Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Tech support no-shitter

Probably about eight years ago, I had to call Comcast to help troubleshoot my brandy-new broadband internet connection.

I wound my way through the automated answering system hell and I finally got a tech on the line. He started reading The Script. Had I cycled power on the modem? Affirmative. Then he asked if had I unplugged the power cord from the wall or from the back of the modem. I thought it was kind of an odd question, but I answered the latter.

All stop. There was a just-slightly-too-long silence on the other end of the phone. Uh oh... my brain frantically replayed the conversation so far. What did I say?

Then, with all the authority that a tech can wield when you and he both know that he can and will refuse to help you if you do not follow his script, he told me, in all seriousness, that I had to do it again. And this time I had to unplug the power cord from the wall, because that was different than unplugging it from the modem.

I shit you not.

I was dumbstruck. I was so stunned that I couldn't even form a sentence. He was so insistent about it that I started to doubt my sense of reality. Could it possibly be true? Nah. No way. Maybe? Can't be. Can it?

In the end, I told him yes, I did it again, just the way he told me to. But I didn't.

You know, after all this time, it's still one of my all-time favorite tech support stories. He was just so absolutely sure that it mattered, he had all the power, and he damned well was going to ensure that I did it according to his script. And he probably hung up the phone feeling like he and his script had saved the day.


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