Don’t talk to me about bad cable
customer service. It falls on deaf ears. Yes, I am
occasionally the recipient of electronic clippings
about people taking a sledghammer to their cable
box or a truck roll gone awry, but a case based
on limited anecdotal evidence, no matter how
colorful or eye-catchingly bizarre, can be made
for or against anything.
So here’s the case for cable. Years ago I got a
call on Easter Sunday from a crazed father whose
daughter was winning an LPGA tournament going
into the last round, and didn’t get the Golf
Channel. The tournament was already airing,
and he wanted me to tape it. I didn’t get Golf
Channel, either, but his system didn’t carry it and
mine did, so I was his only hope. I told him I thought the odds
were slim to none that I was going to be able to reach someone
on Easter Sunday morning, much less get them to almost
instantaneously deliver the goods, as it were.
This was back when Gus Hauser owned the suburban
Washington, D.C., system and at a time when cable service
was getting its usual bad rap. I called at about 10 a.m., got
through almost immediately and within a half hour was taping
the Golf Channel. My friend’s daughter sunk a shot out of
the sand trap and went on to win.
Fast forward to Thanksgiving Day this year. I was at my
brother’s house desperately trying to figure out who was carrying
the football game between the San Francisco 49ers and
the nearby Baltimore Ravens, which is my default D.C. home
team when the Redskins are doing so poorly (just
as the Orioles became my team when the Senators
slunk out of town).
But I digress. I found out it was on NFL Network,
which I didn’t get on my big TV upstairs because
although I had ordered my HD box, I had not installed
and authorized it yet. I panicked the way
football fans do over something that is hardly
worth panicking over and called my cable provider,
Cox, at 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving, assuming I
would be on hold for a while and then have to deal
with the female computer voice that, frankly, has
proved rather helpful to me in the past.
I did get her, but when she was unable to get me
started, I was connected almost immediately to a
Cox tech person (actually in the U.S., though the Midwest),
who was incredibly pleasant and helpful. By kickoff , I had the
game on and a turkey sandwich at the ready.
Then there was the time I yelled out my window to a technician
working on my neighbor’s cable that I needed a new
remote because my old one did not work. He could have
walked in the door and charged me a service charge. Instead,
he ran to his truck, brought me a new one and handed it to
me through the window so that he, technically, had not made
a service call.
I have nothing against Verizon, but when they came by the
other day I said I was really happy with my cable service. So,
don’t talk to me about bad cable customer service. It falls on