Sunday, January 16, 2011

Direct TV - Yet Another "Encounter"

I don't care what company or entity it is, if they are raising rates in THIS economy, they can go jump in a lake.  That's putting it nicely, thank you.  That includes the City of Phoenix, which is not the subject of this entry, but will be soon enough as I intend on showing up at their next meeting where they intend to vote on ANOTHER 5% increase on water usage rates - they can not only jump in the lake that is filled with water I paid for through extreme taxation, they can drown in it, too.

What occurred today?  I got an email from Direct TV.  I usually delete them without even opening it, but this one caught my eye.  It said something different on the subject line.  I clicked on it to find a notice:  we are going to raise your rates next month whether you like it or not and we'd like to let you know in advance about our sticking a bat up your @$$ and there is nothing you can do about it.  Okay, it didn't say anything even remotely close to that, it did say that there are "rate changes" coming.  

My cynicism of this company relates back to the countless experiences with this company I have had over the phone - over a more than 10 year span of time.  I mean - countless.  I don't know how many phone campaigns I have had with them, I do know that 99% of the time, I win and they lose.  I had one such campaign that went on for 3 or 4 days, spoke to dozens of people, was ostracized by 1 supervisor and I even bet another supervisor that, in the end, I will get what I want.  I offered a wager of $100.  She refused.  She also said I would NEVER get what I was asking for.  That WAS her words.  Too bad I can't go back to that person and show her that I got FAR beyond what I was asking for.  $150 credit to my account on that one, besides a lot of other perks.

See? It isn't written in stone that you can't get anything from Direct TV and mostly, a LOT of other companies whose first-encounter personnel you speak with will tell you otherwise.  But, if you don't like confrontation, this isn't going to work for you. I don't really LIKE confrontation, I just don't like getting SCREWED even worse.

No, I haven't even described my encounter with a woman that obviously has serious issues in life that go far beyond talking to a customer that didn't want to talk to her.  That customer being me.

So, without further ado - and long-windedness - let's get to it.  I did, of course, immediately call Direct TV.  In 10 years of calling them - actually longer - I know what kind of reply I'm gonna git from the "1st Responder". CRAP.  Pre-scripted crap at that.  I was polite, respectful and amiable to this person I got on the line, but, after I got the "no, that can't and won't happnen" junk, I asked for her supervisor. Oh, no, my issue isn't with this particular person, I already knew what she was going to say and I knew the correct course of action to get beyond it.  She connected me with her supervisor and then I dug into the problem.  I also knew this person, a supervisor, also has no authority to do what I wanted, but I needed to explain it so I could get to the next department.

Yes, it's a process.  It's a learned process, I spent the time and the dime to get the knowledge, whether anyone wants to try it is their business, I'm only reporting my business as I am not a particularly private type of person anyway.

My explanation to the supervisor was enough to get me to the next level.  She explained that she couldn't do anything for me, but the next tier could.  Great,thank you and transferred to the wrong department.  I ended up with a woman that is the same person you would talk to when you first call in.  If you have a low-level problem, they can help you, when it comes to money, normally they can't or won't. I was not going to go through all of that again and attempted to explain to her that I was just on the phone with a supervisor - please get me your supervisor so I can get transferred to the right department.

The BS that came out of that woman's mouth when I asked to speak to management was more than I even expected to hear from Direct TV, and trust me, I have heard a LOT from them.  I could write a book.  She first got indignant that I didn't think that SHE could do anything for me.  I tried to explain to her that I had already talked to management and that I had been directed to the wrong department. At this point, she let off on me.  Bypassing that negativity - a lot of it - I put the phone away from my ear.  I will not take that kind of abuse from anyone, but especially a company that I am paying good money for their services and that, I am NOT disrespecting the person I am talking to.

Management please.  Management please.  I heard a lot of squawking in the phone, when it finally ceased, I then put it back up to my ear.  It was then that she conceded to get me to her supervisor......bypassing needless lengths of communication...........manager on phone.  It was obvious from the beginning with this person that, if nothing else, he was going to talk to me like a human, not a piece of trash.  I informed this individual of the conversation with the woman and that he is welcome to review the recording of it, if such is, indeed recorded.  He replied: "I have no reason to disbelieve you and I WILL deal with my employee accordingly".  I thanked him for that and we moved on.

My call was about the fact that I was not going to be paying more money for Direct TV and that IS a fact.  I am either going to get that waived or I am going to move on.   We are allegedly out of the recession -  a statement of belief that I do not find credible and that with no more than surfactual evidence to support that finding.  I could go into all of that, but, that is not this entry.  The man offered me a full year without that increased price structure plus $2 off - plus - Showtime, free for 6 months.

