Posted by: GeekHiker | November 27, 2007

Idiots To The Left Of Me, Idiots To The Right

(An awfully techie post; apologies…)

Last night I stayed late at work to swap out our DSL modem (I haven’t been able to convince management to go to T1…yet) for a newer, faster DSL modem. The ISP promised me in a phone call last night that, yes, we would have internet service (newer, faster, and apparently swankier internet service) when I arrived in the office first thing this morning.

So, of course, we didn’t.

Not that I didn’t see it coming. “I can,” I prophesied, “almost guarantee that (insert name of idiotic large corporation ISP here) will manage to screw this one up and we’ll have no service tomorrow morning.”

Why the hell don’t I put money on these things?

Arriving in the office this morning, I headed straight for the server room, carefully navigating the office so as to make sure not to pass by any of my fellow employees. My figuring was that if our connection was up, I’d find out in the server room, and if it wasn’t, well, at least I wouldn’t have to listen to 30 people informing me of it on my way there.

‘Cuz, you know, people are usually so calm and collected about such things.


After restoring connectivity by swapping out the new modem with the old, I decided to lay a little wrath at the doorstep of the the tech guy as to why the change wasn’t done on their end last night.

Of course, I had to reach him first. Calling the tech line, I was first rewarded with a happy automation-lady informing me that my order had been successfully completed.

Uh, right.

Next up was the 10 minutes spent working my way through the labyrinthine options of the system, then finally answering a bunch of questions by the tech guy that he could see on his screen, confirming I was who I said I was.

(I’ve always wondered: what do they do if you answer wrong? “I’m sorry, sir, I can’t allow you to fix someone else’s DSL service…”)

Finally, he told me he would have to connect me with another department since he didn’t handle server configuration problems.

At which point I calmly bit his bloody head off informed him that there was no way that it could possibly be a server issue. The only thing that was changing was on their end.

He hemmed and hawed, ran some tests, put me on hold during the tests (probably to grab coffee and a donut) and finally came back with an answer.

Turns out the new modem, the one we received last week, the one we signed for so the ISP would know we had it and were ready to install it, well, it seems they just weren’t sure that we’d received it.

I think it was at that point I laughed into the phone in such a way that he quite possibly thought I should be committed.

So even though they’d scheduled the four-hour work order for last night, scheduled it up a week and a half ago no less, they didn’t do it because they couldn’t be bothered to look at their shipping records to confirm we had the equipment.

Bloody hell.

Of course, they were willing to do the change over in the middle of the day, but I couldn’t afford to be down for four hours in the middle of a production day.

Kinda counter-productive, ya know? And the higher-ups might just have an issue with that.

“Oh, no,” I was told, “it will only take about 10 minutes.”

“No way.”

“Yes, only about 10 minutes to do the change-over at the CO and you’ll be all set.”

“Then why did you need four hours to process the work order last night?”

“I, uh, don’t know what you were told last night, sir,” – I always have a little conflict in my mind as to whether I like “sir” as a term of respect or if it just makes me feel old – “but it’ll only take about 10 minutes.”

Amazingly, I refrained from letting loose a stream of verbal refuse into the phone. It was tempting, but I am a so-called “professional.”


I then talked to another couple of departments, seeking out my account manager to make sure the work would get done. This involved going through another three people and ten layers of phone system menus.

Of course, this conversation was also fun as the tech guys don’t have access to our account info, and the account managers don’t have access to our tech info.

Well, sure, an ISP wouldn’t want it’s employees to see all of their customer’s information simultaneously, right? That’s just crazy-talk!

Promptly at noon I got a call from an actual tech, and 15 minutes later (I knew the guy earlier was lying about the 10, but I’ll let it slide), the modem was swapped out and the new connection was in place and working perfectly.

Of course, the actual technician who called me at noon was straightforward, friendly, and technologically knowledgeable.

In other words, I was working with a guy who knew what the hell he was doing. Which was all I’d really wanted all damn day.

But why, oh why, do I have to go through four idiots and a seventeen-layer prompting voice mail system to get to that guy?



  1. It was Verizon wasn’t it?! I’ve heard so much crap about them. And whenever those companies make me wait so long to get an automatic answering machine makes me want to pull my hair out- it is SO annoying.

    Good job on being so calm and collected. *ahem*

  2. Lol. Last spring a flood took down the whole local state administration system. That was quite amazing because no one could actually do anything for an entire day given the main servers had shut down. Turned out that an idiot didn’t think useful to close the water/fireproof doors.

  3. I can’t imagine getting much work done in a place that didn’t have at least couple OC3’s worth of capacity. (But then again I’ve been working in Telecom for 9 years!) You must work in a very small office!

  4. Wendy – Honestly, it doesn’t seem to matter what company it is anymore, they’re all pretty bad.

    Gany – Well, yeah, you woulnd’t want to close those, it blocks the way to the coffee pot. 😉

    charlotte – Heh, I wish! Think medium company, cheap management… And yes, I drool for your OC capacity…

  5. I suspect the reason you had “to go through four idiots and a seventeen-layer prompting voice mail system to get to that guy” was because there are so few of “those guys” who actually know what the hell they are doing!

  6. As a Network Engineer, I totally feel your pain!!

  7. That is reason enough to have had a liquid lunch.

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