Have you tried plugging it back in?

I swear I was completely sober when this all began.

Maybe “completely” isn’t accurate, but the point is, customer service drove me to drink.

I should rewind a few days and start from the beginning, then you can get all judgey on my level of sobriety. It’s all about customer service and the times we live in.

I have a satellite television provider, Dish Network, who shall remain nameless. Over the last month, my signal has been dropping off, or freezing on an image. It is a bit frustrating when you’re in the middle of a football game and the screen goes black. Worse, it teases you with a search for a signal. Five minutes is a lie!



The satellite provider’s website (thankfully, I don’t have internet service through them) provides three options to connect with customer support, e-mail, on-line chat and a phone number. Personally, I don’t care where the support comes from. If I connect with a representative in Cleveland, or Mumbai, or Reykjavik, Iceland and they can solve my problem, I’m aces.

I shoot off an e-mail to the company, explaining the problem and ask for a replacement receiver. I’m told “No.” I should try to unplug the receiver and plug it back in. Really? You think I didn’t try that already? I’ve gone through all of the troubleshooting tips a dozen times. I’m paying for equipment I just need it replaced. “Maybe I should check the dish for snow.” Snow? It hasn’t even rained here in damn near a year.

Have I checked for snow? image from James Marvin Phelps via flickr creative commons

Have I checked for snow?
image from James Marvin Phelps via flickr creative commons

So, I escalate to the on-line chat. I report the problem, what I’ve done to try to resolve it on my own and the window pops up with a live representative on the other end. “Have you unplugged the receiver and plugged it back in?” Sweet mother of god, what is it with you people and your plugging? I explain that it seems like the receiver isn’t turning on, isn’t getting a signal and when it does, it freezes after a second or two. May I please have a replacement receiver? “No.” The chat line representative doesn’t think that will solve my problems, but a report will go in to the software people so they can download a software patch. Then a message pops up claiming how important my satisfaction is to the company. But, no I have to wait for a receiver until the nerd herd in the software group mull it around.

How software gets updated image by laurel russwurm via flickr creative commons

How software gets updated
image by laurel russwurm via flickr creative commons

After a few days of black screen. I turn the receiver on, hoping that I get a magical patch from the nerd herd. The screen freezes on a cat adoption promotion from a local animal shelter. How long it’s been frozen is a question, because the sound in the background is talking about an armed robbery in Stockton and describing the suspects. Apparently grey tabby cats are to be considered armed and dangerous.

Wanted! image by general tango via flickr creative commons

image by general tango via flickr creative commons

This may be the point where alcohol entered the equation. I called and made a person to person connection to the customer support line. “Have you tried unplugging the receiver?” It took great restraint to not throw my phone across the room. The vision of another set of customer support calls to Apple put me in check. After twenty minutes assuring the representative that I have plugged the receiver in and the problem didn’t go away, she tells me, “I think your receiver is bad.” Gee, you think?

The replacement receiver is ordered and it took five days to arrive. All the while Stockton authorities continue to search for the felon felines.

The box from the company arrives, with instructions for set up. Oh happy day.

Until, I realize there is no remote for this replacement receiver. The company shipped that separately.

While I wait for the remote, I commit the criminal cat’s facial features to memory. There is something shifty about the way that cat is looking at me…

I've seen this guy before... image by Garmin rodler via flickr creative commons

I’ve seen this guy before…
image by Garmin rodler via flickr creative commons

Don’t you love good customer service? It seems to be getting harder to find these days. Have a customer support hour story to share?



  1. skinnyandsingle · · Reply

    Here is an opposite one. Someone called help desk, we went thru a thousand steps (none of which were to try unplugging because that is the obvious)…. time goes by and finally we ask “Did you try unplugging and plugging it back in?”

    1. ha! love it! oh, the frustrations of technology…

  2. Unfortunately I have way too many awful help desk stories!

    1. I feel your pain…

  3. Hahahahaha. I can so relate. Can you guess what service I use? BTW, that cat does look shifty. I’d be careful after dark.

    1. I’m hoping to get a remote someday and find that the police have apprehended the cat culprit.

  4. stephanie710 · · Reply

    I loved this. Customer service seems to be a thing of the past. I went through the same thing when my Subaru say dead in the driveway. They insisted I surely left the lights on. Um, no. My suggestion: unplug the receiver and toss it our the window. 😂 Hope it gets resolved soon & I support your need for alcohol consumption.

    1. I remember when you had all your car trouble. There has to be some tie between customer service help desks and sociopaths. They aren’t happy, so no one is gonna be happy.

  5. I like how cleverly you kept the name of your satellite television provider from appearing to avoid any libel lawsuits. However, should your provider become insulted nonetheless and contact you with a cease-and-desist, alcohol will certainly be helpful once again.

    1. I feel like I’m being held hostage and the flickering screen is signaling me from the cell next door…

  6. I love the cat suspect. Oh, my. I feel your pain.
    Here’s my customer “support” story: http://squirrelsinthedoohickey.com/is-a-manager-available/

    1. I remember that post! That was hilarious (now…not at the time). Great post and restraint on your part for not coming through the phone and choking the living snot out of someone. http://squirrelsinthedoohickey.com/is-a-manager-available/

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