May 2008

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Ashok Subbarama

I just thought I will add my two cents of bitching on Comcast .. We had Comcast Cable and Internet and for the first two months nothing would work from midnight to morning 8 AM. We would be on the phone constantly and it looked for a while like the Comcast Technicians lived more in my apt than me and my poor friend. Somehow he could not understand that why we were up at midnight accessing internet and watching TV .. duh ... Only after no payment for done for 2 months did they fix the issue.

On the hotel side, .... it was the Drake Hotel in Chicago where I had booked a room. Only to find that someone had mysteriously canceled my reservation (which I had called and verified the morning of the day of my arrival). The receptionist and the manager did everything right except give me a room. They actually gave me a list of hotels in E Walton PL and wanted me to go and find a room in any one of these "nice" hotels. Oh and they wouldn't pay for it either. Now comes the "Indignation" part .. I did not make a fuss but ended up sharing the room with a friend. Loser.


I once ordered some textbooks online and forgot that UPS normally delivered to my apartment complex around 3pm when I'm at work. I called after the first failed delivery, could I please pick it up at the depot, sure no problem.

First trip. "Sorry it went on the truck, but we'll have it held when it gets back." No, they did not.

Second verse, same as the first! Righteous Indignation. "We can give you...uhhhh..a roll of packaging tape?" What in Heck would I do with that!?!?!?

Third try, they finally left it on my doorstep. Why couldn't they have done that in the first place????


I was a trainer for a trucking company for over a decade, much of which was spent training two students over the road at a time. I got REAL familiar with Motel 6.

My favorite experience was the time we had to deliver our load in a town in North Carolina after the end of the 4th of July weekend. I specifically asked the desk clerk when we checked in if we needed to make a reservation for the next day (Sunday), and was told absolutely not, there wasn't any problem. So the next morning, I went to the desk to pay for the room again, and was told emphatically that we would have to leave, they were all "booked up" because: the moron manager was holding rooms "just in case" someone showed up at the last minute. That's right. Paying customers staying there weren't welcome, just potential ones that might breeze in off the freeway unannounced.

I wasn't about to babysit two students with me in a truck cab with two beds all weekend, and there wasn't any other motel that had truck parking.

I ended up demanding to speak to the manager. "He's, um, out there somewhere." I chased this fool up and down the motel, from floor to floor, periodically stopping back madder and madder each time to tell the clerk to find the *$@# freak IMMEDIATELY before I called corporate.

On about the third orbit around the motel, the clerk burst out of the office and informed me the manager had changed his mind, and I could now pay for the room and stay.

Good lord.

Another Motel 6 in Tucson, where I live, was happy to take my two students, and let me pay for the room, but the clerk refused to tell me what room they were in. Mind you, they were standing right next to me in front of the clerk. Security, he said. Right. First, I'll buy them a room, then I'll sneak in and murder them. Lot's of psychopaths do that, I suppose.

Once, I stayed at a Motel 6 in Birmingham, paying cash for the room. About midnight, the manager woke me up by calling me and demanding to see my receipt. I stormed down to the front desk, he glanced at my receipt, and let me go back to my room. I guess the cash cleared the bank or something. Since I was already UP and darn sure wasn't going to get any sleep in that condition, and since I just happened to have a computer and printer handy and set up ... and had their little customer service card from the president sitting right in front of me ...

A polite letter fired off to corporate yielded a nice apology and a free night's stay, which was actually followed up by several phone calls from them wanting me to assure them I was happy.

When I mentioned I stayed about 300 nights a year with them, I guess it amounted to something in someone's mind there.

I used to own a hobby shop about 25 years ago. I heard my partner arguing with a customer who had bought a radio control car from us, and it wasn't working ... again. I ran out, told my partner to shut up essentially, and listened closely to the customer's complaint.

I offered to next day in the part, fix it for free, and if it ever broke again, we'd do the same thing. Guess what? He came back in and spent several hundred more dollars with us, without a single complaint. I couldn't have paid any amount of money to get the kind of great word of mouth support that man gave us. Not bad from a business point of view, and it was a pleasure helping him.

