Eventually we moved on, and once fully awake, we had cake for breakfast. Strawberry shortcake cake, which we all convinced ourselves was healthy - fruit (strawberries) and dairy (whipped cream). Every day should start off with being served cake in bed for breakfast...minus the candle reminders of how old we are.
My birthday day, which was Thursday. I started out going to work, but then left early for lunch to meet Comcast at home between 11:00-2:00. On the previous Tuesday, Comcast was supposed to come and hook up cable, phone and internet between 2:00-5:00. I waited. At 5:01, a guy finally showed up and told me that his work order (which was a hand written piece of paper with scribbles on it) stated that he was only there to do cable and phone. I had taken time off of work to get this done and at that moment knew I would be taking MORE time off for this cause. I called Comcast to complain. The woman that answered said there was nothing she could do but could reschedule him to come back in a week. I was furious. I told her that was unacceptable and that I was considering switching to AT & T instead and that she could cancel the order for all of it. She put me on hold, came back and apologized for the inconvenience and rescheduled the internet to the next available time they had, which was Thursday, my birthday. I agreed to Thursday between 11:00-2:00 because truth be told, I don't think I could go with AT & T because I'd have to go with satellite TV which I can't have because I live in the forest. So Comcast is my only choice, but they didn't know that. To appease me for my inconvenience, they also waived my installation fee for the internet which was $149. Score, right? Yup, read on.
So on my birthday, I waited. And I waited. And I waited. At 2:00, I picked up the phone and called Comcast. The first of what would turn out to be 247 people I would talk to about the issue, said that the installer was running late and that he would be there soon. I explained that this appointment was to make up for the error made on Tuesday. The person I was talking to was not helpful so I asked to speak to a supervisor. The floor supervisor, whose name was "Kathy", (“Sorry Ma’am, I can’t give out my last name. It’s against company policy”) stated that she could waive the installation fee. I told her that was already done the first time they messed up. She put me on hold to locate the technician to find out how far out he was from my house. She came back on the line and said "he will be there by 4:00, and that is guaranteed." I told her that I had plans that evening and I had to leave my house by 4:30 the latest. (More about those plans in a minute.) I told her that even if he came at 4:00, he wasn't going to be able to complete the job. But I would stay home from what was then 2:30 until 4:00 to see if he could accomplish the goal.
4:00. No Comcast guy and no phone call. So much for being guaranteed! I called Comcast at 4:01 and asked to speak to Supervisor "Kathy". Because they don't allow the employees to give out their last names, (or so I was told), they had to look in my account to see who Supervisor "Kathy" was. They found her and transferred me to her. Admittedly, at this point, I was slightly disgruntled. Ok, maybe disgruntled doesn't quite cut it. Pissed off maybe? Yeah. That describes it. I told my good friend Supervisor "Kathy" that I was frustrated and that I could no longer stay and wait for them to show up because it was my birthday and I had plans to leave the house at 4:30. I asked what the next reschedule date was and she told me the following Thursday. I expressed my displeasure at having to wait a week for something I should have had two days ago. I said this kind of thing must happen all the time and was there any possible way for them to send someone the next morning, which would be Friday morning. She had to check with her supervisor. She came back on the phone and said that they would send someone the next day, Friday, between 8:00-11:00. She also gave me a $20 credit for the installer being late. As if $20 could make up for the three half days of vacation time I had to use. I thanked her as if she was doing me a favor.
At 4:30, Rachel came home from camp, quickly got washed up and changed, we hopped in the car, and went to the next event on my birthday list: Going to the movies to see “Ramona and Beezus”. Yes, this is what I chose to do on my 49th birthday. Why that, you ask? Well, earlier in the week, a parent contacted me and invited us to go to the movies and then to her house for a campfire with a few other classmates. I knew Rachel would love to do this with her friends. How was I going to say no, she couldn’t go. Granted, I know some parents would have declined, making the day be all about them. But I didn’t. And as it turned out, it wasn’t THAT bad of a movie (on a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being the greatest, it was a 2. The only thing making it a two is that it did evoke emotion in one clip. Other than that, it was incredibly corny.) After the movie, we went to the friend’s house, had pizza, the kids went in the Jacuzzi, the parents had dragon-ritas (really dragondaiquiris because there was no tequila in them, but dragondaiquiris is too hard to say.) We cooked smores over the open campfire pit. Really, the only thing missing were goody bags. It was quite a nice evening, even if it wasn’t all about me.
The girls in the hottub - preparing for Las Vegas in 10 years!
Friday morning, the 8:00a.m. to 11:00 a.m. wait for Comcast continued. At 11:00, they hadn’t shown up. I called Comcast:
“Hello. Can I speak to Supervisor ”Kathy”?”
The representative that answered asked, “Sorry, Ma’am, I need more information than that. Do you have her last name?”
“No,” I said, “isn’t it against your policy to give out your last name?”
“Well, Ma’am, without the last name, we have no way of knowing who ‘Kathy’ is."
“Yesterday when I called, the representative that I spoke to could look on my file and see the code that ’Kathy’ uses. Can you look at my file, figure out the code and contact her that way?”
