“Not Worth Calling Customer Service” Club

Yesterday I used my new range for the first time. I cut up my onions, garlic, peppers, carrots, had water boiling for pasta, and began to use a second burner to sauté meticulously sliced and diced vegetables. Only I noticed when I turned on the second burner, the first one’s flame decreased by half. When I turned on the third burner, all three flames dwindled. When all four burners were lit, I had barely a candle-sized flame.

“Of course,” I thought, “par for the course of the post-flood renovation which never ends.

I find the number to call my range manufacturer and after five minutes of computerized prompts and five more minutes of waiting, a recording tells me it’s higher than normal call volume and would I consider calling back later.

I finally get someone on the phone. I explain my situation; she has a very heavy accent and is reading scripted responses to my questions. Except the responses don’t solve my problem.

“Model number? Natural gas or liquid propane? Let’s check here to see what can be done…I think you can adjust the burners with a flat screwdriver. Or else it is the pressure of the gas.” 

She is reading the Troubleshooting page from the instructional manual, which I had finished reading cover to cover before I called.

In the time I wasted on the phone with the customer service representative, (18 minutes 46 seconds) I had enough time to try three different screwdrivers to attempt to adjust the flame. I realized my first suspicion was correct: we don’t have enough gas coming out. I was still on hold because my last question was “are you sure there’s no switch regulating the flow of gas?”

While on hold, I get frustrated at the time I’m wasting and lack of better muzak. “I could have done so much in this time,” I think. “I could have written my piece for the day (number 334 if you’re keeping track).” 

Not to discount multitasking; in the hold time, I emptied the dishwasher, made an egg and cheese sandwich (on toasted bread), ate said sandwich, replied to a work email, and watched one of my cats (my least favorite, if forced to pick) sit on the top of the new custom wooden dining room chair until it tipped over and cracked in half.

Sorry, Husband, who is my editor, and finding out this way.

This is why I don’t call customer service. It never works. You never call a number and get a pleasant representative who has the answer to your question. They spew follow up questions and statements and suspicions and lots of typing and holding and then referrals elsewhere.

This is why it’s better to just deal with an insufficient gas flow. Maybe there’s a grand reason for it all.  Maybe I’ll create a television series on one-burner wonders? Think of the angle there – a whole cookbook, a YouTube channel, a show on the Food Network – all based on one-flame creations. Camping will go to “glamping gourmet” in just one burner. Tailgaters will revel in their new found inspiration. Don’t let that small NYC kitchen with one burner slow you down from hosting Thanksgiving dinner!

How much inconvenience will we deal with before we call customer service?

12 years ago I bought a Samsung 40” LCD screen TV. My family still has and uses this as our primary television. But it has a little glitch; a personality trait as we call it. Sometimes, randomly, the sound goes out. We have to turn the TV off and on to restore sound. This is no problem in the age of DVRs. The sound dies, someone utters a loud “Augh,” we hit pause, turn the TV off and back on and we carry on. 

At first, I tried to call Circuit City, the retailer from whom I purchased the television, but they had gone out of business and I really didn’t have the desire to hunt someone to fix it, etc. The inconvenience of the flaw was less than the headache of calling customer service. There must be a ratio or formula in there somewhere to determine when it’s worth voluntarily entering the first ring of hell. 

In life, we tend to adjust to inconveniences and annoyances because they’re less bothersome than fixing them. But in the long run, is it worth it?

3 thoughts on ““Not Worth Calling Customer Service” Club

  1. Our cable has been out for a full week. You call the number, you get a recording saying they can’t answer the line now. You email, tweet, Facebook, you get some halfassed responses and no offer to PHONE. Have you ever tried troubleshooting via messages that are 20 minutes apart? It’s infuriating.

  2. Augh! So annoying. Dealing with insurance companies is also up there. Time Warner is the worst!!! Ironically it’s actually gotten better from a few years ago when it was also tremendously horrible! Good luck!

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