Hatrack River Forum   
my profile login | search | faq | forum home

  next oldest topic   next newest topic
» Hatrack River Forum » Active Forums » Books, Films, Food and Culture » My Life in a "Help Desk" cartoon

Author Topic: My Life in a "Help Desk" cartoon
Member # 3383

 - posted      Profile for Dan_raven   Email Dan_raven         Edit/Delete Post 
Excuse me as I rant.

Are all of you familiar with the Help Desk web comic. I enjoyed it, until I found myself part of it.

Let me explain.

I had to go out of town to a meeting in KC on Monday. As I was driving back to my hotel Monday night my wife calls frantically from her cel phone. The dog barked, and when she picked up the phone, there was no dial tone. Do we have phone problems or has some intruder cut the phone lines keeping her from calling help. She asked me to call AT&T while she kept her cel phone available to call the police if necessary.

I did not have AT&T's phone number on my cel phone. Dialing 0 on my cel phone brought up a setup menu. So I drove back to my hotel and got on-line to find the number.

Finding AT&T's help number, and not a sales number, was taking a lot of time, so I used the AT&T Yellow Pages.

It wasn't very useful either.

Finally I found a number that led me to a number that--you get the idea.

Tech support was there to help me. There responce, "You asked us to move your number, so we did."

I responded, "We did not ask you to move our number."

Tech--"We have it right here. To get this straightened out you need to talk to Business Services. I will connect you, but I don't think they are in any more."

Two minutes on hold, followed by a recording saying they are all home for the evening, please call tomorrow.

I called my wife and let her know she could put down the baseball bat. It was not intruders, at least not intruders you could easily use a baseball bat upon.

I also asked if we had internet service, since we are on DSL through AT&T. Cindy said, "oh yeah. I wasn't able to get on earlier either."

Tuesday, as I was driving the 250 miles back to my office, I tried calling AT&T to resolve the problem. Unfortunately the Tech Support Guy did not give me the Business Office number. Tech Support sent me through a long automated, button pressing, help menu, that ended with the promise that it all would be fixed by 7pm that night.

If anyone suggests that driving through the boring plains of Missouri could only be improved by talking to a computerized automated help desk system, shoot them.

That night, we still had no phone system. We still had no internet.

I did get the biz office number, and found out they opened at 9am Eastern. We are central.

Wed. morning, I dropped off my son and wife, and was driving to work at 8am. I called. I got a very nice AT&T woman who explained that on 2/23 a Mrs. XXXXX called to switch our number. I informed her we didn't know a Mrs. XXXXX. She thought that was strange. Before she could go further she needed my social security number. I gave it to her. Nope. She needed my wife's social security number. She called my wife, got the number, and then realized she could help us.

Someone had called AT&T to get our number changed. It had gotten past their security. Were we victims of identity theft? Perhaps a Fraud Alert should be put out on all our info? Its not that expensive. Meanwhile she would see that our phone was back up as soon as possible. They had already sent us a final bill, so we should expect two bills that month.

She then spent ten minutes trying to sell me other AT&T products.

I was busy trying to make sure that the DSL line would be restored with our phone line.

We go through a local ISP who goes through AT&T to give us our line. She suggested we drop the local since they would give us the same price, without the free modem, but with a two year commitment. I declined.

Later that day I looked up Mrs. XXXXXX in the White Pages. Seems her number is close to mine, ending 7105. Mine ends 7015. Somebody just transposed the two middle numbers. I tried calling the other number, to let them know about the problems they would soon be facing, but no answer.

That night, no phone and no internet.

I called our house twice during the day on Thurs to see if it was up yet. No.

I called AT&T.

They said, "Your service has been restored. You are up and running."

I said, "No it hasn't. I tried calling and got the "Disconnected" message."

They said, "Our computer shows that your phone service has been restored."

While keeping them on the line on my business phone, I called my home phone from my cel phone. It still had the disconnected message playing.

They said, "Oh. The service techs probably forgot to remove the disconnect message."

Thursday evening, I got home early, by 5:30pm.

We had phone!


We did not have any DSL connection.

I pondered this, then as dinner was being set before me I remembered, they don't close till 7pm eastern. I had 5 minutes to call them and get this fixed.

I called, and was sent into automated system again. Since I mumbled the phrase DSL, I was sent to Computer Technical Support. There the automated system asked me 4 times if I was sure I wasn't getting any signal. Then it said it would test the signal. Then it honestly sounded surprised when there was no signal.

I got a person.

This tech support person tried hard to be helpful, but this was not his problem. He had a computer that showed that we had asked for our DSL service to be moved. I pointed out repeatedly that we did not ask for that. He said that Mrs. XXXXX certainly did. I pointed out that there was no Mrs. XXXXX in our home. That it was there mistake.

He asked if he could put me on hold.

Five minutes later he asked if he could put me on hold again and transfer me to Customer Relations.

Five minutes later, as I sipped on reheated soup after my family had finished its dinner, I got another friendly person.

I explained the situation. She said, "Lets get this fixed right away." She put me on hold to get the tech support to connect my DSL.

