Gather ’round boys and girls, I wish to tell you about a great injustice that befell me years ago… (cue harp music and waving-fade camera effect to signify a flashback is beginning…)
It was the summer of 1999. It was a simpler time then. Our days were spent stocking our fallout shelters for the inevitable Y2K disaster. Nobody thought Arnold Schwarzengger would ever take the oath of office (click for audio). And everyone was convinced that in five years nobody would go to the store for anything. Hence, pouring your life savings into an Internet company that sold cat food online was considered a shrewd investment.
Also, cell phones were not yet mainstream, meaning people had to deal with the hassles of long distance plans with numerous hidden fees and restrictions.
The phone company MCI had just sent me a huge bill for some long distance calls. Naturally, since this predated sending anthrax through the mail, I decided to call and complain. After being on hold for about nine hours, I finally got to begin explaining the problems with my bill. Unable to adjust the billing herself, the operator attempted to rectify the situation…
Operator: “Sir, you can mail a letter to our customer service complaint department to further assist you… I’ll give you their address…”
Me (stunned): “Write a letter? Don’t they have a 1-800 number?”
Operator: “No, I’m sorry, they can’t be reached by phone. You need to write them a letter.”
Me (outraged): “What? This is MCI! You guys are a (expletive) phone company! What do you mean they don’t have a phone number? That’s your whole (expletive) business!”
Needless to say, the lines of communication deteriorated rapidly after that exchange. MCI banked (wisely) on laziness impeding any action on my part. It was a risky gamble, but one that seems to unwaveringly pay off when the American public is concerned. So, like everyone else, with clenched teeth I paid my bill in full, shook my fist in the air, and vowed revenge. Had the company not gone bankrupt four years ago, that revenge would have come today in the form of this angry manifesto. Seems kind of petty now, so I’ll just talk about my XBox 360.
Which brings me to my current problem: (cue wavy camera effects, signifying a return to the present day…)
Last night, my 360 froze up. I’m not feeling good about the situation one bit. My experience has taught me that companies that base their business in advanced technology usually don’t possess the most basic technology to actually deal with customer complaints. I have a feeling that when it comes time to helping a customer, all of a sudden, Microsoft has never heard of email.
So, I can’t wait to call Microsoft’s XBox support hotline tomorrow and have the “customer service” representative tell me she doesn’t have Internet or a computer and the only way to submit a complaint is via passenger pigeon. Wish me luck, I feel a potential outrage developing…