Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Monopoly Capitalism at Work

I had a good laugh the other day, listening to that recording of the exhausted customer trying to cancel his Comcast account, against the relentless "Why, why whys?" of the maniacal cable company representative.
Then I broke my computer router, an accident which allowed me my own glimpse of media giant Comcast at work. Corporations may be people, but unfortunately most of them are bad people --sneaky self-satisfied bullies, scofflaws,cheats and liars. With the Congress and the Supreme Court on their side (or in their pockets) they're like the schoolyard thug who happens to be the Headmaster's son. Or the pig-faced++ Sherriff shaking you down in  some dusty little down, smirking, "Watcha gonna do, buddy? Call the cops?"
When I called Comcast, they told me I would need a new router, but the only one they were offering was a new improved router/modem combination unit. If this sounds smart and convenient let me remind you of Axelrod's Third Law: All improvements make things worse. In this case the "improvement" consisted of a much weaker and smaller router tucked into the modem. It's signal doesn't reach to the second floor of our apartment, where Annie has her office.
My first thought -- that's odd! The old, separate router worked just fine. When I went back to the comcast office they blithely told me I needed a "booster". This cost just over a hundred dollars. Would Comcast pay for it? Of course not. The trick is to make me pay extra. The fact that they proided me a defective machine is quite irrelevant. The nice girl behind the counter thought I was making a joke.
I bought the device, but of course I couldn't get it to work without a $129 call to a Netgear affliliated tech service. Even with the tech guy on the phone it took almost four hours to get everything up an running. So I lost around $250 and a morning's work in the busiest time of the year. I can't help thinking that a competitor willing to provide a workable replacement router for free would have forced Comcast into a more cooperative response.
The customer on the phone with the die-hard Comast seales rep last week refused to explain why he wanted to change his internet and cable provider. More than anything else, that's what drove the sales rep. crazy
He should give me a call. I'll give him an ear-full.

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