Wednesday, September 17, 2008


On a recent Saturday I ordered a bundle of services from AT&T. Ten days later on the designated installation date, eager for hook up, the man who appeared to install the satellite Dish, told me, "I can't give you Dish. You face the wrong way." I had asked the woman who signed me up if my Eastern exposure was OK for dish. "No problem," she assured me, and she and I spent 1 1/2 hours planning my technological future which now looked grim.

Up until this point, my husband was the one who took care of this kind of this stuff. I was quite successful at pawning off this busy work which involved long phone calls and lots of patience. I called my husband to tell him what the guy said, and he casually tossed in an "I told you so," which I casually brushed off. I called AT&T to cancel the whole bundle. I looked at the boxes of equipment AT&T had sent to me; they got my name wrong twice in one order.

Desparate for reliable tv and internet service, plus a new home phone so my seven year old can talk to her friends, I got in my car and drove a few miles to the closest Comcast office. I had tried to retain Comcast before, and had been told my apartment was not serviceable. When it was my turn with the customer service rep, I heard it again, "Sorry. You are unserviceable."

(Rewind: I had been to the office several weeks prior, after hearing that the apartment was unservicable, to prove that I was a new renter who did not stiff them on a bill. I cleared my name and was told everything was cool)

"What makes me unserviceable? What does that mean -- unserviceable? And can I do anything to become serviceable again?"

"No. I don't know what to tell you." Debbracca(De-BRA-kuh)turned her computer screen around to me so i could see the big "X". She told me to take it up with the property owners.

I was frustrated and felt a lump starting to grow in my throat. Why was this so difficult? I left, sat in my car and called the property manager who said, "Let me talk to her."

I walked back into the Comcast center. Debbracca saw me and I know what she was thinking -- "troublemaker." When she was finished with her customer, she beckoned me over with her hand.

"Look, can you please talk to my property manager. She says there's nothing she can do. Unserviceability is not coming from her direction."

Debbracca shook her head and as I was waiting for "Miss, you're not hearing what I am telling you," I heard this instead, "OK, I'm gonna talk to my tech guy."

Long story, still long but not exceedingly so: I am now serviceable thanks to Debbracca's patience, Rich the tech supervisor's willingness to help, Tony who hooked me up today, and me, who was surprised at my own tenacity.

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