This is not actually about watershed ecology so anyone who surfed here looking for that kind of thing, my apologies. What it was, as I have mentioned elsewhere, was last June my engineer friend, after squiring me to a pleasant morning lecture on riparian buffers, was helping me level a concrete bench in the jungle that is slowly becoming my garden. We fixated on the word “riparian” and kept using it about everything, goofily, just because when do you get the chance to say “riparian” most days? Just as we finished a pee break, a couple of dudes showed up, wearing red Verizon polo shirts and caffeined-up gregarious grins — well actually, only one did any grinning or talking; the other merely propped up my porch railing, with the impassive expression of a bodyguard or someone detailed to drive the getaway car.
Grinface launched into a rap that I cut off, saying I have your DSL, I don’t have a TV and I don’t need the lightning fast crystal clear vodka-virulent hard-sold Verizon FiOS. Oh no, he said, we’re checking in with local customers because we just upgraded the cable in this area and for a limited time we’re offering bundles that are probably below your current prices and…
I let the smarmy prick waste about twenty minutes of my time and was actually talking to some billing-office person before a nuance of her script gave away that this was, indeed, about trying to hustle the goddam FiOS service. Despite my cutting off the conversation then and there, I nearly had to toss the guy off my porch neck and crop. I think my ringing stage voice rattled not only the windows of passing cars but my engineer friend, who makes Mr. Spock look like Courtney Love, because when I said later that I worked off my aggression by pruning, he said “Yeah, and going all riparian on traveling salesmen.”
Fast forward a year: I’m trying to get a wireless modem from Verizon and install it. Forty-five minutes on the phone just to find out what department can take care of this (it was Billing; isn’t that where you call to identify and order equipment?). Two hours screwing with the device itself, downloading the manual, hitting one installation roadblock after another and finally giving up the third or fourth time that Verizon’s error message insisted all my ID information had been stripped in transmission, despite turning off firewalls and anything else that could get in the way. Holding off until a moment some days in the future when I have a block of time long enough to wait out Verizon’s tech-support queue.
Verizon is famous for this. But who else is better? In the past few years, a seventy-something-year-old woman with no prior record cheerfully paid damages for equipment smashed up at her local Comcast office. And we’ve all seen this, but it’s worth watching again:
Maybe if they all spent less money on marketing and diverted some toward customer service? Revolutionary thought?
Someone better do something before I go all riparian and buffer the hell out of someone.