A long while back, I used to take calls for CignalTV, a cable and/or satellite provider. It was a short-lived, but surprisingly interesting experience. A fifteen minute call from a mentally handicapped guy who wanted to describe what he was seeing on the NASA channel. The angry customer who came to like me so much that he demanded to be given my “personal office number” and then started screaming at me again when I told him that there was no way to contact me directly. The redneck who was outraged that chocolate erotica had been ordered on his account (the other porn he was fine with, that one he wanted removed). And, sadly, a whole lot of cases of people who were paying for television they quite simply could not afford.

One case involved a guy who was calling because his satellite didn’t work. We’re always instructed to ask the last time it worked. He responded never. His account was six months old. It never worked? Never worked. You’ve been paying $90 a month (he had the everything package), it’s never worked, and you’re just now calling (phrased differently)? Yup. Well, we drill down and discover that he was never eligible for service in the first place. He was upset because we could only give him three months of his payments back. I was largely unsympathetic because I thought he was an idiot who was paying almost $100 for something that he never cared whether it was working or not.

All of this to bring me back to my chore today. Our satellite TV has been out of commission. And, per the script, they asked me how long it had been out. I didn’t really know the answer. A month? Six weeks? I don’t watch a whole lot of TV in the summer. If it wasn’t for the return of Burn Notice and Suits, I probably wouldn’t have called until football season was around. Like me with the idiot, they were flabbergasted that I could go so long without calling. One of them was skeptical. Per the script, they kept telling me “We know how frustrating this is, and we’re doing our best to get your service up and running as quickly as possible.” I told one of them “Ma’am, I’m as cool as a cucumber. Don’t worry about me being irate.” It was in the script, though, so she kept saying it anyway.

They’re going to be sending someone around on Monday. The reception is deader than dead.

When I initially called, they said I owed them $160, which is almost four months worth of satellite. That made me fear that the autopayments hadn’t been going through and that I was cut off for lack of payment. It turned out that, for the second year straight, I was caught off-guard by being automatically re-enrolled in the college football gamepack.

Anyhow, back to the subject at hand, if I’d realized six weeks ago how little TV I would be watching in the summer, I might have cancelled satellite altogether, or put it on hold. Early this year I downgraded to the lowest half-decent plan available. I’ll be upgrading back in time for the sports season.

Category: Theater

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