The Power of a Complaint

The Power of a Complaint

The Power of a Complaint

Recently, I had an issue with the speed of my Internet service. The issue was: Speed = NOT. So I called my Internet provider. Let’s call them BL&T. 9:30 p.m.: I call BL&T to explain my problem. They say someone will get back to me within 30 minutes and to stay off the phone. So I stay off the phone. (Of course, I guess in case Old Mrs. Persnickety needs the party line to call Doc Crotchety about her lumbago.) 10:30 p.m.: No call from BL&T so I decide to call it a night.

The Next Day

The next morning, BL&T still haven’t called. So I do what any self-respecting, awesome social media manager does: find their customer service on Twitter and send a tweet.

I get a nice and polite reply back, very quickly.

Internet Provider

At this point, I put down the biodegradable spork I am using to stab myself repeatedly in the eyeball. 9:45 a.m.: The BL&T technician calls me, saying he’s on his way over. About 20 minutes later, he knocks on my door, very politely covers his feet with shoe covers, and looks at the router. After looking at the inside setup, he sees that there’s nothing wrong inside my place, so he goes outside to examine the exterior of the building. He comes back.

My Interwebz No Workie

Not the Actual Spork in Question

Not the Actual Spork in Question

He goes to examine the box on the phone pole, which is a distance away (I’m not sure where, exactly). At this point, I’m not angry with the technician, but it’s frustrating because I use the Internet a lot. (As in, how much ice cream would you eat if there were no downside? Answer: ALL OF IT a lot. That’s the definition of how much I need, love, and want the Internet. Which I’m sure you were dying to know because I’m just that fascinating. And humble. And not at all loquacious.) Also: I’ve been out of the office for 3 days and am slammed with tweets which have piled up higher than my head.

Slight Digression

I love the Internet more than this ice cream

I love the Internet more than this ice cream

Let me digress for a moment here. Remember that tweet I sent earlier? It turns out that BL&T deleted it from their stream (although I saved the screen shot, which I present above for your viewing pleasure in case you are not yet familiar with my incredible genius mind).

To take BL&T’s side for one second, I understand that they don’t want their entire stream littered with people ranting. They want Happy Shiny People, who only sing their praises in perfect harmony. And also puppies. But! This issue was on its way to being fixed. Can you see where I’m going with this? If you’re reading this, you do know–since some of my awesometasticness has rubbed off on you. After all, I have an infinite amount.

Instead of deleting the tweet, BL&T could’ve left it up, and shown the resolution. Instead, they chose to delete the tweet.

Ok. Digression over. You forgot that was a digression, didn’t you? So transfixed were you by the incredible storytelling of moi. Anyways, the guy is back now. He says, you’re paying for 6Mbps, but only getting 3Mbps, so you could downgrade and the line would be more stable.

He leaves. I thanked him warmly and did not punch him in the throat. (Hey, where’s my Nobel Peace Prize?)

At least now I had some answers, although still no stable Internet. And obviously somebody over there does know something.

I hadn’t called BL&T yet, when to my delight, they called me! Or actually, they had a robot call me, with a message saying they wanted to “close the ticket.” “Rutrow,” I thought. Close the ticket? Heaven forfend! Closing the ticket would mean all was right in the world of Internet memes (like my favorite: Grumpy Cat). And my Internet connection still had a big owie. Why would they close the ticket? Was night day? Was up down? Did cats not invent the Internet after all? I stayed in Phone Call Treelandia to make sure the ticket wasn’t closed.

Tap Dancing to the 1812 Overture

Tap Dancing to the 1812 Overture

Finally, after 10 minutes of entering phone numbers and tap dancing to the 1912 Overture, I hear the answer to my prayers: “Press zero to speak to a live operator.” Halleluiah! The cavalry will be here shortly! Then this: “We’re closed now. Call us back later.” OMG. Just when you think nobody has a sense of humor any more. When I get my own big company, I’m going to play this same prank on my tired, frustrated customers. Good one, BL&T! When the 2013 Prankie Awards are given out, you will be #1! Foam Rubber Finger!

But Wait! There’s More! Only not yet. How will this end? Will my Internet get fixed? Will BL&T get another nomination for the Prankies? Will the guy in the building next door stop playing that stupid kazoo? Has anyone seen my keys? Tune in next time for some answers. Maybe not to these questions, but you never know. Plus also more questions. And also maybe a recipe for BBQ sauce.

Calling All Spork Breakers

Have any of the rest of you ever been in a never-ending struggle? Are you also in the middle of a pitched battle? And how many sporks did you break before finding resolution? Please leave your rant below!


