For those of you expecting faster internet at 159 Table Rock Road, you will have to wait a while longer. I found out today why cox communications failed to follow up multiple times on my requests for repairs to the internet. I spoke face-to-face with someone at the cox store who told me they were thinking the problem was going to fix itself.
Everyone knows the internet in our house has been slow for a while—all it takes is a couple laptops to suck the trickling stream dry, and anyone too far from the router can’t catch more than a flicker of the worldwide web. Last winter I finally called about it because we couldn’t even stream fast enough to load programs onto our new TV. It’s beyond pathetic.
Just getting them to come to the house to work on it was like a comedy of errors. Everything was arranged over the phone, waiting on hold forever between people and departments, all asking for the same background information, all so patiently and slowly doing absolutely nothing to help except passing me along to someone else who was pleased to say (after gathering more information) that they also could not (did not have to) help. This exasperating ordeal eventually led to actual work orders, but these were only filed (I later found out), never executed, like I was just interested in complaining about the problem but I never made it clear enough that I wanted it fixed, aggghhh!
Finally, someone executed the work order and spent the afternoon at the house. After giving me a new router (oh yeah, we updated all of these for everyone years ago—they should have told you, ha, ha, ha), the situation was no better. “You’re barely getting a signal in here, the problem’s out on the street. I’ll see what I can do.” Two hours later, “I can’t do anything out there. I’ll put in a work order. Someone could be out in a few days or a few weeks.” He gave me a shrug of his shoulders. My money was on the few weeks, if even then.
Someone from cox showed up at 8:30 that night and Rachel was the only one home. Of course he only had part of the story from Cox—what does that matter. Nevertheless, he went right to work on something, fumbling around in the dark near the street, digging at the dirt on a cold January night. “I can’t do anything, the ground’s frozen,” he reported to Rachel, something he had not anticipated, yet it could not have escaped him as he was getting into the truck that night that we were in the middle of winter. Then he went into the basement and attached a small device, about the size of a pack of cigarettes, to the cable that was supposed to boost the signal, something that Staples probably sells that the staff laugh about whenever some sucker buys one. “Someone will be back in daylight to dig up the cable,” he told Rachel.
Three weeks and no one came. I steeled myself and made the cox call. They had no record of anyone making a repair on the Saturday night in question and there was no current order for any further work at 159 Table Rock Road, either from the original repair man or from the mystery man of the night. They did have, I was able to determine, the notes on the account that clearly indicated the work needed, they just never got the call from me to confirm that I wanted them to go ahead with it (only later did I find out why that reasoning makes sense).
I patiently confirmed the order for them to go ahead and fix the problem that I had just wasted a month of my life begging them to fix. “We can’t do anything about that now, sir, the ground’s too frozen to dig. We’ll put this on the top of the list for the spring.” I shook my head. Over the telephone I could nearly see the woman pressing the delete key next to the work order with my name. She probably chuckled to herself, “Let him start again from the beginning and we’ll see how far he gets.”
I got a call from the mysterious night repair man the next night.
“My boss told me, ‘you better call that guy at 159 Table Rock, he’s going crazy calling the office’.” He was not surprised to hear that cox had no record of his work here and no order for any work out on the street. “I told your wife we’d be back to work outside and then I put in the order.”
“Ummm, that was my daughter, by the way, and they don’t have your order at cox communications.” I took this opportunity to point out how communications was part of his company’s name and, well, they don’t really seem to be communicating effectively with anyone, including their own employees.
“That’s the way they are, we all joke about it,” he said, “communications, right, we’re all about communication.” Yes, I see, very funny.
Three weeks ago, without any call from me, I came home to see the ground all marked off by “Dig Safe” to show the location of the utilities and cables. That’s all. No work, and no further action for three weeks. Now the marking paint is worn off the grass and the grass is growing up to obscure the tiny plastic markers. I drove to cox communications today. They looked up my account. There was no active work order.
“But there must have been,” I said, referencing the recent markings of the utilities.
“Yeah, but they (Dig Safe) never called us back, so we cancelled the job.”
“So Dig Safe has to call you? But you called them. This isn’t their problem, it’s a cable problem.”
“Either they have to call us or the customer has to call, let us know they’ve done their thing.”
“But it’s been three weeks, wouldn’t you just check back yourself to see if they did what you asked them to do?”
“No, we don’t check back. When we don’t hear back we figure the problem just fixed itself.” I stared at the man for a second or two. I couldn’t think of anything to say that would translate into his language, anything that would make sense in the world of cox communications. Finally, I just stated the obvious, in the child-like terms I had been reduced to using.
“As I understand it, the cable itself, the wire under the ground is broken. There is no way in a hundred years it’s going to fix itself.” I let out a breath. “It’s all in the notes,” I said, pointing to the screen he was looking at with my account on display.
Unfazed, or uncomprehending, he continued on. “So, do you want to initiate a repair? I can have someone come out this week to assess and then we can generate a work order.”
Maybe the cable will fix itself before they get here on Wednesday.