I've written extensively about my disdain for the blithering idiots @ Time Warner. Now I have a new source of irritation: Earthlink.
Back on December 9 I ordered Earthlink cable internet access with a wireless router. I was so excited. Forget about stupid sugar plums. I had visions of being able to take my trusty 17" PowerBook ANYWHERE inside or outside my house and blogging anytime I want (instead of here at the office) dancing in my head.
I should have listened to that tiny little voice in my head. You know the one? It said: 'Dude. Don't get Earthlink because they are the bastard stepchild of Time Warner Cable.'
But I didn't listen. I didn't listen because I wanted CABLE, not DSL.
The Earthlink lady had a really strong Asian accent. I could only understand every fifth word she said, which was really annoying. I mean, I think Asian women are really hot, but...Anyway, she took my order, we pre-selected an Earthlink email address and it took a really long time. Then she mercifully gave me over to the Time Warner people to schedule an installation date, which turned out to be this past Monday, the 19th, from 12.30-2.30.
And by the way, scheduling the installation was problematic too. Victoria, the Time Warner lady gets on the phone and we've got the worst telephone connection you've ever heard. I don't know if it was my line or hers that was all crackling and popping but she told me she'd called me right back. I made sure to tell her that I was at the office number not the home number. She promised to call me right back.
She didn't. Forty five minutes later, I called back, talked to some other lady and scheduled the 19th. When I got home that night there was a message on my answering machine. FROM VICTORIA.
I circled my calendar and so did everyone I know. See, I've been taking crap from all my friends for not having internet access at home. I've been taking crap for YEARS from all my so-called buddies.
I thought the 19th would never arrive. And for a very brief moment, somewhere around the 13th or the 14th, I remember thinking to myself 'I wonder when I'm going to get my wireless router from Earthlink?' Then I thought, 'Oh, the Time Warner guy will bring it.' My friends, even my Mom have been asking 'what's the date of the Earthlink installation again?'
Monday morning. I didn't go into the office, instead I went to the Gap to return a really ugly green sweater I bought for myself last week. It looked good at the store. Anyway, I got home at noon sharp, ate a sandwich and waited.
And waited some more. At 2.00 I called Time Warner. The guy said since I had another thirty minutes before the technician would be considered 'late' he couldn't do anything.
At 2.30 I damn well considered the tech to be 'late.' I had to go to a political fundraiser for State Senator Bill Morrow, (more on that later) so I shaved, put on a nice shirt and some shoes and was ready to leave when, BEHOLD! The Time Warner guy finally showed up.
Now I want to convey to you that had this guy not been so apologetic and so polite I really would have RIPPED HIM A NEW ONE! I was prepared to do just that. But he was cool.
But there's more. MUCH MORE. I let the guy in. He said he name was 'Fran.' Not Fran, like the old lady name, but FRAN. Like the French would say 'FRAN.'
I invite Fran into the house and I've got my Mac sitting there with the Earthlink software, ready to go. So I say 'Fran, I can't wait to get hooked up wirlessly so I can...
Fran, as it turns out, doesn't do wireless installation. Anyone want to guess what Fran does? (PAUSE) That's right. He does DSL installation. Isn't that lovely? Isn't that just a bit ironic? I thought so, too.
So Fran, nice guy that he is, starts telling me that he can go back out to his van and call the wireless guy and see if he is in the area, blah, blah, blah. At this point I need a stiff drink or a cigarette to calm my nerves, so I say 'sure. Why not?' He goes out to the truck and it hits me. Why didn't I listen to that little voice a couple of weeks ago. The voice that warned me not to order Earthlink because they are the bastard stepchild of the Great Satan, Time Warner Cable.
Then it occurred to me. 'Dude. You have AT&T. Why not get internet from them? And since you already have SBC DSL at the office...' It made sense so I walked out and told Fran to piss off. Well, I didn't use those exact words. I think I said the word cancel in there someplace. So he leaves, still apologizing. Like I said, Fran's a good guy.
Cut to yesterday. I called Earthlink. Guess what they told me? When I placed my order back on December 9, they placed my order, not for cable but for DSL. So that's why Fran came out. That's also the reason that they never mailed my wireless router. And then guess what else? The customer service guy also had a very strong Asian accent. And like the time before, I could only understand every fifth word he was saying.
I called SBC. I was so relieved to be rid of Earthlink. And I was happy to get an English speaking person on the phone. Her name was Elsie and she probably has the best personality of any customer service rep I've ever spoken to. From the first minute she was asking me what I was doing for Christmas, how my week was going, the nice weather we're having in Southern California, etc.
Regarding the Christmas question, I told her: 'Didn't you get my email? I'm coming over to your house for Christmas, Elsie.' She loved that. Our banter went back and forth. We even talked about getting married briefly until she told me that her husband might have a problem with our union. I told her that we could all move to Utah and everything would be cool.
Then Elsie and I hit a wall because she claimed that, even though AT&T and SBC recently merged into one company, they haven't yet gotten to the point where they share internet customers. So I had to leave the warm and comfortable confines of Elsie and be treated to the Barry White sound-alike stylings of Tyrone over at AT&T.
Tyrone tells me that the AT&T/SBC systems are germaine and seamless and, in fact, Elsie could have (and damn well should have) been able to sign me up for DSL service. So I say, 'Hey Ty. That's great for me. With all due respect, I like Elsie better than you anyway. Could you please transfer me back over to Elsie. 'That's not gonna happen, my Man,' he says to me.
But guess what? It did. Elsie gets on the phone and when I identified myself she screamed into the phone: 'Kent R-------!!! What are you doing?'
Told you Elsie and I were close.
I said: 'You didn't give me directions to your house for Christmas.'