When I get bad service, I always confine my anger to the person specifically responsible for it. If it's a stupid corporate decision, I'll commiserate with the customer rep, because he can't do anything to change the policy. But, so help me, if I get some idiot that caused it, and won't take responsibility and fix it, heaven help you!

I teach my student drivers to this day that if you caused a problem, own it, apologize profusely, and FIX the problem as best you can. Don't hide it, don't cover it up, just solve it.

When I owned my own business, I made crystal clear to my employees that they had full power to do whatever it took to fix a problem, and I expected them to do it. Just don't ever let me hear from a customer that they didn't help them.


Once I spent $3,000 to have the transmission on my Saturn fixed. It broke down an hour after I picked it up. They told me it needed a new transmission, that it would be expensive, but that it wouldn't be safe to drive otherwise. I asked if it was their policy to turn people loose in unsafe cars after charging them $3,000 to fix them. I suggested that they could spend as much money on the transmission as they wanted, but I wouldn't be paying any more. I added that I'd bring back my loaner car when they had a car for me that was safe to drive. They referred me to customer service. Customer service was on the sales side, so they were a little more innovative:

I got the value of a working version of the car, plus the cost of the repair bills, as trade-in on a new Saturn.

And yes, my next car will probably be a Saturn too.


About the call center goddess post:
So basically, a call center goddess can hang up/put on hold/refuse to attend for a long time, any customer that's making a nuisance of himself/herself. Fair enough as a defense.

Call center employees are equally guilty of taking out their frustrations with one rude caller, by being rude in turn to someone else. There's nothing the customer can do when its the call center employee that is being rude, aggressive or snippy, except to call back and hope you get a different person, or just stop being a customer.

I hope at least some company honchos are reading this and wondering - Is this how I want my customers to be treated?


Righteous Indignation works at home too…I have a little trick that I picked up from a friend about defusing arguments with a spouse or significant other. When I would come home from work and know (from the look on her face or the sub-zero chill in the room) that my wife was mad at me for something I did or didn’t do. I would instantly act like I was furious at my boss\coworker\guy at a convenience store. My wife would suddenly become the warm tender loving person that I know she is and spend a great deal of effort trying to comfort\console me and forget all about being mad at me….

This worked wonderfully until another friend of mine let her in on the little secret…


You might want to complain to Comcast about that. It is reducing your productivity and driving you to the brink of buying a straw hat.

Call Centre Goddess

(This is not to Scott - this is to all those self-righteous responders who think they're King S*** of Turd Hill because they like to piss all over Customer Service Reps and Tech Reps)

All of your little "tactics" to get your problems resolved over the phone? They make us roll our eyes. Supervisors don't take calls that a) the peons can handle or b) the customer will get the same answer. And NOT all rules can be bent. Ever hear of the GOVERNMENT? Sometimes THEY decide. And NOT all processes can be sped up. Mr. Army/Harvard Dude probably didn't have ANY superior officers who could make a letter arrive faster once it had been put in the mail. eh?

There is ONE set of procedures that will allow you to get prompt, efficient, thorough service. And what that is might surprise you.

- BE NICE. Recognize who it is you're talking to. Keep your voice down and your tone and language professional. Swearing *will* get you hung up on, and it is *well* within my rights to do so, and my supervisors will back me up 100% if you call in again to complain. This is not something agents "think" they can do. It's something they CAN and SHOULD do. And don't even DARE to threaten physical harm (yes I've had it happen). That will get your account closed and you may possibly be paid a visit by the local authorities.

- Don't overuse my name, tell me it's "my problem" to fix, talk down to me or otherwise be anything but your best, sweetest self. I will reciprocate. I *do* understand your frustration and I *do* intend to do whatever's within my power to help you out. Sometimes that's nothing, so you have to suck it up princess and wait.

- Don't ask for my supervisor, especially off the bat, unless you want to find out what stonewalling is like. Often the solution to your issue is simpler than you think and all you need to do is get off your high horse and LISTEN and ANSWER MY QUESTIONS. And don't accuse me of lying when I tell you something - I am contractually and legally putting my ass on the line if I tell you something that's untrue, so chances are I'm telling you the truth. IF I find out I'm wrong, I will apologize and fix things for you, and that is not your opportunity to self-righteously smirk at me. That is your opportunity to ask for the email where you send positive feedback about my integrity.

