Wednesday, March 22, 2006


Dear Comcast:

I'm really frustrated. We had digital cable installed two weeks ago, and I've had to call a number of times to report periodic glitches that make the cable television essentially unwatchable. I've had the box reset by remote, without success.

The box does a little dance with me: it can work just fine for a while, then it goes right back to glitching.

I scheduled a service appointment today, for between 9 and 11 a.m. I was told the technician would call ten minutes before he arrived. Because I have to work during those hours — and because I can get home from work in five minutes (or less) — I asked that I be telephoned at work, so that I can get home to meet the technician.

Naturally the technician waited to call me at work until he arrived at my apartment. He then announced that I had five minutes to get home before he left. I said that was fine, and I got on my scooter and made it back to the apartment within five minutes . . .

and he was gone. When I got back to work, someone had left a message on my voice mail reporting that the technician had left (you know, because his time is valuable) and I needed to schedule another two-hour repair window.

All the technician had to do was follow the work order, and I would have been home to greet him. Now I have to live with this inconsistent cable signal until I can schedule another appointment.

Odd, to me, that customers are required to sit in their houses for two hours and wait for your technicians (often longer), but the technicians can't wait even the five minutes they've promised to wait — this after they've blown off the work order and failed to call the customer in advance.

To sum up: you sell a product that doesn't work, and you slowly fritter away the lives of the duped buyers who have to put their lives entirely on hold while you fail to make repairs. Ah, the privilege of a municipal utility monopoly. It must be nice for you. Now if only I could find a way to watch The Sopranos without subjecting myself to your digital service, which seems to function only 15% of the time, I'd be sitting pretty, too.


Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Whole Foods Market; River Street, Cambridge, MA

I just visited your Blue Ribbon BBQ counter a moment ago, and I came away a bit annoyed for the experience. I ordered a half-slab of ribs, by which I meant the "half-slab platter," which has "platter" status by virtue of the inclusion of a piece of cornbread and two side dishes. The gentleman at the counter assembled a pile of ribs, wrapped them in a cardboard box, and handed them to me. He asked if I wanted anything else.

I said, "Yes, I'd like my two side dishes." He looked at me, confused. "For the platter." This was my mistake: I had thought that by ordering a half-slab of ribs, I was by implication ordering the platter. Fine. As I say, my mistake.

Imagine my surprise, however, when the guy at the counter opened the cardboard box and REMOVED two of the ribs from the pile, then got on with the business of supplying my side dishes and cornbread.

"Wait a minute," I said. "Does the half-slab platter REALLY have two FEWER ribs than the half-slab of ribs?" It seemed logical to me that the "slab" unit — of which a half-slab is half — would be a constant, whether it was served a la carte or with side dishes in the "platter" format.

I was disabused of this wayward notion when the guy at the counter said, "Yes," without further explanation. He then served up concededly abundant helpings of rice, collard greens, and cornbread.

My first complaint, as you no doubt have gathered from the above, is the degree to which the folks at your Blue Ribbon counter play fast and loose with the term "half-slab."

My second complaint is a bit more nuanced. When the guy at the counter first presented me with the boxed ribs, the cardboard bore a sticker that charged me a little over $9 for the meat alone. After he "plattered" these ribs (by adding the sides and cornbread and subtracting two significantly-sized ribs), he priced the meal at the $12.99 amount set forth on the menu.

Is it really possible that I gained over $3 worth of value with the side dishes, after taking the two-rib penalty for correcting my order? I'm not convinced, and I spent the whole walk home brooding about it.

I demand satisfaction.


Friday, March 03, 2006

Re: [DCG-37687]: iPod case

Well, this is frustrating because I was told I could return the iPod case for a full refund. In my correspondence with your fellow Customer Supporters, no one ever mentioned assessing a 30% Repackaging Fee because I'd opened the product. As for "stretching out" the case, as you suggest, I'm skeptical. And I certainly wasn't willing to cram my iPod in there for a week to "stretch out" the case, at which point I don't doubt I'd be told I couldn't return it because it was all bent out of shape.

I had assurances the case would fit. I opened the box, tried to put the iPod in the case, and it didn't fit. If I hadn't opened the box, I would never have known it didn't fit. What's a guy with a naked iPod to do?