Big Head Press

L. Neil Smith's
Number 393, November 12, 2006

"Knowin' history's the KEY t'keepin' a FREE country."—Lucy Kropotkin


Dances With Comcast
by Jonathan David Morris

Special to The Libertarian Enterprise

I've had a lot of bad experiences with utility companies. Never in my life have I had one as bad as my recent run-in with cable giant Comcast. After closing on our new house last Friday, my wife and I spent the entire next day sitting around waiting for a cable TV/Internet/digital phone installation that, as of this writing, still hasn't happened.

Take a look at how it all went down, and you'll see why I now believe Comcast represents everything wrong with America.

Saturday, 11 AM: It begins with a late morning phone call to the aforementioned telecommunications provider. I'm calling to officially terminate cable and Internet service at my old residence. While on the phone, Comcast confirms a technician will stop by my new place later that day between the hours of 1 and 5. This appointment was originally scheduled over a week ago; I hang up the phone safe in the knowledge that it will be kept. At that exact moment, somewhere in Hell, Satan delivers his first son by C-section. The "C" stands for "Comcast." And so begins my day.

Saturday, 3 PM: We're halfway through that 1 to 5 window. The technician hasn't shown up yet. I'm not getting nervous, but I call Comcast anyway, hoping to get an ETA. I don't get one. But, as promised, they assure me the guy will show up by 5.

Saturday, 3:15 PM: Fifteen minutes later, Comcast calls me to ask if the guy has shown up.

Saturday, 4:20 PM: Now I'm getting nervous. I'm also getting bored. I have errands to run, and instead I'm sitting in a half-empty house with no TV and a broken power screwdriver. I call 1-800-COMCAST. "Don't worry, sir," they tell me. Alanis Morisette then steps out of a locker. It's just the introduction to the Opposite Sketch.

Saturday, 4:50 PM: I make yet another call to 1-800-COMCAST. By now, I've memorized all the buttons I need to push on the automated menu. A lady answers this time. I tell her my situation, and she says she will "flash" the driver to let him know to call me. I don't know what "flashing" means. I assume it has something to do with bare breasts and a camera phone. Either way, the guy never calls. Now I know how all those girls I dumped in high school used to feel.

Saturday, 5:45 PM: Now I get an interesting fellow on the phone. This latest customer disservice rep says I never had a 1 to 5 appointment. No, it turns out I was scheduled "for the PM hours." Well, this is just ridiculous. There are twelve PM hours in the day. I refuse to believe any company would set a timeframe that encompasses all twelve of them. The guy goes on to say he's tracking the technician, and my house is blinking, which means I'm next on the route. I don't think that's why my house was blinking. My anger was just so seething at this point you could see it in pictures taken from the sky.

Saturday, 6:30 PM: I call 1-800-COMCAST. Again. I tell them my story. Again. The woman who handles my call says she's going to "submit a ticket." Allegedly, this will get me an appointment for first thing tomorrow morning. Then she puts me on hold. And never comes back.

Saturday, 7:15 PM: By now I am drinking and part suicidal. I call the 800 number and get a woman named Michelle. After telling her my story, she asks to put me on hold. I tell her no. Then I wait in silence while she reboots her computer. Forty-five minutes into the phone call, she suggests I speak with her team leader. Twenty minutes and the occasional breathing sound later, her team leader finally walks across the room and picks up the phone. She gives me a new number, which, in theory, will get me in touch with my local Comcast office. The lady who answers says my town is actually split between two offices. She transfers me to the other one. After a brief automated menu, I get a guy on the phone. He's not local. He's right back at 1-800-COMCAST.

Saturday, 9 PM: Somewhere along the way, it turns out a "ticket" was submitted for me after all. Comcast calls me and offers a new appointment for 1 to 5 tomorrow. I'll take it. I'll take anything at this point.

Sunday, 12 PM: In the midst of packing at our old apartment, my wife and I get a phone call. It's the Comcast technician. He's at our house an hour early. And we're half an hour away.

Sunday, 3:00 PM: The technician shows up again. I let him in, give him the tour, and explain where I'd like cable outlets. At this point, he suggests drilling holes through my hardwood floors. "I thought you guys said you could go through the walls," I tell him. And it's true: That's what Comcast had told me. In fact, that's why they set up a 1 to 5 appointment. It took a special kind of technician to do this kind of job. This guy, though? Let's just say he wasn't that kind of technician. Yes, after all this, when Comcast finally sent somebody. . . they sent the wrong guy.

Jonathan David Morris writes from Philadelphia. He can be reached at


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