A Major Minor Inconvenience


Cable, internet, and phone installation…so easy!


I hate calling the cable, phone, and internet company. I realize this aligns me with approximately one hundred percent of the human populations, but still.

I’ve been unhappy with my current service for quite some time. Still, I hesitated switching companies.  I’m well aware that every cable, internet, and phone company is the pits.  Too expensive, hidden fees, bad customer service.  I detested the idea of making a switch—the flurry of phone calls, figuring out my options, and installing new equipment.

But last week when I had issues with my landline, and the company had to send a service man out for the third time in a month, I decided I’d had enough. (For those of you who want to know why I still have a landline, I just still want one, okay?  Don’t judge.)

So I made the call to Xfinity. When I told them I was a prospective customer ready to buy, it was amazing how quickly I was put through to a real person.  No torturous automated menus.  The connection was clear, the person on the other end of the line was a nice young man from Spokane, Washington.  He patiently explained the prices and options.  Could I get more tv channels?  Yes!  Could I keep my same phone number?  No problem!  Could I install it myself without having to pay for a service visit?  Nothing could be easier!

He had me hook, line, and sinker. We chatted about the wild fires in the west for a few minutes while he processed my order.  I hung up and sat back in my chair, feeling quite pleased with myself.  This was going to be wonderful.  Easy.  I was wondering why I hadn’t switched years ago.

The next day I picked up my new cable box and modem. The woman at the desk smiled at me.  As I walked away, I swore she whispered under her breath, “Let the games begin.”

My existing landline number was supposed to be ported over by Friday. As of today, this still has not happened.

Are you surprised? Me neither.

And we’re just getting started.

The young man from Spokane explained that the modem hooked into a cable line. No problem, as I had a spare cable outlet in the bedroom.  I hooked it up and plugged it in.  Then I realized you had to plug the phone into the modem.  Hmm.  That was inconvenient, as the phone jack was on the other side of the room and I didn’t have a cord long enough to reach.

No problem. I’d take the modem downstairs and hook it into the same cable outlet as my television.  The man from Spokane also said this would work, and the kit even came with a helpful splitter.

I hooked up the new cable box and the new modem. While the modem fired up, I turned on the television.

Welcome! scrolled across the television screen. Oh boy, I thought.  This was going great.

Then Welcome! turned into Sorry!  The lights on the modem never stopped blinking, as the instructions assured me they would do.

My stomach clenched. There were no other options.  I had to call tech support.  And it took quite a few automated menus before I spoke to a real person.

The man from tech support was no from Spokane, and my connection was not nearly as clear. It sounded like the poor man worked in Grand Central Station.  I could hear dozens of muffled voices all around, other techs servicing other customers.  The line was muffled.  We lost our connection three times.

Still, I give the guy credit. He called me back all three times.

Together, we tried everything. He rebooted the modem remotely.  I rebooted it from my living room.  I unplugged it and plugged it back in several times.  Same with the television.  I took off the splitter and tried hooking the modem up directly to the cable line.  Nothing.

No television, no phone, no internet.

After an hour on the phone, I knew where this was going to end. After two hours, he called it.

“Ma’am, we will need to send a service technician to your home. The earliest appointment in Monday morning.”

I panicked. This was Saturday night.  That meant I would have no phone, no internet, and no cable all day Sunday.

No phone was no problem. My phone had barely worked for weeks, and I had my cellphone.

No internet, also no problem. I could post this blog from the library, and a day without access to social media and the political news of the day sounded downright blissful.

But no cable. ON SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 11?

“I need my television tomorrow,” I pleaded with the man. “Please.  I need it on Sunday.”

“Yes, I understand,” he said. “I will see what I can do.”

“This is basically an emergency,” I said. I had help my temper throughout our two hour call, knowing none of this was his fault.  Even though I had wanted to scream at him.  I hoped my restraint would help me now

“Okay, yes, I can get you a Sunday appointment,” he said.

I sagged with relief.

“Don’t worry,” he said. “You will not miss your football.”

Football? I thought. What is he talking about, football?  Oh yes!  Today is the official start of the season (I don’t count that Thursday night madness.)  Steelers and Browns.  Of course I wanted to watch football.

But that hadn’t been the cause of my panic. There’s only one show that missing could give me heart palpitations.


So I’m waiting for the cable man. He is supposed to arrive between noon and two.

That gives him between six and eight hours to get Jamie and Claire onto my screen.

Heaven help him if he can’t manage it. I won’t be responsible for my actions.


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