Francis Meyrick

Citizen Kane versus CenturyTel (round 3)

Posted on June 3, 2009

Photo “Wino ” by Jason.Lengstorf

Citizen Kane versus Centurytel (Round 3)

Tuesday morning, June 2nd, 08.00 hrs.

The door bell rings, and the CenturyTel A-Team stands on my doorstep.
I check furtively to see if they are carrying any baseball bats, knuckle dusters, or sawn-off shot guns.
But all I see are hand tools, electronic measuring devices, and a half eaten ham sandwich.
I think I’m okay…
They pour in, the first of many posses. Between 08.00 hrs and 14.00 hrs (two o’clock to you sad folk who have never watched TopGun) the A-Team go hard at it. They even climb electric poles, and otherwise risk life and limb in the pursuit of the Ghostly Gremlin that has stalked my Internet connection so successfully for a year.
Around about ten o’clock they are getting really puzzled. They can’t figure it out. Something IS wrong they say.
Yeah, you ain’t kidding…
They bring in reinforcements. The door creaks slowly open. The music stops. The floorboards groan as The Answer struts in. He doesn’t quite seem a cyborg, but there is undoubtedly something otherworldly in the fixed gleam in his eyes. Is he a Geek? The may-be Geek sits at the table, and pummels away on my computer. He is so focused on his mission, he even refuses tea and chocolate biscuits.
I of course, am in total awe. He must be a cyborg. I who could never pass up a chokkie biscuit. Not even if the house was on fire, or if Barack Obama was banging on the front door offering to do my washing up.
(he has promised everything else…)
Around about eleven they are gone for a while. I wonder have they given up. I try the Internet a few times. Nothing. Not even one single miserable kilo byte bothers to register. I’m cut off. Snubbed. Even my phone doesn’t work. I have been cast back into the dark ages from whence I came. I worry now. What if they never come back? What will I be reduced to? Snail mail? Navajo Smoke signals? Telepathy? My bicycle and the Post Office?
I try to read a book. But my mind keeps wandering. I have survived most of my adult life without the Internet. But now it’s indispensable. It’s like a fix. That cheap bottle of wine, wrapped in a dirty old brown paper bag, that the Alkie, sleeping under the bridge, clutches like the Last Comfort…. that’s what the Internet has become to me. I own two websites, and never does the Sun go down without my humble soul having quenched itself in the nether waters of that vast shadowy underworld of human activity. I don’t need Acheron, the Greek mythological boatman, to row me across the river Styx to reach my final destination. All I need is a blessed Internet connection that works. Surely there has to be a medical term for Internet deprivation?
CWS? Cyberspace Withdrawal Syndrome? Does that maybe lead to violence? Is that how people end up climbing lamp posts, whilst barking like a dog? I look across at my dog, Sinner by name and nature, stretched out on the floor, dozing. He opens one eye, and gives me that thoughtful look of his. It seems to convey a message:
Okay, Boss, NOW what have you gone and gotten yourself into…?

The doorbell rings, and I leap into orbit.
Our cat, Pintle, dives under the sofa, and Sinner grumpily opens the other eye.
Quickly I put my nonchalant expression on. I open the door with that feigned non-surprise. The “Oh, it’s you guys again ” casual look. The “I wasn’t really thinking about it ” glance.
They are looking all pleased with themselves. They have either gotten the green light from Head office to come and break both my legs, or they have maybe fixed something. I wonder which it will be.
They reckon they have fixed it. It was a “locked Adtran “. I pretend I know exactly what they are talking about.
Oh! A Locked Adtran. Of course. I get those once in a while on my bicycle. Right. Now I know everything…
We try the connection. Not only do I discover we ARE connected. We are connected at a blistering 2.57 MegaBite per second.
Up from a miserable 255 Kilobytes (0.25 MB) on Sunday before. Ten times as much bandwidth…
We play some YouTube videos. Yep, that works. Real cool. Amazing what you can do when you finally get the bandwidth. The bigger pipe.
The A-Team are pleased. They do some more checks, and then depart, with promises that they will check back with me.
I also have maintenance email addresses and phone numbers. I feel empowered. Much better than dealing with the canned voice of that nice lady back at Centurytel head shed. The one that passes me along, and along, and around, and -eventually- back to where I started.
The door closes, and I abandon my nonchalant posture. I vault over the sofa, knock over two chairs, scare the cat -again- and do a John Wayne type running saddle jump onto my bucking bronco.