She then tried to explain, "Since that is a border area, we only have so many DSL seats. The tech department said that all the DSL seats are taken. I'm afraid we can't...."

I said, "This is your fault, not mine. I had DSL Sunday. You took it away for no reason."


She said, "The technician said that one seat just became available. They will have you hooked up in 48 to 72 hours."

I said, "This is your fault. You disconnected the wrong phone. Why do I have to be inconvienced...."


She said, "They will do their best to get you connected asap...."

She went on like that for another five minutes, then tried to sell me some more of their wonderful services.

We hung up with no DSL.

My wife picked up the phone and called. She used language that I didn't know she knew, but was always afraid to find out.

She hung up with promises of discounts and bills paid, but no DSL.

As we go into the weekend, we wonder, will we ever get DSL again? Will we get billed for it? Will we get disconnected again when Mrs. XXXX complains that her number was never moved?

Thank you for allowing me to vent.

Posts: 11895 | Registered: Apr 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Member # 6218

 - posted      Profile for ReikoDemosthenes   Email ReikoDemosthenes         Edit/Delete Post 
That is spectacular. And may I just say that nothing has taken humanity two steps backwards quite like the automated help menu.
Posts: 1158 | Registered: Feb 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Member # 6426

 - posted      Profile for Jim-Me   Email Jim-Me         Edit/Delete Post 
...Except the reunion of ATT.

I had internet service through both Bell South and SBC (who is actually the owner of the reunited ATT)in the past (I have Verizon currently.. they've been ok) and their tech support was excellent. No sooner was Bell South reabsorbed into "the new ATT" then their previously stellar customer service went right out the window.

Disclaimer: it is only fair that I state I have spent the last 10 years working for Competitors of ATT. They have all found that residential service makes no money and so the ILECS (ATT/Verizon/QWEST) are the only ones offering local phone and high-speed internet... except your local cable monopoly.

Posts: 3846 | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Member # 8384

 - posted      Profile for Lisa   Email Lisa         Edit/Delete Post 
Originally posted by Dan_raven:
Excuse me as I rant.

Are all of you familiar with the Help Desk web comic. I enjoyed it, until I found myself part of it.

Was that necessary? Now I have to go through 1560 strips to catch up.

Still, thanks.

Posts: 12266 | Registered: Jul 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Member # 7785

 - posted      Profile for Enigmatic   Email Enigmatic         Edit/Delete Post 
Help Desk used to be one of my favorite strips, but at some point during a hiatus or something I fell out of reading it regularly. Thanks for the reminder, Dan!

Having previously worked in customer service for one of the Major teleCom companIes, I can tell you that the entire process going on behind those bewilderingly unhelpful calls is just as convoluted, stupid, and disinterested as you might think from this kind of story. *sigh*


Posts: 2715 | Registered: Apr 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Member # 3383

 - posted      Profile for Dan_raven   Email Dan_raven         Edit/Delete Post 
Just a follow up.

Despite the evidence of your eyes, I still have no DSL connection at my home. I am at the library.

AT&T says that I do have DSL connection. If I am having trouble its my ISP's fault.

My ISP says that they can do nothing else. They will send in a fault ticket to ATT, but since they don't work on the weekend, he can get no response. On the other hand, if he disconnects us, we may get a new connection faster. Since there is a limit to the number of people AT&T is letting on, I'd rather not do that.

Posts: 11895 | Registered: Apr 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Member # 4176

 - posted      Profile for Nighthawk   Email Nighthawk         Edit/Delete Post 
To make you feel better, I once went an entire MONTH with out DSL or phone service.

BellSouth telephone representative would show up at my house and say "that's a DSL problem. I can't fix that."

Five days later, BellSouth DSL representative would show up at my house and say "that's a telco problem. I can't fix that."

Wash. Lather. Rinse. Repeat for 40 days.

Miraculously, I manage to (1) schedule them both on the same day, and (2) have them arrive at the same time, and (3) actually talk to each other.

Once they met, took them 5-10 minutes to fix it.

Posts: 3486 | Registered: Sep 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Member # 9712

 - posted      Profile for Itsame           Edit/Delete Post 
I have an idea. Call AT&T then connect via three-way calling your ISP and AT&T, then they can blame each other directly.
Posts: 2705 | Registered: Sep 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Member # 9789

 - posted      Profile for anti_maven   Email anti_maven         Edit/Delete Post 
Originally posted by JonHecht:
I have an idea. Call AT&T then connect via three-way calling your ISP and AT&T, then they can blame each other directly.

Priceless - I can imagine the scene right now. Heat up the popcorn and watch them thrash around in an ever more convoluted tangle of lies and blamecasting.

Oh, and to be fair I've never suffered at the hands of AT&T, I just feel you can exchange the name with any large telco/service provider...

Posts: 892 | Registered: Oct 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator

   Close Topic   Feature Topic   Move Topic   Delete Topic next oldest topic   next newest topic
 - Printer-friendly view of this topic
Hop To:

Contact Us | Hatrack River Home Page

Copyright © 2008 Hatrack River Enterprises Inc. All rights reserved.
Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.

Powered by Infopop Corporation
UBB.classic™ 6.7.2