Living in a Comcast world

By John Owen | Jul 11, 2013

We moved recently.  Not very far. We are still in Edmonds, still in "The Bowl."  And as we remarked to friends, all of our electronic loose ends should be untangled following a quick phone call to Comcast.

One of the first times I mentioned this in a crowded room, friends and complete strangers groaned, slapped their foreheads with open palms and exclaimed loudly, "Oh, no.  Not Comcast."

We were initially confused.  How difficult could it be, to re-establish our phone number and e-mail just a couple of blocks away from our former residence?

Our phone call effortlessly established us with a Comcast representative.

"Hello.  What is your name?" a foreign voice asked me.

Before I could answer my new friend was offering me a Comcast contract that would give me 138 new entertainment channels and all of the sports programs including the Super Bowl, the World Series and the all-Turkish Belly Bumping semifinals.

"I'm already subscribed to HBO, Showtime, Starz, Bravo, Encore, ESPN, Golf, Speed, Spike and the Husky sports network," I responded.  "And if I bite my lip I can endure the absence of Turkish rassling from my Comcast lineup.  So can you please send a Comcast representative out to my new residence with a screwdriver, a phone cord and a cable splicer?"

Suddenly, my foreign correspondent no longer spoke English.  He spoke only contract extensions, expanded service and something called XFINITY.

And he wanted to sign me up on the spot, with no guarantee I'd be able to exchange phone recipes with my new next-door neighbor.  Suddenly I understand the muttered oaths, the slapped foreheads and the other sound effects employed by perspective customers.

Fortunately one acquaintance had told me that Comcast was legally required to give callers contact to a company representative residing in this country. If you are lucky, you might even reach a local representative.

Even that seemed like a longshot because Comcast's long-distance representative insisted that our new residence could not be located on their map.

"The postman has already followed us to our new home," I pointed out.

The local representative I eventually located said two installers would arrive the next Wednesday between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.  In desperation I took up watch from a lawn chair overlooking Seventh Avenue North and vowed to throw myself under the wheels by any passing truck bearing lettering for Comcast or XFINITY.

One truck whizzed past before I could react but 10 minutes later I spotted another truck with two men who seemed confused by the neighborhood addresses.

I threw myself at their feet, figuratively if not actually and they were soon grappling with phone and TV cords in our new residence.

Two more phone calls were later required to summon servicemen who adequately solved all our problems.  But by this time we weren't anticipating a no-hitter and were willing to settle for a complete game.

Our remaining problems are minimal.  Oh, yeah, one evening our TV set refused to connect us with some of our favorite channels.

I was about to deliver a stiff kick in the XFINITY chamber when I noticed my wife chattering away on the phone.

"Who are you talking to at this late hour?" I finally asked.

"Comcast," she replied. Her conversation continued for 30 minutes with some female representative.

Helpfully, I occasionally shouted across the room," You don't seriously expect this lady to solve your problem at 11 p. m." I tried  to interrupt.

Alice persevered and 20 minutes later the missing channels had been restored and she was chatting up the Comcast rep.

The lady even called back the next afternoon, to be sure the Comcast channels had actually been restored.

She didn't even attempt to sell Alice a subscription to Grapple and Groan Magazine.

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