- Learn some friggin manners. If I've just bent over backwards to help you out, say thank you. If I tell you there isn't an immediate solution to your problem, say thank you anyway. Asking for things, saying please and waiting patiently if I've put you on hold will drastically INCREASE the effectiveness of the solution I offer you and DECREASE your hold times (this especially applies to online chat assistance - agents are often helping multiple customers at one time, and if you flood the screen with HELLO!??!?!? ARE YOU THERE?!?!?!?! after I've said One Moment Please, that will get you put to the bottom of the customer list, no matter who was there first. YOU WAIT.

- Quit with the generic commentary on the speed of service or the last agent you spoke to or anything generally derisive when you first speak to me, ESPECIALLY if it's something unrelated to the company, like the race or accent of the last agent you spoke to. Those comments will be blatantly ignored and put you in my bad books to begin with. You're talking to *me* now. Focus.

- Generally: golden rule. Because you will get the same treatment you offer.

Ahhhhhh, that was cathartic. :^D

Helen Matthews

This happened to me in Spain. We went to our hotel room, opened the door, and noticed a green amazon parrot in a cage enjoying the sun on the balcony. My husband, who likes parrots, was delighted. I noticed that the room also had someone else's things in the bathroom and realised what had happened. Took ages to drag husband away from parrot, though.


I'm just happy to see that Comcast support sucks as badly where you live as it does where I live. They are better than AT&T Broadband was, but I still have to diagnose the problems myself and tell them what they need to do to fix them.

Stephen East UK

I am the A-typical English man....I will complain like a swine that my meal is aweful but get the chef to ask me how my meal was and I will say it was the best I ever had.......I need to get one of those spine thingys I have heard so much about :P


This is one of the best and most sensible yet humourous blogs I've ever read.Great post and amazing responses too.The real-life responses posted by so many of your esteemed readers are truly wonderful.Keep blogging regularly just as you do now and keep us hooked onto your style of writing.Here's to many many more blogs from you!!!


This is one of the best and most sensible yet humourous blogs I've ever read.Great post and amazing responses too.The real-life responses posted by so many of your esteemed readers are truly wonderful.Keep blogging regularly just as you do now and keep us hooked onto your style of writing.Here's to many many more blogs from you!!!


"...a midget and a Zebra?"

Sudeep Bhaskar

Scene in a movie theatre in India:

Guard at entrance : Sorry we cannot allow anything to be taken inside the hall except the purse that the lady is carrying.

Me: Thats OK these are 2 small empty paper bags.

Guard : Sorry Sir those are the orders !

Me: Why is that ?

Guard : There was a bomb threat across the road in the other multiplex and this precaution is under police orders.

Me (With Righteous Indignation):So you are saying that these 2 empty paper bag may pose a security threat.

Guard : I dont know, but I cannot allow it.

Wife : So let me stuff them inside the purse ...

Guard : You cannot do that !!

Me (again with Righteous Indignation):What about all the stuff already inside the purse, cosmetics, perfumes etc ...

Guards : Those are fine ....

Me (supremely frustrated) : Pls call your supervisor ..

Me to Supervisor : We have bought a couple of perfumes from Body Shop as gifts and need these bags to put them in ...

Supervisor : Sorry sir the empty paper bags are a security threat as the police has specifically instructed that ... yak yak yak !!!

Me : But surely all the chemicals and liquids in the purse should be considered more of a threat than these paper bags ...

Sup : Sorry sir the empty paper bags are a security threat as the police has specifically instructed that ... yak yak yak !!!

Wife : Please understand that these are EMPTY PAPERS BAGS ..

Sup : Sorry sir the empty paper bags are a security threat as the police has specifically instructed that ... yak yak yak !!!

Wife : Please stop talking like you dont understand the situation.

Sup : Fine ..

Supervisor turns and leaves !!!!! We are left standing gaping at the guard.

Now I sleep soundly at night knowing that no terrorist will be able to sneak in paper bags into movie theatres.


