Monthly Archives: February 2011

Why does customer support suck so bad?

There’s almost nothing I hate more than having to deal with customer support. For anything. Ever.

Certainly, I’m not alone.

Today, the disk in our Dish Network ViP622 DVR died. I did all the standard troubleshooting before calling them. I can certainly check to see if the damned thing is plugged in quicker if I don’t have to talk to some dope on the phone while doing it.

But of course, that’s not good enough. OK, fine, so I went through it all again while on the phone. But then, twenty minutes of phone time was completely wasted because my name’s not “Teresa”. You see, the account is in my wife’s name, not mine.

On the surface, that doesn’t seem so bad. I mean, you wouldn’t want some stranger calling up and canceling your service on you. But, if you take into account the first 10 minutes of the phone call, it becomes ridiculous.

When you first call into Dish Network, you get an automated call system. It appears you can do anything in it. In fact the first thing it wanted me to do was set up a new PIN. Wait, what? Yeah, that’s right. By just calling them from my home number, they thought that was enough security that I could change the controlling password on my account.

I skipped that. Perhaps I shouldn’t have…. Anyhow, the next thing they said was that my bill was overdue and would be charged a late fee if not paid today. It also said that the last payment was about ten days ago. But we use autopay. I ignored this as well, choosing to wait another 10 minutes for an operator. Now, after the day’s experience, I’m worried that they’re charging us a late fee every month. Via autopay. Yeah, I’m probably just being paranoid.

Anyhow, if their automated call system doesn’t mind me dealing with the account, why should their operator. I wasn’t trying to cancel or change anything. I was scheduling service. Sorry, but I see no need for them to talk to my wife.

Now I’m trying to figure out if Comcast can install cable. The notion of dealing with Comcast has me more than a little worried. Ugh.


A few months ago, after years of thinking about it, I started running. I’ve always said that I couldn’t imagine anything more boring than running, but I’d never really done much. When I was on the tennis team in high school we used to have to run about a mile from the high school to the courts at West Junior High. Other than that, I think I’d run more than a mile only twice in my life – home from work in the late ’80s.

The first run I did in this modern era was on Halloween last year. It was 2.4 miles, out and back from my house. Since that distance is so short, and I’ve been cycling so much the last few years, that seemed like a reasonably easy run. But I just about died. I couldn’t actually go for more than about 1/4 mile before I’d have to stop and walk a bit. Still, I did actually go the whole distance, so it was a success.

After that, I decided to back off a bit and do runs in the 1.5 mile range. I also discovered that if I go at a really slow pace, I can keep going.

After that first run, I haven’t really needed to stop at any point. My average pace has been slowly climbing, and my average distance has also been increasing. I’ve now gone running 24 times in the last three months, racking up 60 miles. My longest run was 5 miles, and I’ve finished that 2.4 mile run a couple of times at a faster than 10 minutes per mile pace.

The other night, at my son’s Longmont Youth Symphony concert, there was a silent auction. One of the items was entrance for the BolderBoulder, a 10k race with 10’s of thousands of entrants. Admittedly, I’ve been thinking about running it this year, but now I’ve paid for it. I guess I’m committed.

So, is running boring like I thought it was? Well, I’m not really sure. It’s actually quite painful. Even going at what feels like a snail’s pace (relative to cycling, I suppose), I’m at my limit. I haven’t really had a chance to feel bored.