We slipped into a Black Hole of non-existence. I do not even know where to start.
I blame Comcast. I am fairly certain they did some not-quite-ethical maneuvering, but I am wise enough to know I probably cannot prove it. Still, this whole bizarre journey began with their bungling of a simple request to change Internet and telephone providers in an effort to save money. Instead, it cost me a lot of time and frustration, the loss of the telephone number we have had for 12 years, and the loss of telephone and Internet service.
We received a nice letter from some airhead at Comcast thanking us for our complaint. I am still undecided about posting that on my blog with a reply (so much time has elapsed in the meantime, mostly because of Comcast’s bungling. CenturyLink was not a whole lot better, but everyone I spoke to on the phone was helpful, nice, polite, and empathetic. I think C-Link only put me on Interminable Hold twice and I only dealt with two people at C-Link who simply could not help me.
I learned a lot about how Big Corporations do business poorly.
Comcast has a Public Relations problem that will never be fixed until they decide to restructure and fire their Voice Activated Automated Answering System (or whatever the hell that quagmire is called) and hire real, trained, local people to answer calls. Not gonna happen, so the best advice I can give anyone is this: DO NOT GO WITH COMCAST UNLESS THEY ARE YOUR ONLY OPTION. And if they are your only option, complain loudly, publicly, online and with Letters to the Editor.
CenturyLink outsources all of their 1-800 calls that are made after working hours (8-6PM locally). Any orders placed after hours is probably going to be lost into the Ethernet connection, never to be retrieved. You may (or may not) receive actual equipment, but the service will never follow unless you call during regular working hours and are willing to talk to someone for at least 30 minutes.
I would not recommend CenturyLink to anyone, either, but it is my only alternative choice to Comcast.
I also learned that it would probably be wise to cave in to the peer pressure of the 21st Century and get a Smart Phone. If one of us had a Smart Phone (which everyone assumes you have), we could have connected to the Internet and posted regular (and scathing) reports to FaceBook. The Smart Phone will have to belong to me because I actually own an old cell phone and have an old pay-as-you-go plan that has worked great for my needs until this past 4 weeks.
My husband’s concession to the 21st Century is to own a SPOT GPS and he only has that because he hikes alone in the Cascades frequently. A cell phone would not help him in the Cascades: there’s no reception. He can almost always ping off of a satellite to let me know he is safe and sound, hence the SPOT. If you have a loved one who spends inordinate amounts of time alone in the wilderness somewhere, make them carry a SPOT.
Comcast had our land line disconnected on 11/29 before I had a chance to Activate the order for our new (cheaper) Internet/Phone bundle with them. I was already fed up with their ineptitude which you can read about here and here, if you are so inclined. I mailed their modem back to them on Saturday, December 1.
C-Link was supposed to retrieve our old phone number and set us up with a brand new account on 12/6. The Internet was disconnected on 12/6. But our old telephone number was lost to FCC Cyber-space because Comcast never made it a freaking billing number because Comcast never Activated out <insert several swear words> account because I could never get through to anyone who had the actual ability to flip the freaking switch.
And because (I know, that’s terrible grammar to begin a sentence with “and” and a preposition, but deal with it, OK?) Comcast never made out old phone number a “billing number”, C-Link could not retrieve it and because they could not retrieve it, our order fell through the space between the bars into the Black Hole.
I called – after hours – and reordered a phone/internet connection with C-Link. By now, it was as much a matter of pride (I will NOT use Comcast unless forced to) as it was necessity: we need a land line and CenturyLink is the only available carrier in our area that I will do business with. Barely.
I did not know then what I know now: DO NOT CALL CENTURYLINK AFTER HOURS AND ORDER ANYTHING BECAUSE IT IS A THIRD PARTY VENDOR WHO WILL NOT FOLLOW THROUGH AND WHO DOES NOT CARE ABOUT YOUR ORDER.
Connection date was 12/17. I called C-Link on 12/18 during business hours and reached a wonderful employee name Jolie in the Boise area. Jolie listened to my story, muttered under her breath about third party vendors and then called the Portland area dispatch. Jolie was the person who told me that C-Link outsources after hours and this happens FREQUENTLY.
Long story short, this woman got our telephone line hooked up on 12/19 with a 7mbps Internet connection to follow on 12/24. The out-sourced people told me I could have 12mbps, but that is not true: Portland isn’t set up for 12 mbps. 7 is the highest we go as of 12/12.
MEANWHILE. If you thought all of that was difficult to follow, my life got even more bizarre at work. Or maybe that’s non-existent? I mean, where do you go when you slip into a Black Hole? Out the other side? And what is there?
On the day our Internet was disconnected, I arrived at work to find my computer completely shut down. I never shut down my work computer. I just lock it. The darn thing would take over 30 minutes to load if I shut it down and restarted it every day. Operating system: Windows 2003. Apparently, hamsters had moved into my machine overnight and were working the hamster wheel rather furiously.
I turned it on briefly to check. Yep. There were definitely hamsters running the ungreased wheel. It sounded awful and I shut it off. A co-worker took it apart and tried to save the fan. No Go. A new computer was ordered, but it didn’t arrive at the IT Dept. for several days. In short, for 9 days I was without a working computer of my own at work. My entire job is on a computer. I spent 4-6 hours a day on my boss’ computer while she twiddled her thumbs. She used her computer when I was not on it.
I couldn’t even sneak in FaceBook time at work because I wasn’t at my own work station and I didn’t have my break or lunch time available to me.
I did have my Kindle Fire that Don got me for my birthday. But in order to use that, I had to either set up shop at a local coffee shop or the library – and that had to be on my spare time. Interestingly enough, there are more free WiFi spots in the little town where I live than there are in West Portland where I work – so I had to schedule WiFi time for weekends.
My Kindle saved Christmas. I just wanted to say that: I got all the grandkids’ gifts ordered and shipped while sitting at the local library and accessing Amazon.com.
ANYWAY… On December 22, we got Direct TV. I didn’t really want a TV package, but Jolie worked it in at a really cheap discount and my husband is going to be down for a month after a surgery, so I figured it would be cheap entertainment. He’s already addicted. I knew he would be. I read to decompress and he watched TV to decompress after a long day at work.
But NO INTERNET.
How hard is this? Oh, you do not want to ask. I called CenturyLink on 12/24 but they were off for the Holiday. I couldn’t be mad: I was off for the Holiday, too. A bonus Holiday day, gifted by the president of the company I work for.
I called again today. The gal I reached insisted the Internet was turned on on 12/24.I insisted it was not. She insisted I should check another phone jack. I sighed. OK. I already blew up at Comcast people, but this gal was trying very hard to be nice and let’s put things into perspective: my grandchildren are all alive. None of my relations lives in Newtown, CT.
I told her I would try one more time.
And in the most bizarre twist of all: another phone jack worked. Our freaking phone jack by the main computer is DEAD. Sometime between the disconnection on 12/6 and today, it died a terrible death.
I hope it did not involve hamsters. I doubly hope it did not involve mice. We have big dogs. Big dogs should eat mice. This is why I want a cat.
We made a trip to the local Kroger’s, got a longer phone cord, and jury-rigged* the modem/router.
And we have Internet. Ta Da!
*jury-rigged: “Jury rigging refers to makeshift repairs or temporary contrivances, made with only the tools and materials that happen to be on hand. Originally a nautical term, on sailing ships a jury rig is a replacement mast and yards improvised in case of damage or loss of the original mast.” (Wikipedia)
It is *not* “jerry rigged” as most people mispronounce it. It’s one of those grammatical things.
I’m just happy to have Internet. And a Land Line. And my husband is happy to have Direct TV.