Ringy, dingy, dingy – no one’s home at the phone company


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I do mean “no one’s home” in the mental sense – as in not thinking through problems and grasping for first obvious solutions, instead.

Here’s a beaut.

About a month ago, my DSL service started going intermittent. On 15, off 5, on 20, off 10. Not ideal. So I ringy, dingy, dingied Qwest DSL repair. Check the line. A-ok. “Must be your “old” modem. Let’s send you a new one (that you can pay for).” But who can argue with the phone company?

New modem arrives. Plug it in. Eureka, it stays on For a while. Arrived just in time for a webcast I was guest hosting from my office. So I’m online a day or two later waiting to start the program…and no DSL! Fortunately the host company had admin rights as well as me – and I had a printout of the slides – because I had to do the old “next slide, please” routine I haven’t done for years.

So, ringy, dingy, dingy again. Oh, we’re terrible sorry. But did you use the new modem cable we sent of the old one. Since getting to the wall jack required moving a mammoth bookcase with attached table, of course I used the old one. “No, no, no.” “Bad boy.” So we moved the heavy stuff and reran the cable. Off again, on again – again.

Ringy, dingy, dingy once more. This tech sounded very sharp. He asked, “Are you running IE8 or IE7?” “Well IE8,” because Microsoft virtually jams it down your throat. “That’s the problem. If I’ve had this once, I’ve had it 100 times.” Forgot to ask why no one else knew. So, behaving like one of those critters P.T. Barnum once said are born every second (suckers), I uninstalled IE8, which makes IE7 self-restore. Off again, on again – again.

Now I’m really ticked, not to mention embarrassed by my own gullibility. So ringy, dingy, dingy again. “Get a @#*^$*+! Tech out here NOW! “We can’t do it now, but how about between 8:00 and 11:00 tomorrow (Saturday) morning?” “Sure.”

So I got up early (for me on Saturday) so I’d be ready if the tech came @ 8. He didn’t come @ 8. Nor @ 9. Nor @ 10. Nor @ 11. Nor @ 12. And no phone call, either. Yunno, one of the training basics for Qwest field techs must be how to use this instrument called a “telephone,” wouldn’t you think? Meanwhile, I’m not getting to a long list of errands I needed to run. And Sunday was Easter.

Ringy, dingy, dingy again. Where the  ^&*()_+ is your tech. Didn’t matter if I swore, Qwest off-shores their triage on weekends, and she couldn’t understand English. But I guess certain things need no translation. After about 15 minutes of waiting, she figured out how to reach dispatch. Guy is hung up on a job. We’re the next stop. But she didn’t bother to find out when.

So, ringy, dingy, dingy again. This guy speaks modest English. At least we can communicate. He finds out the tech is on his way. Doorbell rings. It’s the tech. The suspension on his truck just broke, and he has to baby it back to the garage. But before he leaves he tells me that the problem is outside. He’s sure of that. “Someone will be out first thing tomorrow morning. But you don’t have to be here. He needs to work outside.”

Sure enough, the phone tech shows up. Starts working outside. But then he needs to work inside. I lead him to the DSL modem. He asks me, “Did you listen to the connection on handset?” “No, I explain, because your phone people told me to unplug the lines to my fax and my handset that use the modem line. He looks at me strange and says, “Doesn’t matter what happens coming out the backside of the modem.” Then I tell him the whole story. When I got to the part about uninstalling IE8 he rolled his eyes. I knew from his body language he wanted to say, “What was that +_)(*&^%$#@! smoking?” Great. Then he says, as if it would be some consolation to me, “I can hear a line short over the handset. You can’t miss it.” They (the others) never bothered listening.

He goes out. Then comes back. He has me on a temporary underground cable pair he found that a.) the gophers haven’t chewed through; or b.) hasn’t suffered water damage. The regular crew will come back on Monday to pull new permanent wires.

Boy, did I want to pull something. Real hard.

Now mind you, Qwest has done a near-miraculous job under a new CEO of pulling itself back from the brink of customer service extinction (as in being threatened with losing their entire land-line franchise in Minnesota). And I often compliment them on what they’ve accomplished. But they ain’t come nearly far enough.


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