Several years ago, our cable TV provider upgraded to an all-digital system. This meant anyone who still had an analog-only TV had to add a digital TV converter box for each TV. It was no trouble for me, but it totally stumped my 86-year-old father-in-law.
He ordered the upgrades from the cable company to cover his three televisions: one cable settop box with DVR and two analog converters. The analog converter installations went fine, but the settop box would not install. A 90-minute phone call to the company's 800 number did not help. I was told that the box was defective and to take it to the local sales office.
This is a worse fate than dealing with the Department of Motor Vehicles, but I went. At 9:00 a.m., just after the office opened, there were 50 people in line for the one customer service rep working at the time. The majority of these customers were carrying "defective" settop boxes. After a two-hour wait, I finally got to the window and told the agent my tale of woe. She looked up my father-in-law's account and said, "There is nothing wrong with your box. You have an HBO filter on your line."
When I asked why the representative on the 800 line couldn't tell me that, she said: "He doesn't have that information. It is on a different database. You will have to make an appointment to have service come out and remove it. They are booked up for the next two weeks."
When I asked where the filter was, so I could remove it and get my father-in-law's TV working again, she said: "I don't know. That's on the service database, and I don't have access."
In this case, the monkeys were at work in the settop box, on the customer service line, and in the cable company's local office.
This entry was submitted by Lloyd Piper and edited by Rob Spiegel.
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