  1. I love the ice-cream analogy the eye-ball stabbing spark.
    I left BL&T in 2010 for the same reason.

    This sentence “Also: I’ve been out of the office for 3 days and am slammed with tweets which have piled up higher than my head.” reminds me of the Shel Silverstein illustration for his poem “Sarah Cynthia Sylvia Stout Would not take the Garbage Out.” (If you’re not familiar it’s here: )

    Also, I like the snark in this post a lot. It’s perfect.

    • Thank you for the Shel Silverstein poem–I’d never read it before! It really made me laugh! Sorry for your experience with BL&T (but I completely understand it as well!). We’ll see how the next chapter plays out…
      Thanks again,

  2. I have many stories to tell but this one might help some.

    It’s an issue with a gas company – we’ll call Pagey – who escalated to critical an issue about the gas shut off valve not shutting off in our house. This critical issue got resolved six (!) weeks later. How did it get resolved six weeks later? My hubby wrote to the PUC and addressed it to the Governor. That worked! He works for a department in the State; and according to him, any letter coming from anyone going to any department that says “Dear Governor” gets high priority. It doesn’t matter what’s in the letter.

    Hope yours get resolved soon. I feel sometimes that these utility companies give you top notch service UNTIL you have an open issue that you need help with.

    • Wow, Ruby! Hopefully this issue won’t have to go to the governor to get resolved! But you never know. Maybe I’ll have to write to President Obama to get the Internet fixed. At some point, it seems like it might be easier to just fixed the problem. Or is that too crazy of an idea? lol
      Thank you for commenting!

  3. Oh I can relate. One time I had ordered a shirt from a clothing company somewhere on the east coast. After over 2 weeks of not seeing the shirt which had been marked “shipped” on the day of purchase, I contacted them on Twitter. They IGNORED me. I emailed them. More ignoring. I tweeted again, this time a little angrier. FINALLY someone contacted me and told me they would make it better.

    Two weeks later, still no shirt. Needless to say, their clothes will not be anywhere near my (nonexistent) Christmas tree.

    What really gets me about your story is the deletion of the tweet. Wouldn’t they want customers to see that they are capable of handling these issues? Leave the tweet up and then post a follow-up tweet that shows everything is cool! Simple.

    • Hi Eric,

      Oh, boy. Sorry about your shirt. I think there is such a lost opportunity for companies to really turn it around. There’s a moment where they could make me into a true believer, instead of an angry customer.

      Yes, leave the tweet up and then deal with it in a transparent and public way. Show what follow up occurred, instead of trying to hide the truth so people like me don’t end up wailing on their blogs. And isn’t it less expensive to fix this problem and keep customers than to advertise to try and get new customers?

      Maybe bad customer service is more common than I think. At this point, I think I’d settle for just ok customer service.

      Thanks for commenting!

  4. I am sorry you experienced such poor customer service, but I laughed the entire time I was reading your post. I think we’ve all experienced aweful customer service from big companies (usually the ones who have an almost monopoly in the area). While not a national company, a rather large regional HVAC company robo-called me (I am a customer) to remind me that it was time to schedule a PM on our furnace. During that call, they noted that if I wished to schedule it now, I could press 1. Groovy … yet that option, no matter how many times I pressed the darn 1 on my phone, did not result in action. haha! I have yet to call them, and every winter I think about taking my business elsewher because their CS stinks. Keep us posted on what happens with BL&T!

    • Hi Tess,
      I’m glad I could keep you entertained. I must admit I entertained myself by writing this, too–writing can take a really bad experience and transform it. You’d think that really large companies would spend a little more to see that all the pieces of their customer service puzzle fit together.

      But the social media guy sits in an office somewhere apart from the guy who came to service my router (the guy who knocked on my door didn’t even know that BL&T had Twitter!). Wouldn’t it be great if the guy in the field knew about the Twitter account? And the person who answered the phone promised something that clearly could not be done by the service division. So many disconnects!

      There is more to this story, for sure! Stay tuned for part 2!

      Thanks for the comment. I appreciate it.


  5. Michael Ring says

    I called a company with a small issue and while on hold, the music was crossed linked with the fax. I thought because they provided a quick response to my issue, I’d inform them of this technical glitch. But I’m not sure if I should address the letter Dear Sir or Dear Fax?

    • Hi Michael,
      Sounds like either a letter to “Dear Fax” or a fax to “Dear Sir” is in order! Or maybe create a video of the whole thing and then email them the link.

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