Saturday, January 10, 2009

Dealing With Internet Tech Support: A Nevin Barich Blog Experience

Yesterday, I told the people at AT&T Internet Technical Support that I no longer needed a technician to come out to my home because my Internet was back up and running.

It was the 10th -- 10th -- conversation I'd had with AT&T in the past three days.

Something to know about me: I don't understand computers. I'm technologically inept, which is sad considering that my job and several of my hobbies on predicated on me being on the World Wide Web. Sure, I can operate an icon system and find my Web sites. But when my Internet connection actually breaks down, I'm completely lost.

And here's another problem: Internet Technical Supports across the globe have yet to dumb things down. When you use words like routers, modems, IP addresses, filters and ethernet cords, you might as well be speaking 18th century Portugese, because I'll understand that just as well. If you used words like black thing, yellow cord and shiny doohickey, then you'd be speaking my language.

Another issue: Dealing with Internet Tech Support isn't like dealing with a doctor. When you deal with a doctor, you deal with one person and one diagnosis. When you deal with Internet Tech Support, you never know who you're dealing with. And they all have different methods and different answers.

Joanne said the ethernet cable was wearing thin. Emily said it was an outside problem and a technician needed to be sent out. Randall was willing to bet money that my modem was busted, but he would be happy to overnight me a new one free of charge if I signed up for another year of service. Johnny said no, my modem was fine, but there was an outage in my area and once that was fixed, my problem would be solved. Jeff confirmed the outage. Evelyn saw no record of an outage and insisted my problem was resolved even though my Internet was still down. Tony said there was an outage but it was fixed, and if my Internet was still not working, then he was out of ideas. Matt had an idea: Schedule another technician visit; only this time, Matt said, they're booked up for the next four days. And Kim said: "That's right sir, four days."

It made you wonder whether they all got together at a bar at the end of the night and laughed about how they tormented me so.

Finally, my fiancee Ramona -- who knows what all these flashy lights and buttons do -- stepped in and bought us a new modem. And lo and behold: Internet in our home was restored.

I then called AT&T one last time -- the 10th time -- to cancel my technician's appointment.

"I'm sorry sir," said my new friend Andrew. "But you were never scheduled for a technician's appointment. Did you even had a problem? I have no record of a service problem here."

Of course not.

And now for this week's:


Want to learn how to use the force like your favorite Star Wars Jedi? Now you can. For the low, low price of $100, you can buy a ball, a tube and a headset that monitors your brainwaves and gives you the chance to use your mind to move the ball to the top of the tube, all while hearing Stars Wars audio clips.

Please don't ask whether you're stupid if you purchased, or are thinking of purchasing, this toy.

You won't like what the response will be.


Carlos said...

Dude, don't look at the brainwave toy in such a narrow light. Think of the possibilities that the future can hold by using brainwaves to control. It came from the military a while back; all great technology came from the military - cellphones, Internet, etc. Using our brain to move items, that is technology.
Though, I forgot, you don't know how to replace a modem.....

P.S. Modems are somewhat cheap now and you can get a good deal. Oh wait, you spent your last dollars on a candy cane.....

P.P.S. How did you break your modem?

Amber said...

Nev, next time Mo isn't available to fix your flashing light internet box, call Kevin! He can fix just about anything that plugs into the wall, plus it'll give him a reason to have a Tommy Burger.

Another Suburban Mom said...


Sweetie, you need to have a system developed in your house.

At Casa ASM, Hubman handles all the purchasing and repair of all non child toy items requiring plugs or batteries. I deal with the tech support people, usually by giggling and flirting with them shamelessly.

Somehow I always get immediate service....