Saturday, July 9, 2011

A Shout-out to Office Space, an Apple Hipster and a Comcastastrophe.

To preface my remarks, a cinematic representation of my feelings toward technology and the people who make that technology go.

Since it's my birthday, I feel like I'm allowed to vent a bit about the technological/interpersonal issue I've dealt with in the last week.

Wednesday, June 29:
The iPhone that was supposed to change my life was actually making my life more difficult because it didn't want to work correctly. My earpiece just stopped working, so I had two options:
A) Walk around talking to myself on my headphones looking like a lunatic until people realize that I'm not actually talking to myself, but just talking into my headphones to someone really important, OR
B) I could put my conversation on speakerphone for all the world to hear, which, actually, is even awkward when you're having just a normal conversation because EVERYONE around you feels the need to listen to how your wife's day is going.

So I go to the Apple store and see (no exaggeration) 17 sales associates roaming the floor helping no more than 6 customers. I'm numero seven. Nobody offers to help me. I awkwardly walk up to a group of four hipster salespeeps chatting - I felt inferior because, in the back of my head, I knew I only had a MacBook at home and not the MacBook Pro and, no, I don't have the latest app for that and, no, I haven't yet bought the super-exclusive Kate Spade iPhone cover and, no, I don't know who that band is and, no, I didn't go to that latest gallery showing that hipsters love - and asked for some help.

The following is actually gonna be pretty funny because of the irony of it all. As I walked in, there was a huge Teach for America display prompting people to donate their old iPads so that we TFAers can change the world one worthless app at a time. It being an Apple store and these being hipster associates (important to note that within the hipster culture, it's cool to be educated because how could you ever think to look down your nose at someone someone about a Jackson Pollack painting or an F. Scott Fitzgerald novel if you hadn't actually learned about them yourself?), I thought that they could solve my problem or at least explain to me in an intelligent way what I was to do to solve my problem. So she pulls out her iPhone to take down my information; she asks me for my e-mail address. My address begins with the word "chronicle" because it's the e-mail I used when I was an editor at my college newspaper, The Daily Utah Chronicle.

Girl: "Can I get your e-mail address?"

Me: "Yeah, it's 'chronicle'..."

She writes "cronical."

Me: "Oh, actually, it's 'le' at the end."

Girl: "Oh, duh, haha."


Me: "No, I meant it ends 'cle,' not 'cal.' "

Girl: "Oh my gosh, I'm sorry."


Me: "Oh, and there's an H after the first C."


Me: "Uh, nope, how 'bout we just start over and I'll spell it? C..H..R....."

Girl: "Okay, so now that I've got this, you'll have to set up an appointment to see someone at our Genius Bar. Does 5:30 tonight work for you?"

It was 11:15 a.m.

Me: "Well, it's something so small, can I just ask someone really quick?"

Girl: "No, we only have two technicians, so you'll have to make an appointment. Does 5:30 work?"

Me: "No, I have a meeting. When's the next appointment?"

Girl: "Tomorrow at 10:10 a.m."

Me: "Alright, just give me that one then."

Girl: "Well, sir, I actually can't make the appointment for you, but you can do it! Do you have the Apple Store app?"

Me: "What? The app? No, I don't come here often enough to necessitate an app on my phone that doesn't work."

Girl: "Well, all you need to do is download the app, put in our store number, check available times and then register your information! Or you can go on to Apple's website, type in our store, check available times and then register your information!"

Me (pretty frustrated at this point): "I don't want to download an app. Can't I just have you make the appointment for me in your system's computer? Doesn't that seem easier?"

Girl: "Um........I guess we could log into a computer here and have you do it.....I guess that would work."

I was appalled. Now, I think technology is wonderful and I can't imagine my life without constant GPS and Internet capability, but this is ridiculous. They have completely outsourced paper and pens for iPads and iPhones and useless apps to make an effing appointment.

So I made my appointment and never received the confirmation e-mail that she promised because my e-mail address is chronicle., not cronicaldot.

Friday, July 1:
We just moved, so we had to take care of all the moving responsibilities that nobody loves to do: switching over our mailing address to EVERY organization that has your old address, turning on the lights and water, and getting your Internet and cable set up.

Now, the cable wasn't so important, but we definitely needed Internet because my wife is doing a teaching program over the summer and needs the Internet to plan lessons every single night, so it is an absolute necessity. So I called Comcast and they set everything up to be installed on Friday from 11-2. We were set to drive up to Pittsburgh (a 12-hour journey so we needed to leave as soon as possible). So I asked the girl if they could come closer to 11 than 2 and she said that she'd put a note on there for me and that they would call an hour before to give me a heads up. Well, it gets to be 12:30 and still no call and we gotta hit the road, so I have my wife call just to see when the guy will be here. After 15 minutes on hold, we finally get a human on the line who tells us that we actually rescheduled the appointment for Monday, July 4 (when we're in Pittsburgh). I inform her that we didn't do that at all and that we need someone out here in the next half hour to get our stuff turned on. She tells us that because of the mix-up, they can't get someone to our house until July 8 and that she's "really sorry about the misunderstanding."

Long story short: I get her manager and flip the F out, so he tells me that he can get someone here on Tuesday, July 5, but it's not guaranteed, it's only possible if someone else cancels their appointment. I proceed to tell him to cancel some other poor soul's appointment to set up my service and then he can have the exact same conversation with that person about why nobody showed up at their house. We agree that they'll be there the 5th or I'm burning the place down.

Four hours later, I get a confirmation call that an installer will be there on July 5 from 8-11 a.m. Great news.

Monday, July 4
Driving back from Pittsburgh, my wife and I decided to call just to confirm our appointment for the next day. The woman confirms my appointment, but not for the next day, but the 6th. I tell her that's absolutely wrong and she gets her manager. Her manager proceeds to tell me that the technician must have called in sick, but nobody will be there the next day. I demand some kind of credit to my account for the hassle and we set up for Wednesday, July 6 from 8-11 a.m.

Wednesday, July 6:
10:30 a.m., doorbell rings. Tarvis the Comcast Man is here to save the day.

Tarvis: "So where's everything going today?"

Me (in the living room): "The Internet and DVR will go in this ro...."

Tarvis: "I'm gonna stop you right there because it doesn't have me listed as installing a DVR, just an adapter."

Me: "Well, you're installing the adapter in the bedroom."

Tarvis: "I'm gonna stop you right there because it says I'm only setting up one TV with an adapter, not a DVR."

Blood begins to boil. I start to see red. I've already called my backcountry terrorist friend from West Virginia to inflict injury on Comcast.

Me: "No, no, no, this is the fourth time I'm getting bent over by Comcast. Call them and fix this."

So Tarvis calls - and to his credit, Tarvis was a great guy, very helpful, but it wasn't his fault, he was just the messenger. He tells me that he brought all the equipment necessary because the notes on his invoice list a DVR, but the charges don't, BUT that Comcast can't add the DVR unless I want to reschedule my appointment. Uh. Hells no. If I do that, at this rate, they won't show up again until October. So he set everything up, but I had to go to the Comcast office and exchange the stuff he installed for the DVR after 4 p.m.

So, really, what should have taken an hour on Friday, July 1, ended up taking six days of constant hassle, two missed appointments, one screwed-up appointment and a trip to the Comcast store nowhere near my house.

Sorry for the length, but I had to get it off my chest.

So, to conclude where I started, a clip from Office Space.