You really never get a chance to say “Thanks…”

25 Oct

Usually, I’m talking about the goings-on, here on planet “Container Casa.”

Most of you know that my family is hip-deep in the middle of a project to turn several Shipping Containers and a few old aircraft hangars, into a home for our family in South Mississippi. It involves federal grants, State grants, a “re-urbanization parcel allocation,” and a lot of sweat equity. Why are we doing this? Because we’re masochists, that’s why… LOL!

But today, I’m gonna talk about something different, something that all of you have experienced at one time or another as well, if you rely on cable to juice up your big screen TV, or allow you the surf the Internet at lightning speed…

I bet you thought I was gonna talk about “Politics,” huh? I am so sick and tired of “politics, politicians, and all the hollow promises the media is broadcasting, like rice at a wedding!” I figure if you haven’t figured out who you’re going to trust to run the country yet, it’s on you…

Besides, I suspect that no matter who we pick, we’re in trouble deep… I know, I know… “Pappa don’t preach…” LOL!

Yesterday, after weeks of trouble-shooting, complaining and “experimenting,” the cable TV and Internet at my hovel finally got repaired. My connection was so bad, the TV signal looked like a snowstorm in the Himalaya’s, and my Internet connection was so bad, I thought for a while there that someone had stolen my computer, and replaced it with an abacus. Needless to say, my web-surfing and researching days slowed to a crawl. But that wasn’t the real problem…

I know that bad cable signal doesn’t sound like much, but when your wife is ill, and she’s hooked to a transponder that runs diagnostics on her vital signs every half hour, and then uses the Internet to relay them to doctors and specialists, in two different states, for observation, it’s a big deal. It’s a HUGE deal. Her health and safety depend on that Internet connection.

After a while, I suspect that we take the utility and cable companies for granted, I think.

I mean, I never catch myself saying; “Gee, those Cable geeks are swell…” Or: “Man I miss that Mississippi Power guy who screws with my electricity!!” In fact, when I do think about the “cable guys” lately, the mental picture I get comes from a really, really bad movie I had the misfortune to watch… In my defense, I only agreed to watch it because I like Jenny McCarthy… LOL!

Try getting THAT picture outta your head. I think I’m gonna need therapy…

Brrrrrr! Where was I? Oh yeah…

Anyway, if everything is working, they’re not even a second thought. But, when things go south, we get concerned, and some of us get cranky and frustrated. As I suppose that we take it out on whoever answers the phone at the help desk, or is unfortunate enough to show up on the porch, trying and find a remedy to our problem.

But today, my family got a solution, not because it was easy, but because ONE  team, and ONE GUY in the field really took a hard look at what was happening, documented it, and then… replaced everything from the wall, to the pole.

Now, it turns out that it wasn’t even “technically” the cable companies fault. The owner of the hovel I rent is responsible for upkeep and maintenance, when dealing with the actual wires and cables mounted to the building.

But, knowing that would go nowhere, I talked to the cable company (thank you Kristen!) and then waited for the team of cable geeks to arrive, like the cavalry riding in to save the day. It didn’t matter that it was raining “cats and dogs,” it didn’t matter that the problem turned out to be one they weren’t even responsible for…

What mattered to the cable company was that the connection I paid for every month, gave me everything I expected, no matter what effort it took, on their behalf…

So, a few days ago, a CableOne Cowboy showed up and made some changes. He crawled up the pole, in the pouring rain, and started switching things around until it looked like he had a good fix. This guy was really polite, attentive, efficient, and did everything he could to try and solve our problem. And, for a few hours, everything looked good. But alas, it wasn’t meant to be, and within a few hours, things got pretty muddy again.

Picture Ronin on the phone to the cable company, again, trying to make sense of a bad situation. It’s not a pretty sight. Every time the connection went south, the hospital called, thinking that my wife was in trouble. So, I’d have to rush into the room, wake her up, and see if she was still alive. Talk about stress…

I’m sure that Kristen got tired of hearing my voice on the line, day after day, whining about the cable and my wife’s dilemma. (For some reason, I kept getting Kristen over and over again. What are the odds of that happening?) But, Kristen jumped in again, and got more tech guys headed my way, to see if they could find a solution.

