Saturday, October 20, 2007

I Despise Earthlink

Here's an exercise in futility: for the new apartment, I recently ordered Earthlink's freestanding DSL service. It clearly gives you the impression that you do not need a phone line for it to work. So I thought, "Great! I can save money by just using my cell phone instead of paying for a land line!"

So I get the package. But by the time I get home it's not on my porch. So of course, I assume it is stolen. I report it stolen to UPS and Earthlink and they send another one out.

Fast forward to the following day: it's sitting inside my apartment! Turns out my neighbor received it accidentally and safeguarded it so it wouldn't get stolen (which was very nice of her). She gave it to my landlord who put it in my apartment.

So now I call up Earthlink to cancel the shipment of the second package. And I get their aggravating automated "talk-to-the-fucking-computer" system. Why are all of these agencies using these now? They never are able to answer my nuanced questions, and worse yet, I don't want to talk to a fucking computer! And they've gotten smarter than in the past. Usually I would just say nothing and after 5 minutes of sounding frustrated that I wasn't talking, the computer would just patch me through to a human. Not anymore. They basically give you the automated version of a "Fuck you" and hang up. These telemarketers are desperate to not talk to anyone, ever.

So I frustratedly talk to the stupid computer, and after about 10 minutes get funneled to one of Earthlink's offshore help centers. Another bugaboo. Now I truly have nothing against the nice folks in general on the other end. I feel sorry for those folks in the outsource shops - Earthlink didn't hire operators in India and Pakistan because they wanted to pay them more, after all. But over the course of two or three hours I managed to talk to three different people who understood more than enough English to understand the basic questions I asked, but not enough to understand the more complex questions: "I was under the impression that I needed no phone line but now it turns out I do!" "That is right, sir, you always need a phone line for DSL." "But your website specifically says I don't!" "That is right, you always need a telephone line for your DSL service." "Could I talk to a supervisor?" (This is where I was put on hold for half an hour - I'm not kidding - hung up, and tried again.)

These folks may speak better English than I ever will speak of Hindi, or Bengali, or Punjabi, or whatever other languages they might know. And sure, it'd be fun to learn any of those languages. But if they are going to use underpaid laborers (which hurts them as well as American workers), I wish they would find folks that understand the most complex nuances of the languages being spoken. O tal vez debo hablar con la operadora española. Aunque mi español es en nivel similar con el inglés de los operadores indianos y paquistanis. ¡Ay caray!

I finally get to talk to somebody about canceling my service, and am told that I will not be charged once I send back my modem. Of course, since they sent no return shipping label with the modem they have to send one of those to me, too. But now I am having my packages sent to my parents' house, which is secluded enough that packages are never swiped off the porch (there's actually a little too much junk on the porch for a would-be thief to even think something worth taking was there, but I digress).

Fast forward to today, when I get an invoice for my Earthlink service! AAAAAAAAAUGH!

At least I don't have to work this morning (I teach a morning college class; unlike most Saturday mornings, I gave my students off today), otherwise I would be late. And, at least I'm meeting a friend from out of town at the Timonium Oktoberfest! I can drown my frustrations in some beer that actually has flavor, unlike the stuff the most popular American beers. Oops, did I say that? (I'm talkin' bout you, Coors!)