“No Ma’am, I see no code in your file that indicates that you spoke to a “Kathy.”
Slam! Click. Dial Tone. Redial. Representative 238 answers.
“Hello, can I speak to Supervisor “Kathy”?
“There is no “Kathy” here. Can I assist you, Ma’am?”
“Oh my God, so I have to tell you everything from the beginning?”
“Yes, Ma’am, if you want me to help you, yes.”
“Okay,” deep breath, “Tuesday, you were supposed to come and install the Triple Play package at my house. The guy who came only came prepared to install cable and phone, not internet. I spoke to “Shawn” who scheduled the internet installation for Thursday. Which, by the way, was my frickin’ birthday! Anyway, I hung around waiting and nobody called and nobody showed up. It was then RE-scheduled to this morning, and again, nobody has called me and nobody has shown up. They were supposed to be here by 11:00 and it is now 11:15 and nobody has been in contact with me.”
“Well, we do apologize for that Ma’am. If we were late, we will be more than happy to credit your account with $20, Ma'am.”
“I don’t want another $20 credit. You already credited my account yesterday for $20, for making me wait all day! I want my internet installed today. That’s what I want.”
“Okay, Ma’am. Let me take a look at your account. Can I put you on hold?”
15 minutes later…
“Ma’am, I have your file in front of me and it doesn’t look like there was an appointment scheduled for this morning so I can’t credit you $20.”
“Oh…my…God. I don’t WANT the $20.” Blood pressure rising to unsafe, unhealthy levels at this point. “’Kathy’, the supervisor, scheduled the appointment for me yesterday to appease me for the installer being late and I couldn’t wait past 4:00 so she talked to HER supervisor and cancelled the appointment for yesterday and got an appointment scheduled for today between 8:00 and 11:00. Are you telling me you don’t see a ticket for that?”
“No Ma'am, I just see a $20 credit saying we were late but no reschedule and nobody by the name of ‘Kathy’ is on your account.”
“So there is no record of me talking to “Kathy” yesterday?
“Ok, I’m done with this. Can you please cancel this order, come get your boxes that you installed on Tuesday. I’m going with AT &T instead.”
“Yes Ma’am, please hold for a minute.”
Three minutes later…
“Retention Department, Arbry speaking, how can I help you?”
“Did I get transferred?”
“Yes, this is Arbry, Ma’am, how can I help you?”
“Arbry, if that is indeed your name, I want to cancel the order for Triple Play and I want you to come and get your boxes out of my house.”
“Ma’am, I assure you that my name is Arbry. Let me try to take care of your problem. Tell me what happened.”
“This will be the 20th time I’m telling this story and I’m very frustrated!”
“I don’t blame you Ma’am. Maybe I can help. What happened?”
For the next 20 minutes, I told Arbry of my experience with Comcast.
“Ma’am, I would be angry too if this happened to me. Let me see what I can do for you…I’m going to credit you back the $149 for installation…”
“Arbry, that was already supposed to have been done on Tuesday!”
“Okay, I see that now. I’m going to give you $20 for us being late.”
“Arbry, that was already supposed to have been done yesterday for being late and not showing up at all.”
“Okay, I see that now…I’m going to credit your initial installation fee of $80. And I’m going to try to get someone out there today or the next available time we have. Please hold…”
THIS IS RIDICULOUS!
“…Ma’am, I talked to my supervisor and an installer will be there today between 1:00 and 4:00.”
“So what you’re saying is I have to spend the rest of my day waiting here for someone who won’t show up or call, again?”
“No Ma’am, someone will be coming there today. They have been told to call you if they are going to be late. Here’s my direct line and from this point forward, call me if you have any issues. I have issued you credits for everything and the only thing you will owe is for the month fee.”
Still having hope that this will finally be resolved, I said hesitantly, “Thank you Arbry!...oh, I have another call coming in. Do you want me to put you on hold or are we done?”
“No, I think we’re done Ma’am.”
I must admit that I was calm and felt like Arbry was going to take care of me this time. I really felt that if this didn’t go right, I at least had a contact that I could call – even though I still didn’t know his last name. But surely with a name like ‘Arbry’ it would be easier to find him than a ‘Kathy’! My blood pressure had returned to normal.
“Hello Ma’am, this is Comcast Dispatch calling.”
“Ma’am, I show that we had a ticket to install cable and phone on Tuesday and the installer came and installed that, correct?”
“Ma’am, I also show that we had a ticket to come to your house yesterday to install internet, correct?”
“Ma’am, I just received a ticket that shows that we need to reschedule this order for that install and the next available time I show open is next Thursday…”
“Listen, I JUST got off the phone with Arbry in the Retention Department and he said I’m scheduled for someone to come here today to fix this! I just hung up with him to take your call!”
“No, Ma’am, our ticket shows that yesterday at 5:46p.m., our installer knocked on your door and nobody answered so we closed the ticket. We came to your house and it’s not our problem that you weren’t there.”
At this point I felt like I had entered into some cruel Candid Camera episode or maybe even an episode of The Twilight Zone. Certainly this couldn’t be happening for real? Where is Ashton Kutcher?
