Gary D's Take

Benjamin Franklin was right!

My favorite philosopher Ben Franklin once said ” Blessed is he who expects nothing for he shall be continually surprised.” My recent experience with an AT&T service issue at my house is a good example of this. Nothing accurately sums up my expectations for customer service from AT&T. I don’t have an expectation of any at all. And like Ben, I am amazed and surprised at what I got.

The gas company has put a new line in on my road so that one of my neighbors can get service from them. While they were burying it , they also decided to modify the underground line that brings telephone and Internet to my house. They installed a 4 inch air gap where my line crosses the ditch they were working in. For those of you not familiar with an air gap, it is an absolutely fool proof method of stopping spam, Internet viruses, email, telephone calls , web pages and all forms of outside communication short of smoke signals, war drums and carrier pigeons. I called AT&T the day it happened which was a Tuesday and in normal AT&T fashion, they confirmed that there was trouble on the line (DUH) and that they would have my issue resolved by Monday at 8pm. Now a 7 day wait for restoral of my service would be intolerable but 6 days……thank you AT&T! Back in the day, when they gave you a long resolution time, Bellsouth would show up early but not AT&T, when they say 6 days they are true to their commitment.

Anyway, I caught the guys working for the gas company and informed them that they had severed my phone line. The crew supervisor informed me that all the telephone lines in my neighborhood were aerial and that wasn’t possible. I confirmed to him that all the lines were aerial..EXCEPT MINE! I showed him the spot where the cut had occurred and his locator indeed confirmed that something metal was underground there. He dug down about 8 inches and there sat my line right above his brand new gas line.He apologized for my inconvenience and said he wished there was something he could do, which there wasn’t of course. His efforts to speed up the phone company were as futile as mine, AT&T held fast to their commitment to be there Monday. As a side note, I am not done with Marshall County Gas yet. I channeled my inner phoneman and applied a temporary splice to restore service to my house and settled in to wait for AT&T.

Monday afternoon, as promised, the AT&T repairman arrived.There is something in the telephone company lexicon called referral. This is an extension of the famous “that’s not my job” method of operation that encourages employees of public utilities to “refer” things like buried cables and billing problems to the “proper” department. Which causes the duration of your problem to be lengthened as much as possible. That is what I expected to happen. I fully expected my problem to be “referred” to engineering for replacement of my drop. Engineering is even more short staffed and overbooked than repair so I was prepared for Christmas and New Year without a repair. Surprisingly, that didn’t happen! The young man who came to my house efficiently and professionally spliced my cable and even reburied it! As much as I would like to send a commendation to his supervisor and mention his name here, I won’t. You see he told me that he really was supposed to refer my problem and that he was going over the time allotted to him to fix my issue. I won’t name him or send a heartfelt and much deserved letter of thanks to AT&T because I am afraid I would get him fired! Whoo HOO! Go AT&T!

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