The following could only be true because it is too unbelievable to be false.
I was on business in Dayton, OH and my husband joined me after completion of my business. I had made reservations for two nights for us at a less-expensive hotel than the one my company had paid for. However, I was able to use my company's discount since the down-grade hotel was a part of the Sheraton chain who had a contract with my company. So we checked in at 2:00 p.m. but our room was not ready..."please come back at 4:00". Okay, no problem (I am already feeling guilty because I am paying $10 a night less than the other guests.) Mess around the local stores, come back, room is ready. Room is also on first floor as requested since husband has a degenerate back condition. Hot in room (August) turn up A/C. Meantime, husband who did his own packing, has forgotten his toothbrush and toothpaste. Go to desk and blushingly ask for complimentary toothbrush and tooth paste, thereby admitting that, not only am I getting a cut-rate room, but that I look like I am leeching further freebies. Back to room...A/C still not working. Call desk "we'll have maintenance take a look at it." Half-hour later, no maintenance. Back to desk. Agree that we will go out for dinner while waiting for repair. Back after A/C, no maintenance. Night desk clerk now on and has no record of our problem. I am apologetic, desk clerk is not. Desk clerk informs me that it is Saturday, A/C repair does not work on weekend. I apologize..."dont think I will be able to sleep in that kind of heat". Big sigh. Issues another room on the fourth floor. Spouse and I repack suitcases and haul everything up to 4th floor. Room has no light bulbs in any of the fixtures. Aha! Lamps all around room not plugged in because all outlets are blackened and burned. Only bathroom lights work. Call desk explain problem. "He'll come up with light bulbs". Explain again that the problem is the outlets have all been burned out. Desk Clerk now disgusted with us. "Come down to desk, will find another room." At desk, another couple checking out being very vocal about problems with their stay. Should have left with them. Clerk gives us two cards for a room on the second floor. Haul all luggage, computer, etc. down to new room. My key card does not work. Husband's key card does not work. Back to desk. Clerk REALLY disgusted. I feel I am a disappointment to him. "By himself can't leave desk right now...probably not using swipe card correctly." Wait 15 minutes...clerk goes up to room and uses our cards to swipe in. He can't get in either. Uses master swipe card..that does not work. Big sigh from clerk. I feel personally responsible for failure of electronic lock. New room on first floor...haul everything back down...swipe card works...lights work...except room is the Land of Unwanted Furniture. Bits and pieces of furniture...nothing matches...two beds, one chair, night stand with clock and non-working table, no chairs. No lamps. Starting to wonder if there is some truth in "Twilight Zone" episodes. Call desk clerk..half hour later he brings up a floor lamp. No response to my "thank you". Now is 11:30 p.m. Just give up and go to bed. No use in staying up since no t.v. and one chair has (and I kid you not) leg duct-taped on. Check out next day. Spouse is in pain from hauling luggage around...has hard time getting out of bed. Screw up courage and ask for refund. No refund. Must submit form and wait for verdict from Sheraton. Submit form. Form is forwarded back to local manager who says Hotel "fulfilled all their obligations and made every attempt to correct problems". No refund. Finally call Sheraton Corporate HQ and use company contract as a threat. Get big $20 refund guessed it... we were ten minutes past check out time. Fairfield Inn on North Main St. Route 40, Englewood, OH. Slip in and have the continental breakfast but don't stay.

Chris Hulley

Ah yes ... the joy

I was in Woolworths some years back (a food supermarket for non aussies), in the drinks aisle, putting back some bottles of coke that had fallen down. A little ol' lady came up to me and asked "young man, can you tell me where I can find bulk pet food for my dog?"

"Sure," I responded. "Aisle 7, towards the back of the shop".

"Oh, do you mind showing me where?" No problem. We got there.

"Would you mind lifting one up into my trolley for me?" Again, no problem.

"Thank you. Do you think you could help me after checkout, and lift it into my car?"

This is where things started to get nasty.

"Sorry ma'm, but I'm too busy. I just haven't got the time."

A scowl appeared.

"Where are your manners. No one wants to help old people these days. I thought Woolworths had a store policy of helping pensioners. You help me right away, or I'll complain to the management!"

"Sorry ma'm, but I ..."

"No buts! Are you going to help me, or not?"