And, the guy they sent jumped in with both feet. Sure, first he blamed the VCR, and then, he blamed the TV itself, and I started thinking that my TV days were gonna be over for a while. Ronin can’t rush out and buy new TV components right now, medication is too expensive. But I pointed out that the computer was not working either, so it had to be “signal.” Process of elimination. And, by then, he already knew that on his own. He started doing diagnostics, and determined that the problem wasn’t inside the house, it was somewhere “outside” the house.

Uh oh… Landlords are responsible for the cable actually coming into their apartments, and my landlord… well… let’s just say that I saw a brick wall coming. Cable guys aren’t supposed to do anything with the cable attached to the building. It’s outside their domain. So we’re screwed, and my wife is gonna pay for it…

But, the cable tech (Ken Broy) had spent some time in my living room, being pestered by my inquisitive one year old son, and talking to my wife, while I was trying to put out a fire next door. Between my wife, and my son’s ability to “Jew-Fu” almost anybody breathing, old Kenny was putty in their hands… LOL!

So by the time I walked back in the door, he was determined to solve the problem, despite the rain, and the “responsibility,” no matter what.

So, outside we go, fording locked gates, and crawling over enough garbage to make a US Marines obstacle course look like a warm up, and then… we start looking at the cable… The problem becomes obvious. It looks like a “Cable Pirate’s” Wet Dream…

The Cable guy just starts laughing, and then… he decides to rerun the entire system, to make absolutely sure we never have a problem again. Did I mention that it was raining? Pouring. And this poor guy is outside my building, clinging to a ladder, getting drenched, fixing something that isn’t even his responsibility, to make sure we’re okay.

And now, a few hours later, with new cable carrying the signal from outside in, everything is working like it’s supposed to. After he’d replaced everything but the sink… he checked out every single component, and even spent time monitoring the signal to make sure that the hospital could connect to my wife’s monitors. Since he fixed everything else, I tried to get him to look at my refrigerator, but he said it was “outside his pay grade…” Damn. LOL!

He didn’t leave until he was absolutely certain that we had good signal. In fact, we have more signal than we can use. So, it’s fixed, probably forever!

Now, if I could get this damned remote control programmed! I asked him for help with it, but when I pointed it at him, he just turned white, and ran for his truck? They must be difficult, I guess… LOL!

And why am I writing this?

Don’t tell me “It’s his job.” In this case, it clearly wasn’t HIS job to resolve my “cable conflict.” I’m writing this because it seems like whenever something bad happens, everybody tends to blame someone else. It’s become human nature do do as little actual work as possible, and then move on to the next “problem.” We live in a society where we’re overworked, underpaid, and unhappy about everything including last night’s dinner. So, we tend to do less, when it comes to applying effort to solve a tough problem.

But, evidently, CableOne doesn’t suffer from that. In fact, where I live, nothing works like it’s supposed to. Except… the cable. And that didn’t happen by accident, it happened because a company did what it did, because they actually cared about their customers.

And how often does that happen? Hmmm?

Thank you CableOne, and especially Kristen, Ken, and that poor soaked cowboy whose name I never got.

Thanks for caring enough to follow-up, follow-through, and then… make certain we were okay, “no matter what.” It means a lot to us, and we won’t forget it…

So, I have one less thing to complain about. I have to take CableOne off my “bitch list,” I suspect permanently.

But don’t worry… I’ll find something else to complain about, I promise. After all, it’s kinda entertaining, huh?

Stay tuned…

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2 Responses to “You really never get a chance to say “Thanks…””

  1. Kenneth Broy December 29, 2008 at 11:17 pm #

    Thanks so much for your letter.
    You dont know how much it means to know that people really care about the quality of service we try to provide to the customer. You really made me feel that my job is worth the trouble I go through at times. Thank you sooo much I hope that more people like you are willing to express themselves. I really do love my job and now I have more of a reason to take more effort to help you ( the customer ) everyday.
    Thank you
    Kenneth Broy
    cable one senior tech
    Biloxi MS.

    • renaissanceronin February 4, 2010 at 7:02 pm #

      Hey Ken,

      I just call ‘em like I see ‘em…

      I wish your admin and accounting departments were as cool as you guys in tech service… LOL!

      Send me your bosses email addy, and I’ll forward him a copy of the post… It’s good to have stuff like this in your folder, come evaluation time…

      Thanks again for all the hard work!

      (Editor’s Note: Repost of my original reply (12/30/2008), due to reformatting)

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