When I first bought this house, I realized we were in a virtual dead zone for internet and TV. The nearest connection to Comcast was one mile down the road. Satellite dishes sprout from my roof for both TV and internet. I started with Hughes Net but quickly became frustrated with the technical support in Pakistan. Wild Blue offered the best deal and they have been my internet provider for years.
For some reason I needed to call customer service the other day and in the course of the conversation, I learned that they now offer a much faster service. It would require upgrading all my equipment, but since I was a long-standing customer, all of this was free. I scheduled a service call.
The first service technician, Matt, arrived Saturday morning as planned. He walked all around the yard, climbed on the roof and spent an hour with his hand-held satellite finder, searching for a line of sight. No luck. Without cutting down trees, several of which weren’t even on my land, I could not get higher speed internet. Matt left, I went back to my slow computer. Within minutes there was a knock on the door. Matt was back. He had called a co-worker who did installations for Hughes Net. The guy had told Matt the coördinates for another satellite and Matt had checked. Yes, I still had a shot a higher speeds. He then called his boss, who was on vacation, but responded, and set up an appointment for me the following Monday.
Technician number two, Walter, showed up early. He walked the yard, climbed the roof and determined that my only clear line of sight was to mount the dish on a pole, right in front of my deck. An ugly, shiny aluminum pole with a very large gray dish was not what I wanted to look at every time I sat down to a meal in my rural setting. I wanted to think about it first but Walter was on a schedule and needed an answer. The lure of fast internet won; Walter started digging and trenching.
Two hours later he was in my office making the last alignments. I was curious. Walter wore a company polo shirt and black, stretchy “sleeves” on each arm. When questioned about them, he explained that company policy was to cover all tattoos. He had entire “sleeve” tattoos on both arms, hence the black sleeves. The fact that he was constantly pulling them up reminded me of a girl with no breasts, constantly pulling up her tube-top.
I fired up both computers. No internet. Walter plugged in his device. Internet. I rebooted, re-jigged everything. No internet. Walter became antsy and said he had to leave. “No, you are not leaving until this is fixed.” He became insistent and a bit pushy about the fact that it worked on his device so technically his job was done. With that he slammed out the house. I called his boss, the ever-patient Brian who had called me on the weekend from his vacation.
“Brian, two hours ago I didn’t have this ugly thing in my front yard and I DID have internet. What the hell kind of customer service is this??” Brian spent twenty minutes on the phone trouble-shooting. In the end, I have an ugly thing in my front yard and fast internet, but at what price? The loss of an entire day of work and boiling frustration. When did life get to the point where I can’t live without this life-line? What happened to writing letters?