Your RDA of Irony

A Little Benighted Music

Dear Comcast Customer:
ACTION REQUIRED: Comcast has determined that your computer(s) have been used to send unsolicited email (“spam”)

That message from Comcast certainly came as a surprise. Perhaps my idea of satire is Comcast’s idea of spam. Now that I am being monitored as a miscreant, I’d better forgo my next get-rich-quick scheme:


I spent the better part of yesterday morning attempting to persuade Comcast that I was more pedantic than criminal. I doubt any of you has been spared the agonies of customer service.  (You Catholic readers can count it as time off in Purgatory.) You start by performing a Rachmaninoff concerto on your phone key pad.

English-press one. Home phone–starting with area code. Year of statehood–first three digits. Internet Service press four. Internet service in English–press 8. Email problem–press three, zero, and star. Tech support–press six, star, and ampersand. Instructions for ampersand–press first four Fibonacci numbers. Tutorial on Fibonacci–press last four digits on your Visa. Repeat options–press r-e-p-e-a-t-o-p-t-i-o-n-s on your keypad.

The Comcast system has acoustic sensitivity and when it finally hears you weeping, it will transfer you to a human. Your relief will be short-lived because your tech support will immediately put you on hold and you will then be subjected to Muzak. While listening to an accordion rendition of Rhinestone Cowboy or some other musical monstrosity, keep in mind that the particular selection was not random or haphazard. That music has a diabolical intent. If you cannot be induced into hanging up, at least the fourteen loopings of Rhinestone Cowboy will leave your mind a passive pulp willing to accept any indignity or incompetence from Comcast. I was ready to confess to any crime including the assassination of William McKinley.

However Muzak can also be diabolically sublime. I once had a complaint with Charles Schwab, and–standard operating procedure–its customer service immediately put me on hold. Instead of a tinny cacophony, however, the Muzak was Mozart. Those clever fiends at Schwab were telling me, “Here is the work of a genius, the musical apotheosis of the Enlightenment, who died at 35–and you want to quibble about money.” Schwab had made a $1800 mistake but now I was the one ashamed.

But how was my problem with Comcast finally resolved? I really do not know. Are you reading this?

  1. David says:

    Yes Eugene, you are being read. Just this AM I had to call Verizon. They had ignored a C.O.A for three straight invoices. I wept early on therefore getting to a human sooner. Well, I think she was human. I’ll know more in 30 days.

  2. Tosh says:

    Ahh as usual I learn something new from you my fine Finerman. Crying is that what works. Really doesn’t fit my motif (MO if you will) a mile wide stubborn streak and a full willingness to speak to the CEO if that is what it takes to resolve my problems.
    Ever notice that Customer Service folks threaten you with speaking with their supervisor (who is usually a burnt out closer – I’ve been in the Biz). I always take the offer and often ask preemptively.
    Good Luck to David

  3. Lee says:

    So this guy runs a website and does not get the renewal notices for the domain name hosting because he no longer used the one he had when he registered the site. Now he did emails to his address using the domain name but the hosting company did not have it on file so they shut down his site. He could verify every other item on the account that identified him as the owner except he no longer had access to that long ago abandoned email address so he lost his domain name. Idiots.

    He has since secured a new site address/domain and is back in business but not after missing about 2 months of ad revenue.

  4. Peggles says:

    Maybe I’ll become a Luddite.

  5. Today I spent another hour with Comcast and its Muzak. At least, today’s torture was a different tune–imagine a calypso polka.

  6. RGREB says:

    Our latest go-round is with Sprint. The first human was (or appeared to be) responsive, the hold time for the supervisor we requested was excessive and the supervisor seemed regressive.

    The problem? It seems Sprint says our cell phones can request calling plans without our approval — even if they don’t have the capability of using the services. Then Sprint charges you. And if you can’t find the charges in your bill and ask that they be deleted? Well those pennies (a thousand or so a month, forever) do add up.

    Why can’t we bill them for our time on line?

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