One of the helpful things Bob Sullivan does in Gotcha Capitalism is explain how to complain in a polite, productive manner. “After you get a human,” he writes about the trying, Muzak-intensive customer service call experience, “you’ll want to act like one.” There are numerous accounts of inhuman customer behavior out there; one, Waiter Rant, recently made the jump from blog to bestselling book.
This is not to imply that boorishness and idiocy flow in just one direction, from customer to CSR. Take, for example, this famous AOL incident as featured on The Today Show:
Then there is this story about Comcast CSRs altering LaChania Govan’s account information so that when her bill arrived, it was addressed not to Govan but rather “Bitch Dog.” (The CSRs responsible were fired.)
These examples make Ben’s experience cancelling his cable service in Pittsburgh pale by comparison.
BEN: Hi, I’d like to cancel my cable.
CSR: OK, I can help you with that today. [verifies all the personal info] Now why do you want to cancel your cable service with us, Mr. Vore?
BEN: I just don’t need it anymore.
CSR: Really? Don’t need cable? You don’t like to watch TV?
BEN: At the moment, no.
CSR: You’re saying you don’t like to watch TV?
BEN: I’m saying I’m just trying to cut TV out of my life.
CSR: That’s unusual. Are you not getting the amount of channels you want, because we have some great packages that would give you HBO and Showtime for a very affordable rate.
BEN: I’m not interested, thanks.
CSR: Not interested in HBO or Showtime? Wow, I’m surprised.
BEN: Yup. I just want to cancel my cable, thanks.
CSR: I just find that hard to believe, Mr. Vore. You’re telling me you really don’t enjoy having cable?
BEN: That’s what I’m telling you, yes.
CSR: Hmmm. But I thought everyone liked TV?
BEN: Well, at the moment, not me.
CSR: So what are you going to do without TV?
BEN: I thought I might read more often, exercise a little more. It’s going to be scary, I know.
CSR [as Ben pictures her, shaking her head in disbelief]: Well, okay Mr. Vore. I don’t understand it myself, but let’s go ahead with it.
Had a similar experience? Or been on the receiving end of a nasty customer complaint? The Voreblog Forum invites you to comment with your own story. Talk has also turned to bad cases of food poisoning, alternate suggestions for BW3’s tagline, and farts “that smell like the ocean.” We don’t know whether to breathe deep or dry heave.