"Well, no, but ma'm ..."

"Hmmmf! I'll see you in trouble for this!" Stalks off. I wandered about a bit, doing my stuff, and eventually the manager and she came down the aisle, and found me.

"That's him! That's him! And I want him to carry my stuff, apologise, and an apology from Woolworths management as well, or I'll be taking this further!"

The manager looked at me dubiously. "Um, sorry ma'm, but I don't think he works for Woolworths. Do you work here?"

Me: "No, I'm just another customer ... this lady needed a bit of help I was happy to give, but I can't do any more, I'm in a bit of a rush, but she never gave me a chance to explain ..."

The color changes (white, red, green ...) in this professional complainer were interesting to see ...

Doug S.

Warning: Recreational complaining may be addictive. See for more details.


It must be at least a two-participant ISP conspiracy!

Cox has been having trouble making my Internets work this week also!

After several attempts (we started Saturday)and many "you are important to us but listen to these commercials while we make you hold for hours" kinds of recordings, we talked to a live person on Monday who said we are not getting a good signal out here in the boondocks. Duh! Ya think? Why else would we hold for days to talk to a live person?

Anyhow, they dispatched a Tech on Monday who is not going to be able to get out here until Thursday. Either bunches of people are having the same problem or that horse the Tech is riding is mighty slow.


Ha, that's great... It's common too. You know all those people who read something in a newspaper or -- more likely -- see it on some current affairs show and start working up into a lather of righteous indignation? Whatever they're talking about has nothing to do with them, they don't have all the facts and it's normally an ill-thought out position from some paid extremist anyway.

"Did you see this? An army truck hit a cow and wounded it, so they put it out of it's misery by shooting it in the head. I'm with Ann Coulter -- this is exactly the sort of limp-wristed liberalism that will run this country into the ground! The cow was dying anyway, why waste a bullet? That's funded by taxpayers money. Yours and MY taxpayers money."


hillarious! Thanks for posting this, it made me laugh so much. I enjoy you blog very much.

Mr. Wampus

I love the letter posted by Taff. I nearly spewed milk out of my nose when I read it. And I wasn't even drinking milk at the time. Weird.

I had trouble with a phone company one time. Each month when I paid my bill it never got credited to my account. So the next month my bill showed an unpaid balance that kept growing each month. I called them about it several times and they always said they were aware of the problem and not to worry about it if I had paid my bills. This went on for about 8 months. Then one day I got a nasty letter from their collections department demanding that I pay the unpaid balance that by then had gotten pretty large since they never credited any of my payments. They were really nasty to me on the phone too when I called to explain what I had been told several times by their customer "service" person. I had to go back and make copies of all my cancelled checks and mail them as proof that I had in fact paid all of my bills on time and that the problem was theirs not mine. I wrote a nasty letter to them demanding that they switch my service to one of their competitors at their expense. They did so with no apology or even an acknowlegement of a problem. That was 20 years ago and I have not done business with them since. Not that I hold grudges or anything.

bloodrage bob

did this happen at luxor, by chance? my wife & i had the exact same experience ("where's the whirlpool tub we specified? and whose clothes are those spread out on the bed?") as we checked into our suite on our *WEDDING NIGHT*.

luxor instantly upgraded us into a suite that i later found out rents for $5000 a night; comped breakfast; issued profuse apologies.

smart business: the upgrade suite was obviously sitting empty on a slow night; the comped breakfast didn't cost them more than $25, and they have 2 happy customers who recommend luxor, even 10 years later. all you jetblue execs out there reading this might wanna take notes.....


Anyone married very long knows about spousal venting. It is best to just listen, make no suggestions how to solve the problems and be attentive to their concerns. This makes for a lot less arguing. So Scott, your summer front desk experience and old bosses’ philosophy were setting you up for a happier marriage. Go figure.

Almost Lucid (Brad)

Did you try turning it off and back on again? Ha... just fucking with you.

I wholeheartedly agree with the ability to resolve an issue. I've been having car issues and after the 4th trip to the shop, they resolved it... and broke something else. And then wanted to deny it. etc etc, nothing new. But the letter I'm going to write to the management will certainly include your statement about satisfaction.

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