“Sir, I am not going to explain all of this to you again. You need to contact Arbry in Retention and speak to him.”
“Ma’am, I’m not contacting anyone. We tried to do our job and you weren’t home.”
I hung up on him and called the number that Arbry gave me to contact him at. He didn’t answer so I left a message for him that went something like this, “Arbry, This is Sharon Kane. I just hung up with you when my call waiting had another caller coming in, remember? That caller was from dispatch telling me that I DO NOT have an appointment for today and that the soonest he can do it is next week! On top of that, the caller was incredibly rude!! Arbry, AT&T is looking better every second. Please call me back as soon as you get this message…that is, if this is indeed Arbry’s phone line?!!!!!”
Ten minutes of pacing back and forth, furious that I was going through any of this. The phone rings.
“HELLO!” I angrily answer.
“Hello, Ms. Kane?”
“YES?” Now what??
“This is Comcast Dispatch again, Ma’am. I do apologize. I have an installer that will be coming to your house within 45 minutes to an hour. Sorry for the confusion, Ma’am.”
This time, he was much more cordial and polite. When we were done talking, I hung up. Five minutes later, the phone rings.
“Hello?” I answer in trepidation, fully anticipating someone calling me to say, “Smile, you’re on Candid Camera!”
But it was just Arbry.
“Hello Ms. Kane? This is Arbry.”
“Did you get my message Arbry?”
“Yes, Ma’am I did. I immediately went to my supervisor who went to the dispatch supervisor and, supervisor to supervisor, MY supervisor told the dispatcher’s supervisor he needed to get this done for you today. Someone WILL be there today!”
They did come and I am all set. But I just want to note here that this is probably not finished. I still need to get my bill and there is no doubt that it will be messed up.
On the upside, in the middle of all this, I was getting the nicest birthday greetings. One of which was my sister who texted me on my birthday and had wished for me to have a “10” of a day. I wrote back saying I was having more of a “2” of a day. We had tentatively scheduled to meet for dinner on Friday night to celebrate my birthday, and when she texted me on Friday to see if we were on, she said, “What number is today?” Going through the day with Arbry and Comcast’s entire support staff, I replied, “negative 300.” But we went out to Frank’s Gourmet Grille in Niantic anyway and had a raucous good time. Caused a scene, as usual, with big, loud laughter. As a birthday should be.
Dinner at Frank's Gourmet Grille with Rachel (Dianne Stone, Sharon's Sister and Brother-in-law not pictured.)
Because there was no other time to open presents, we chose Saturday morning to relax and open them then. I got some great gifts, but the one most noteworthy was from Dianne. She took all my blog articles and had them bound into a hard cover book! So freaking cool! I loved it!
On Saturday night, we played poker at Mary Ellen’s house. They surprised me with a cake. This time the candles were not symbolic of age, but rather spelled out Happy Bday. When I blew them out, wax sprayed all over Dianne’s arm. Oh well. Now she won’t have to shave there for a few weeks. Dianne had brought Spongebob hats and goody bags that had bling rings and fancy shmancy sunglasses that we all wore to commemorate the day (two days prior but so what). We ate, danced in a conga line to disco music, and laughed. A great time. Again, as a birthday should be.
Doesn't she look like Spongebob? Blues eyes, gap between her teeth, always smiling? A little jaundice and you couldn't tell the two apart!
So my birthday week is coming to an end…oh no it isn’t! Rachel bought me dinner and a movie that we will be going to next week. The birthday that never ends! How lucky am I?!
My Kaneclusions: My birthday - Seeing a bad teen flick on my birthday probably wouldn’t have been my first choice. But to me, making my daughter happy on my birthday IS a gift to me. So it was no sacrifice at all. And it turned out to be a nice evening.
Another Kaneclusion is that Comcast sucks. And because it’s a monopoly, they CAN suck, with no repercussions. None of the reps that I spoke to cared if my problem got solved or not; didn’t care if I went to AT &T or not; didn’t care if I had to tell the story 40 times or not; didn’t care if I had to take all my vacation time to deal with their incompetence. It wasn’t until I reached Arbry in the Retention Department that I got true customer service. From now on, I’m going directly to Detention. I mean, Retention. I sing with gratitude, Bread's “And Arbry was his name”…oh no, wait, that was Aubrey. In any event, I was able to connect FINALLY with Arbry who ultimately took care of the issue. Any other private sector business would go bankrupt if people had to deal with customer service like this. But they know they have you by the cojones. And since they don’t have to give out their last name, they know they can treat you any way they like because it can’t be traced back. Somewhere during this BS I asked the mysterious Supervisor “Kathy” who miraculously disappeared from the planet, who her supervisor was. She gave me a name and phone number. I contacted that person sometime throughout all this, thinking that maybe he could help being the supervisor of a supervisor. I got voicemail and left a message. Surprise, surprise, he never called me back. They suck. Nothing profound. Just they suck. That’s what it all came down to.
And my last Kaneclusion for this week is, I’ve come to the Kaneclusion that nobody should be called “Ma’am” that many times on your birthday, especially when you’re as young as I am. Talk about rubbing it in!