on track, that would have gone a completely different direction. I have no doubt I would have asked that technician to leave right after the whole wired or wireless discussion. He would have left in a worse mood than he arrived in, and I would have been fuming. And, then, I would have gotten back on the company's chat and snarked at some poor customer service person. It would have been a whole THING.

It's a fine line sometimes, isn't it? No one wants to be walked on or put up with bad service you're paying good money for and, since that seems to be the norm these days, it makes *ahem* some of us a little quick-on-the-draw. I don't have a hair-trigger temper, but I don't take kindly to getting eight different stories and people wasting my time. Not many of us do. But, then, NEWS FLASH! The people we're dealing with often DO have a legitimate reason for saying what they say and doing what they do. It may be company policies, clerical errors, or personal issues. And, even if it sometimes feels like it, I don't really think most customer service people are out to GET us or give us a hard time just because they can. I think most people really do want to do a good job.

In short, it's just POSSIBLE I have developed some curmudgeonly tendencies. So, I have resolved to go back to the way I used to be and apply a bit more of the Southern Belle touch first. More flies with honey and all that. And, if that doesn't work, well, I'm ready for that too. ;)