A Cinecle View – Melancholy and the Xfinite Sadness, Episode 3: Pandora’s Boxes, Part 2

Tony Marion

Tony Marion

I stared at the license plate frame – I (HEART) BRANSON – on the sticker covered PT Cruiser in front of me, stuck in traffic near the outlet stores in Lancaster; a cable box on the passenger seat.

Two weeks had passed since Comcast promised to send an X-1 box to replace the broken “upgrade” unit I received , and, shockingly, it never arrived. I had no choice but to journey to the lair of the beast …

THE XFINITY STORE

At 1:19PM on a Friday I registered with the maitre d, returned the defective box, and took a seat near the queue monitor.

monitor_00000

Ha-Ha, Bonita! Loser.

Between the chaotic child left unsupervised because mom couldn’t afford her Showtime and a woman watching a video on her phone, volume cranked, sans headphones, I was not amused.

At 2:25 PM, I was called to one of the service desks by a 50’s-ish woman named Persephone.

“So you returned a box?”

“Yeah … we’re having other problems …”

I proceeded to regale her with sordid tales of onscreen tests, the DOA box, and broken promises.

“Well, we’re upgrading cutting-edge tech. Sometimes infrastructure adjustments are needed to accommodate it,” Persephone explained while handing me a replacement box. “We may have to send someone out for pole work.”

“That’s what she said.”

“Huh?”

“Nothing, just stop right there, Persephone. If this box is defective, I’ll be skipping the pole work and going straight to a dish on the roof …” Dr. Banner, put down the spear. “I have had it with this company and the contempt it displays for its customers. I know it’s above your pay grade, but do you really think that it’s good customer service to make who are people irritated enough to call wade through endless menus and repeat information only to never receive the resolution they were promised?”

Silently, she looked at me with puppy dog eyes.

I continued: “Your phone techs are so incompetent I’m standing in a strip mall, in Amish tourist trap hell, in the middle of a fucking Friday to make sure my problems are actually solved this time!”

“And they will be. I’m very sorry about your past experiences. Let’s see if I can’t change your opinion of Xfinity.”

She retroactively deleted all of the rental fees for the old HD box that I was still using in place of the defective upgrade. But she wasn’t finished …

“We’re not supposed to do this,” she said, reaching into her purse and producing a card containing only an Xfinity logo and phone number, “Take this card. The number bypasses the phone system and goes directly to a tech.”

I felt like this guy …

charlie_00000

“Wow … Thank you!”

“Just one thing. You may get a survey call asking about my service …”

“I’m going to blow so much sunshine up your ass they’ll think you’re a lighthouse.”

I left, deciding that if this box worked, I would end my vendetta against Comcast. But, if it didn’t, I would return to the Xfinity store, box in hand, and make Persephone watch as I beat her favorite coworker to death with it.

Like this guy …

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Luckily, it worked …

Until eight days later.

While I was driving home from a work-related Saturday beer-drinking-kitten-snuggling event, Danielle called. Both X-1 boxes were down … and we couldn’t get a tech visit until Monday.

It’s good that my car is roomy …

(Sorry, I’m out of HD Hulk transformations.)

With my top secret Persephone card at home I was forced to use the automated phone system. PAY ATTENTION: You’re about to receive a pro-tip for for bypassing Xfinity menu marathons …

“Please choose from one of the following options …”

“CANCEL ALL SERVICES!”

“Please hold for the next available operator.”

“Thank you for calling Xfinity, this is Tara …”

I gave her my info.

“How can I help you today, Mr. Marion?”

“I have no HD service and my wife was told that the earliest tech appointment is Monday. Tara, if you are actually looking at my account history, you have to know that after all of the shit I’ve put up with from Comcast, Monday is unacceptable, and I’m on the verge of committing a hate crime targeting anyone with an Xfinity logo on their shirt.”

Tara giggled. “Well, we don’t want that. Let’s see what I can do.”

Tara repeated every step Danielle’s tech had taken, to the same conclusion. “I’m sorry, I wish I could do more, but weekend techs are only dispatched for widespread outages. None have been reported in your area.”

“Okay … How do I cancel all of my services?”

“Whoa! I can’t help with the tech, but you’ve been through too much for me to give up on you …”

I became so hypnotized by the sound of her fingers dancing on her keyboard like Beethoven or Ben Folds or Liberace, I barely heard her words.

“Six months free HBO” … “$20 monthly discount for a year” … “No tech charge” …

“I don’t know how to thank you, Tara. Keep the Monday appointment … I’ll give Xfinity one more shot.”

Tara managed to keep me in the fold. And thanks to the free HBO and monthly discount, made me look like a hero to Danielle. Satisfied, we decided to suck it up and watch SD TV until Monday.

Sunday morning my phone rang.

“Hello?”

“Hello, Mr. Marion, this is Billy with Xfinity tech,“ he said in a THICK Indian accent.

“We repaired a major HD outtage in your area last night, could you check if your service has returned?”

I turned on our living room TV, and HD was back. Billy asked if I’d like to cancel the Monday appointment but my brain was pulsating, trying to make sense of how one tech could know about a large scale outage while another didn’t …

Tony Marion is a writer and filmmaker who splits time between Lancaster, PA and Baltimore, MD. He lives for the work of Descendents (the band), Chuck Palahniuk and Rian Johnson. Check out the digital embodiment of procrastination he calls his website here.

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