Thank you, yes, have a great day!  I neither asked for nor even thought that I would get such an offer.  We bid ados and that was that.

I have to say that I had no idea that I was even going to have the need to call Direct TV to day nor that I was going to get into it with a person that hasn't got a clue, or more likely, that her employer is getting what they are paying for, or beyond that, that I would get even more movie channels for free.   But, I will, of course, take it and that's that.




I was sitting here at my computer which is in my kitchen last night, minding my own business- doors and windows shut - neighbors dogs barking and barking and barking.  It had been going on all day long.  It was after 9:00 pm with no end to this crap in sight.  It is a freaking nightmare to have to live next to people like this.

Their house is an old mobile home.  In those homes, the walls are made out of aluminum and behind it is usually a thin layer of insulation with paneling for the interior walls.  The windows - after 30 plus years of being in existence - weren't that great of technology to begin with when they came from the factory - they tend to start leaking and they do not keep sound out.  I know this because I lived in one for 11 years.

The point is that if there is noise outside, it's coming inside with little resistance.  How they can live with those dogs barking like that, I have NO idea.  I have 2X6 construction with thick, upgraded insulation and double-paned, LowE windows.  The noise of their barking, which was, for some reason, being aimed directly at my house, was penetrating all of that and competing with the sound level of my television.  I do not watch that much TV, that isn't the issue.  Dogs bark, everyone knows this.  Dogs should NOT be barking all day and all night.  I have written about this situation on here before, the problem resurfaced recently and I have been listening to this s*** every day.

The problem is exacerbated by the fact that there is a chain link fence between their house and mine.  A block fence would tone the problem down quite a bit.  It wouldn't eliminate the sound altogether, but it would definitely help.  Too bad I don't have thousands of dollars to build a block fence.

Well, I had had enough.  I mean, it just clicked in my brain, I got up, went outside and shouted at the top of my lungs: SHUT those F******* dogs UP!!!  Yes, I used the F word,  a thing I don't like to hear or use and have no good excuses to provide here.  The bad excuse is that I was mad and getting madder.  Which isn't so great, either, but it is a living hell to have to listen to someone else's dogs barking 24 hours a day.  I am not exaggerating, either, those dogs were barking, nonstop all day long yesterday.

The guy is a total prick, I'm sure he took great pleasure in making life miserable for another human being, he attempts to do that frequently with whatever interactions that I see going on over at his house if it involves someone from the neighborhood.  I, however, took it a step further.  Got out the boom box.  Got out the step ladder.  Set step ladder up next to fence.  Put boom box on top of step ladder.  Aim boom box directly at their windows.  Turn boom box on to heavy metal rock.  Crank volume all the way up.  Go inside.  Forget about it.

That was the recipe.  I went out 2 hours later, turned it off and heard - nothing.  In fact, I didn't hear any dogs barking all night long.  Further, I only heard them barking for a few minutes this morning.  This is normal. Dogs have the charge to go ahead and bark at things - here and there, not 24 hours a day.  The boom box is still sitting out there, perched up high on it's ladder, waiting for further instructions.  So far, the instructions are to stay turned off.  That directive could change at any time, the boom box is on heightened alert.

You say it's childish.  It's - moronic - stupid - whatever, to do something like that to your neighbor.  Yes, perhaps it is.  However, if you had to live next to the kind of noise - AND - having had called the police; animal control; the city prosecutor's office, sent letters asking them to please do something about it - and have had that going on for about 2 years now - you might see things differently.  It's called walking a mile in another man's shoes.  In this particular case, I have shed all of societal restrictions imposed upon me for "civility" since this man next door has never heard the word civility or terms such as mutual respect and therefore, doesn't deserve any.  That's my opinion, of course, but I don't leave my dogs out all night long to bark ------ all .............night.............long.

In fact, if it continues, I am going to buy a BIGGER boom box that makes 3 TIMES the noise that the on I currently have.  That's very small of you.  No, actually, I don't think it is.  I think I have tried my best to pursue normal courses of action that most normal people would pursue.  I think that the line has been crossed: they simply don't care one way or another what kind of hell they are creating for anyone.  They are isolationists.  They will have NOTHING to do with anyone around here and if there IS any interaction, it is EXTREMELY negative.  I have seen it and been on the receiving end of it dozens of times now.  I think they can go piss off.


Interesting day. Up early - 4:00, jolted out of deep sleep by the ridiculous phone alarm - annoying as all get out but that's the inten...