Love in the Time of Comcast: A Tragicomedy

The cable diaries

April 8: Huzzah! J and I are officially moved into our first place together! The cable company just left. Set-up was so easy! They told me I didn’t need to know or do anything but be there at the arranged time, and voila! The cable guy even took my old cable box away with him. Yay, Comcast!

April 23: Everything’s peachy. Though there is a small problem with a Comcast bill. $295 is about $150 higher than what we expected. I’ll just call tomorrow. Probably a simple mistake.

The next day: After 30 minutes on the phone, the Comcast lady finally assures me that the extra charge on my bill was a mistake. It seems the company hadn’t recorded our return of old equipment―and they’re charging us for it.  She’s taking care of it. “Issue solved,” I tell J, with a kiss.

A week later: We’re cozied up on our couch for our first official movie night―found a great movie On Demand. But uh-oh. What’s that? Error code? Weird. Guess I’ll call Comcast again.

One hour later: Still upset over fight J and I had about my attitude while on the phone with Comcast for 40 minutes. Our bill is probably overdue, Comcast lady concludes. “Probably?” I ask. She can’t say for sure, or for how much; we should call back Monday. Movie night sucks.

The next day: Another Comcast bill in the mail? For $444.72? What the hell. J suggests that I calm down so we can just enjoy our supper. Now I am mad at Comcast and J. A friend tells me that unless her TV blows up, she never, ever calls Comcast. I understand.

Monday: The problem is simple, says new Comcast employee: We couldn’t get a movie because our balance is too high. And did I know that records showed that we hadn’t returned our equipment? (Me: GAH ACK OMG ETC.) He suggests I pay it all, and once it’s worked out, they’ll reimburse me.

Moments later, after a few deep breaths: I ask for manager. The manager promises to fast-track the search for our equipment. He’ll call back in 48 hours. Yay, managers!

48 hours later: No call.

24 hours after that: I call. It’s fixed for real now, says another new Comcast employee. She’s nice. So nice that I almost forgive her when she tries to up-sell me on more Comcast services before we hang up.

A few hours later: J tells me about his call from yet another Comcast employee who obviously hadn’t yet heard that this fiasco is over for us. The burden of proof for returned equipment is still on us, she tells him. We owe $444.72. Didn’t we keep the receipt? Because all that burden stuff? That’s in the fine print of the receipt, she says. She is serious.

10 minutes later: Picking up the pieces of my head, which just exploded. We discuss FiOS.

May 9 : Four more calls, two more Comcast employees and one more argument between J and I later, the charges have been fixed. Our bill is correct. I am tired.

May 10: J and I celebrate a return to normalcy with an episode of Dancing With the Stars. It seems somehow … lesser. Even the dancers look a little sad. Maybe one day that will fade. Maybe it won’t.