Photo “Roaming the Ranch ” by chrisada

We take off, across the now thankfully wide open plains of Cyberspace, On the gallop, I can achieve in mere seconds now, what before took me many minutes of teeth gnashing frustration. I can kick up dust, move like the wind. And fire from both pistols. I can wave my hat in triumph, and let forth a joyful outlaw yell…

So it can be safely said that Tuesday, June 2nd, far from being a Day of Infamy, (to quote that great deceiver of the American people, that traitor of Pearl Harbor, Franklin D. Roosevelt…), was in fact perhaps the beginning of a whole new ride through Cyberspace. As one who is anxious to make “my website ” ( really hi-tech and attractive, I can now more easily experiment with bandwidth-heavy applications, such as YouTube videos, Windows Movie Maker, and various Flash applications.
On Tuesday, June 2nd, approximately one year after the start of my Centurytel Dis-Service, approximately two months after refusing the pay the bill anymore, and exactly two days after venting Citizen Kane’s pent up feelings on the Internet, including the Daily World website, (I love that angry face), the Centurytel maintenance A-Team found the culprit. The hoodlum. El Bandito. By the name of “Locked Adtran. ” Wanted… Dead or Alive.
Life is good once more…

A cynical observer, a student of the relationship between Big Business and the Lowly Average Consumer, the Humble Customer, might well wonder about some of the issues these three installments highlight.
1) Might Centurytel usefully take a closer look at what exalted promises over-eager telephone sales staff make to potential customers?
Promising customers -repeatedly- “absolutely no problem ” with streaming video, for what turns out to be a 256 Kilobyte connection… That seems to this saddle sore dirt rider at the very least erroneous. At the worst, gentlemen, it is deliberate B**** SH***** T. A very dubious sales pitch indeed. I’m a reasonably intelligent fellow, with a University education, and if I was so confuddled, I expect many other people were (and ARE) as well.
2) Might CenturyTel usefully take a closer look at explaining to customers -clearly- the different levels of bandwidth customers can get, and what level of Internet connection speed and efficiency each level is likely to deliver?
3) Might CenturyTel usefully take a closer look at the efficiency with which problems are in fact passed over to maintenance? The A-team themselves were puzzled why that took so long. Once the heavy brigade was brought in, it got fixed. That blackguard, that hoodlum, “Locked Adran ” finally got his come uppance. Why did that take so long? Why was I palmed off with platitudes so long? Is this a case of “Ignore him and perhaps he will go away? “
4) And what was that nonsense with the tape recorded initial sales call?
I have a feeling that if it had been in Centurytel’s interest to “find ” that tape, that it would have been “found ” as they say: toute-suite. Promptly. On the gallop.

To be fair, I have to say, are we consumers entirely blameless? How informed are we? How aggressive and determined are we to follow up our legitimate complaints? That “locked adtran ” adversely affected a lot more people than just us. But the noise and flack and yelling seems to have come overwhelmingly from this writer. Did everybody else just give up?
Consumers MUST make themselves familiar with
Heck, it’s so easy even a caveman could do it. Oops. Even a “gentleman who prefers an alternative habitat ” could do it.

Photo by Hendrik Dacquin

Strike one for this caveman!
Now, where did I leave my club?

(PS: Thank you Earl, Robert, Fred. I appreciate it.)


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2 responses to “Citizen Kane versus CenturyTel (round 3)”

  1. Funnnnnnny.

    Jeeez – when you’ve a mind to, you are funny. Does it just come at like that – all freely or do ya have to work at it?

    What are knuckle dusters?

    What are chocolate buscuits?

    Why don’t ya make a dictionary to go on the site here with definitions or translations, eh?

    Hey – are my colors broken – my colors don’t work..make my colors work – I wanted funny to be in blue!

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