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My Cable Company Surprised Me, Really, They Did!

AP

Cable companies are down there with those Soviet food lines in bad reps for service.

So it was with a resigned sense of doom yesterday that I called my cable operator, Time Warner Cable (is that a national shudder I hear at just saying the name?). My digital video recorder/cable box was fried. No amount of unplugging and replugging ("rebooting") would bring it back to life.

I called customer service and worked my way through the chipper-voiced computer menu ("We're sorry to keep you waiting!! A representative will be with you shortly!!! Be sure to ask about our special offers!!!! And have a great holiday!!!!!!!!").

Eventually a living, breathing human being came on the line, a very nice woman who tried to revive my cable box remotely, and failed. She agreed I needed a service appointment. The first one available is Saturday, ANYWHERE FROM 9AM TO 7PM. I said, "You're kidding. Isn't there a law that says you have to provide a four-hour window?" She apologized and said the four-hour windows were already booked. Oy.

So I made the appointment. Then, almost as an afterthought, she told me I could just take the box to a local Time Warner office and swap it out for a new one. Really?? Yes! She told me where the closest one was and how late it was open.

So after work, after driving through traffic, after picking up one child from school, after standing in an endless line at UPS, I raced toward the cable office. I fully expected to be disappointed, that I would be in for a long wait, a long explanation, blah blah blah. I even feared the place might've closed early, just to spite me.

And then, I saw a star rising in the East, and, lo and behold, there was peace on earth, good will toward cable customers!

I walked in, two people offered to help, there was no waiting, I swapped out the old box for a new one, and, boom! Done! I was out of there in five minutes. Five minutes! Compared to waiting 10 hours at home on a Saturday.

I got the box home, plugged it in (this does not involve rocket science), made one more call for Time Warner to remotely send the box a signal, and all is well.

Oops. I'd better cancel that Saturday appointment. Some other poor schmuck will be waiting during that 10-hour window.

Comments? Funny Stories? Email funnybusiness@cnbc.com

  • Based in Los Angeles, Jane Wells is a CNBC business news reporter and also writes the Funny Business blog for CNBC.com.

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