Convincing Proof That Electronic Devices Have a Soul

Do you ever think some inanimate objects know it when you are about to replace them? I am currently experiencing “Xtreme” Paranoia about this, ever since I’ve had the inclination to ditch a Verizon MiFi Hotspot in order to return to the comforting arms of Time Warner and Roadrunner.

Roadrunner never did me wrong. It seldom went down and gave me perfectly acceptable internet access. So what did I do? Replaced it with the Hotspot. What a deal! Verizon is already my phone provider and this wonderful little thing is portable and I can take it with me wherever I go and I will live happily ever after in my state of blissful internet connectivity.

Not. The thing sometimes works, or doesn’t work, or works intermittently, or at a snail’s pace, or it might not work in my area. I don’t know what the problem is, all I know is that I’m tired of it and I intend to replace it with something from the past. Roadrunner is in, Verizon Hotspot – you’re out.

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

Of course, as soon as I decide this, the Hotspot begins to perform admirably and I forget about the tedium of switching, and having to install another wireless modem. Immediately I think, Verizon must have finally fixed the problem! But then it happens again and I have a Bad Internet Day. Oh, how we come to depend on it, those flashing screens, those back buttons which work in a nanosecond, those streaming videos that do not pause and show you the whirling “I’m trying to catch up” icon.

The problem is, when it does happen again, it takes minutes to go from screen to screen, or I am told I now have “no internet access” or this nice message appears: “Internet Explorer cannot display the webpage”. Then see, I can’t get online to Time Warner to order anything. It’s as if that Hotspot knows it’s about to get dumped so it stops working.

Why not call Time Warner, you may ask. Well, because. Frankly, I do not like using a phone. I am not a phone person, I don’t do phone well. Yesterday it took me four times longer to schedule a repair person to replace an icemaker via a chat session than it would have if I’d called. This is a quirkiness, a weirdness that I can’t explain. I’m an introvert, what can I say? I am much more extroverted in a chat session than I would be on the phone.

Here’s how a phone conversation would go:

Time Warner Representative (TWR): Good morning! How may I offer you excellent service today?

Me: I, um, want to have Roadrunner back, and also HBO.

TWR: I can certainly help you with that! We are offering a very special package of cable, internet and internet phone for $89.99 per month for one full year! Including Showtime!

Me: I don’t want the phone part. Or the Showtime. I want to add Roadrunner and HBO to my existing account.

TWR: Okay then, I can offer you the package plus $19.99 per month for HBO.

Me: Uh, I was hoping you might be able to switch the phone and Showtime for the HBO.

TWR: Look, lady. I see you had Roadrunner in the past but stopped it two years ago. I know what’s happened here. You’ve decided that Roadrunner wasn’t so bad after all, and now you want us back. Well, it doesn’t work that way, see. Take the deal. Take the phone. If you don’t want to use it, fine, don’t use it. It’s no skin off my left upper bicuspid. It’s $89.99 plus $19.99 for the HBO. Take it or leave it. Offer ends at 4:00 Eastern Standard Time.

Me: Oh, okay, then I’ll take it.

That’s how it would go, because for some odd reason, I tend to become a spineless W.I.M.P. (Weakly Interacting  Massive Particle) when confronted by a customer “satisfaction” representative who realizes I can be bullied. They teach them that in Customer Satisfaction School 101. Ten Ways to Determine if You Are Talking to Someone Who Can Be Smacked Down.

The point was to get to the Time Warner site and chat with a representative there and try to wheedle some sort of deal where I could ditch the phone they are offering in lieu of HBO and get my Roadrunner back. But I can’t do it right now because that little bugger is not providing internet access and that’s because it knows it’s getting sent to the electronics waste dump as soon as the contract runs out. It knows it! I’m sure of it!

If I could get to Time Warner’s site, here’s how the chat session would go:

TWR: Good morning, how may I assist you today?

Me: Hey, good morning. I know all about the deal you’re offering. The $89.99 and all that. Don’t even bother. Here’s what I want. Roadrunner and HBO. And I’d be a really happy camper if you’d give me the $89.99 per month deal for a year, at which time, I’m pretty sure you’ll jack it up to some ridiculous amount. I’ll deal with your sorry ass then. This is now. I want it now. Think you can do that?

TWR: I will be happy to assist you with your upgrade.

Me: Okay. Assist me then. Tell me you’ll give me the deal I’ve asked for here.

TWR: Well. just let me check. Sorry for the inconvenience. Please wait one moment.

Tap, tap, tap, tap. (my fingers on the keyboard, without pressing keys, just irritated by being told I have to wait).

TWR: Thank you for your patience! I apologize! We can make you the deal. No phone, no Showtime, just Roadrunner and HBO. $89.99 per month.

Me: Wonderful.

TWR: Is there anything else I can help you with?

Unfortunately, the above is utter bullshit. But still, I want to do it online and Mr. MiFi over there knows it and needs to act up now and quit working just so I can’t make arrangements to replace him. And then when he figures I’ve collected myself again, he’ll start working and I’ll wonder “Now why would I want to get rid of this cute little thing? Really, it’s so convenient.”

Update: Here’s how that chat session really went.

The above, of course, cannot be made up. It’s a screen shot of an actual conversation. I suspect “Jeff” could be an alias. And notice how I tell him what I want and then he asks me what I want. What the…? And then he gave me a phone number to call, so I called. I will leave it to you to guess how that went. There is a Roadrunner wireless modem in the mail. and now the Verizon MiFi Hotspot is working just fine. Sigh.

7 thoughts on “Convincing Proof That Electronic Devices Have a Soul

  1. Oh, Lynn, I feel your pain. Whether by phone or online chat, these conversations are painful–not so much from the introvert standpoint; I can be assertive on a phonecall and get my point across–but just because of all the other crap that gets included, as you point out. And if you actually get what you wanted by the end of the conversation, it’s a near miracle.

    Based on this, I’ll happily stick with Roadrunner for now. 🙂

    • I now have Roadrunner back and life is good once more. I would have to say, it really is superior, at least in this particular area. It could be that cell phone towers just can’t compete quite yet but until they can, I’m sticking with RR. I always avoid these kinds of customer service interludes but sometimes you just can’t! And it must be very difficult to be a call center person these days, just as it is for us to call them.

  2. Oh I really hate when you tell one of these companies what you are after and they ignore it, then ask you if you are interested in what you just asked for. I know they often have to ask these things or they might get told off, but a bit of common sense surely? It begins to put you off actually wanting their product.

  3. Elliot, in this case that is exactly what happened. I told him what I wanted, he asked how he could help me. What? I just told you! And there were long pauses between comments. The whole thing was really kind of humorous, in that I thought it was going to work so well for me and turned out being a fiasco and I ended up on the phone anyway.

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