A Cinecle View – Just when I thought I was out, they pulled me back in … Part 1

Tony Marion

Tony Marion

FACT: I’m prone to exaggeration.

I don’t outright lie very often, but I am a super-mega-giant fan of adjectives and qualifiers. So when you read this story, please do so with the following disclaimer in the back of your brain at all times:

I‘m not exaggerating, “painting” or massaging the truth at all … because I don’t have to do any of those things. My arch-nemesis is really as incompetent as I’ve described them in the past. And I actually do speak to them in real life the way that I portray our conversations in this space.

Saturday, January 28th, 2017, Danielle (my wife) received a telephone call from a number not in contacts, in Clairton, PA, near Pittsburgh. She ignored the call, returning to her phone only after her voicemail alert chimed. Danielle has the feature that turns a voicemail into a text message enabled on her phone, so she took one look at, sighed and chuckled out, “It’s for you,” before throwing her iPhone to me. I looked at the text and …

… mother … fucking … COMCAST!


That would have actually been very considerate of them … if they hadn’t just made the same call on 12/29/16 and sent a tech to my house to repair the problem on 1/6/17.

I didn’t tell you, the HoboTrashcanites, that story because, without me having to complain, they sent a a swell guy named Andy …

Artist rendition of Andy

… to my house and he …

  1. Made my internet faster than I realized it should have been
  2. Didn’t charge me for the service call even though the issues were not necessarily their fault*

* I admit to NO WRONGDOING of any kind but especially not WARRANTY VOIDING MODIFICATIONS to any cable-related equipment.

So when I saw the text on the 28th, I already had an attitude when I returned the call and jumped through the normal hoops before being connected to a script-reading-yes-no-bot with a bad phone connection and an accent so thick that I could only understand about every other word that he said. Luckily, I’d already had the first part of this conversation weeks before with someone else reading from the exact same script.

    “Mr. Marion, our equipment is reading distortion in your internet signal. I’d like to run a simple diagnostic on your COMCAST internet modem to see if we need to send a technician to your home or …”


    [Insert chirping crickets sound here.]

    “Okay …”

    “A tech has already come to my house, the work is done, the internet is blazing, so, no, you may not run a diagnostic. What you can do, though, is tell me why COMCAST is so inept at something as commonplace as fucking scheduling that you are not aware that the work has already been completed?”

    “Ah … (something inaudible) it looks like (something inaudible) visited (several inaudible things) January 6th?”

    “Yep, so why are you calling me? If you really have my service records in front of you, you know that I’ve spent enough time talking to techs on the phone, visiting the COMCAST store and having repair-people visit my home that it’s become a fucking part-time job – GET YOUR FUCKING SHIT TOGETHER!”


(Okay, I was on my cellphone; the “click” was one of those irresistible exaggerations.)

I sat there seething for a few moments before an acidic feeling began to grow in my stomach, sparked by the sudden realization that maybe, just maybe … one of these calls was not actually from COMCAST.

How hard would it be to memorize the script that the COMCAST operators use when they call you and use that same tactic as a way of getting an unsuspecting mark to invite you into their home?

Was Andy a legit system tech, or part of a conspiracy that, thanks to a convincing COMCAST van replica and a toolbelt, now possesses my bittorrent … er, I mean, Netflix records, my internet shopping and banking passwords and perhaps most damaging of all, my internet history and it’s excessive number of Google searches for “videos of conjoined twins dressed as clergy popping balloons with their pretty feet.”

Panic began to set in as I realized that my own arrogant assumption that one of the largest media conglomerates in the United States was completely harmless thanks to a corporate culture defined by greed, a disdain for its customers and rampant stupidity at nearly every level, potentially opened the door to a threat that I never saw coming and left me with no choice but to turn to that same collection of morons for help …


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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