Sunday, February 17, 2008

Waiting For The Cable Guy

A lot of the stories that I share on the air stem from people being angry or upset with others. It seems that as a society we have lost our patience with mankind. But where did this malaise start? I say it started with the cable company.

As I write this, I am awaiting the cable guy. My television is working just fine thank you; it’s my Internet that’s at issue. It’s a nasty little intermittent problem that is requiring a fourth visit from a technician. Like so many people, I tend to believe my time is valuable, so waiting on the phone line for 45 minutes earlier this week to ascertain what my problem might be and then being told that my allotted appointment would require most of a day, you can imagine how frustrating the experience is.

We’ve all been there. You call a service professional and they say they will send someone over. But in order to do that you must be home from 8am to 5pm. If you have other appointments, perhaps you should cancel them. If you want to go to the bathroom, perhaps you should hold it, just in case the doorbell rings because, unlike the postman, cable only rings once.

These companies want us to put our lives on hold because they can’t accurately estimate a service or delivery call into any time frame shorter than nine hours. This is a lack of respect. It’s how we lose patience with companies that we feel we can’t do anything about. It’s how we end up taking things out on others.

Just how do such entities as the cable companies show us a lack of respect? Case in point recently is the story from Wheatland, Wisconsin and poor Ann Beam. Back in January Ann received a $2,000 cable bill from Time Warner Cable. Ann’s house had five cable boxes and five remote controls. The important word here was “had.”

On January 7th Wheatland, Wisconsin was hit by a twister. Ann’s house, and her cable boxes, went the way of Dorothy, and the cable company, acting like Margaret Hamilton having a bad day, wanted their money and perhaps Ann’s little mangy dog too.

When Ann called the cable company, a man who identified himself as a manager said there was nothing the company could do. They told Ann she would have to take the bill and turn it in to her insurance company. But her cable equipment was nine years old, and the insurance company would pay only a depreciated value that wouldn't cover her bill.

Luckily the media got involved so when word got out a spokesperson for Time Warner Cable said Ann's case was simply a misunderstanding. An unspecified number of customers were charged for unreturned equipment, but only because they cancelled or transferred their service without mentioning their requests were tornado-related. Misery loves company, so Ann wasn’t the only one, but I wonder how many others there were and how many of the others just quietly paid their bill, only to take out their wrath on somebody else.

When you keep things inside too long, like a pressure cooker with a bad rubber seal, you never know when they’ll blow. It could be at the worst possible moment, like say, the drive-thru at Taco Bell. Such is the story from Massillon, Ohio.

Georgia Gugliuzza is recovering after being attacked while going through a Taco Bell drive-through in Massillon. Georgia was attacked by Tiffany Brown who used a cue ball as a weapon (I know, who carries a cue ball around with them?!?)

Tiffany has been arrested and charged in connection with the attack. Georgia’s fiancĂ©, Frank Loder, who was with his betrothed at the time, says he’s still in shock about what happened.

According to police, after the women screamed at each other from inside of their cars, Tiffany allegedly got out of her car with a billiard ball inside of a sock and hit Georgia with it four times.

Massillon Police Sgt. Thomas Minarcheck said he is baffled by the case and police are continuing their investigation. "I don't understand how you can become that impatient while you're in line at Taco Bell," he said. Police said it was that lack of patience that sparked the random and brutal attack. They said Tiffany was mad at Georgia for taking too long while she was ordering.

Georgia lost a couple of teeth, had to get three staples in her head and sustained some bad bruises to her face. Police said Brown was drinking the night of the alleged attack. She was charged with driving under the influence and felonious assault.

Impatience is a terrible thing. It makes people’s blood pressure boil when they’re in traffic. It shortens one’s fuse when you’re standing in line at the supermarket behind the old lady who is paying with exact change and must find those coins that are deep in the crevices of her oversized purse. And it makes you want to find a sock that you can put a cue ball in as you continue to wait for the cable guy.

That’s the Stuph – the way I see it.