Peggy and Payton V


There are many people who complain continually about computers … just Google I Hate Computers and see how many hits you get.   I’m not one of those guys.  First of all, for all the time we spend staring at them, communicating with them (and through them), and using them for work and play, they are tools.   Very complex and complicated tools, but tools none-the-less.  Would you hate your hammer?  When I worked for large defense companies with large IT departments, if something went wrong with my desktop PC, I’d call them … and complain about their service.   I hated IT departments and the restrictions they placed on desktop PCs … just to give themselves more power, I’d say.   Then, I formed my own company and became our de facto IT department, tracking down messages like Explorer cannot connect to the internet, Windows Anti-Virus has detected 2,113,222 infections on your computer, and Powerpoint can’t open this file because it is corrupted.  I suppose at this point I could have learned to hate computers like this guy.  But I didn’t.  I learned that … Thought Number Oneit is remarkable that almost every sentient being in the U.S. (and a number of sub-sentient ones) is able to use a complicated machine like a computer on a regular basis with only occasional technical assistance. Just stand outside a Fry’s Electronics and watch the assortment of people walking out with the latest computing machines and you’ll know what I mean.  This is an incredible technical achievement.

I love computers and I love what they allow us to do, like Skype with the grandkids.  Oh, yeah, their parents are there, too, and our daughter actually wants to talk but it’s great in the heat of summer (115º in Phoenix) to be able to see the little monkeys from the relative cool of my office.  Last night we scheduled our video call at eight, right before the kids go to bed and early enough to leave me time to post for Top Sites Tuesday #115 – Two Thoughts on Tuesday.   Reed, Maddux and Savy were, of course, incredibly cute … when we could see them.  Skype kept losing the picture and informing us that your internet connection is too slow for reliable video chat.  Since I had installed a new, super-duper Belkin router on Friday, this was most disturbing.

After our video call, I settled in to write my post but my WordPress Dashboard wouldn’t load completely.   Now, if you are a techie, I know you’ve been here.   I could have written the post with the internet connection just as it was but I just had to fix the problem first.   Or not.  I reset the modem and reset the router.  Nada.  Tried to connect to the router using Firefox.  Cannot connect to the router.   Shit.  Reset everything again and reinstalled the router software, after which there was not only no internet but no home network.   It was time to call the toll-free number that the router software kept suggesting I call.   That’s when I got to talk to Peggy.   You don’t know Peggy?  Let me introduce you.

Peggy now works for Belkin.   My name is Peggy, says, Peggy, I will be so happy to help you.   She then asks me to disconnect the router and connect my computer directly to my modem, a test to determine that the internet connection isn’t down.  It isn’t the internet connection, I say, I already checked that.  Peggy is relentless, so I pretend to do everything she asks until she agrees, my internet connection is OK.  Now, we start on the router.  We reset it again.  We try to connect to it again.  We ping the router … hello, it’s there!  We unplug the modem and then plug it in after 30 seconds.  What color is the light on the router, Peggy asks.   Amber, I say.  Peggy says, Are you sure it’s not blue?   I think I know amber from blue, you idiot, but I say, Yes, I’m sure.   At this point I throw in a few comments about IP addresses and protocols to let Peggy know that I’m not your average computer weenie, and thirty minutes later, Peggy has a verdict – The router is bad.  Return it to Costco.  I run out to the trash to recover the packaging for my defective router and I retrieve my recently retired D-Link Dinosaur router from my office closet.   After a suitable amount of crawling around under my desk and inventing new combinations of four letter words, the old router is back … but the WordPress still won’t load properly.   I uninstall the Belkin software and, Bingo, the internet is back, faster than ever.  Hmmm.

Once again, I am at a stopping point.  I could have written my post and gone to bed, but instead, I wandered over to the Earthlink site.  Now, it turns out that the DSL modem I received from Earthlink many years ago is no longer supported so I decide to see if Earthlink will replace it.  Past experience with Earthlink customer service has taught me to use Live Chat whenever possible.  This is what I see:

Welcome to Earthlink LiveChat. Your chat session will begin in approximately 0 minutes. Feel free to begin typing your question.
(2 minutes later) You are not currently in a chat session.
(2 more minutes later) You are not currently in a chat session.
(2 minutes later) Please hold for an agent. While you are waiting, please feel free to begin typing your issue in the box below. Try to be as descriptive as possible. Once an agent is assigned to the chat, click SEND to transmit what you have typed.
(Finally) Payton V says: Thank you for contacting EarthLink LiveChat, how may I help you today?

Payton V is much more helpful than Peggy, partially because I don’t have to figure out his accent on chat.  He tells me I can buy a new modem for $49.95 (really? doesn’t that come with the service?) or get one free with a one year commitment.  You know I’m not afraid of commitment … and I’m cheap, so I opt for free.   Payton types: You need to pay for the shipping of the modem.  Shipping charges  are:  Standard Ground Shipping  $19.95  up to  7 Business days;  2 Day Air Shipping  $24.95  up to 2 Business days;  Overnight Shipping  $39.95  Next  Business day.  Yikes!  I can feel the flush rise to my face but I opt for two-day shipping to end the pain.  We’re done, right?  No, this is Earthlink.  Earthlink always has one more thing to sell and this time, it’s the latest and greatest version of Norton security software for $6.95 a month.   I have some experience with Norton and I’d rather stick my tongue in a leaf shredder than put Norton on my computer.  Payton continues to send me canned commercial messages about the benefits of slowing down my computer with Norton.  Finally, I type, NO.  Seriously, Payton and he gets it.  He sends: Is there anything else I can assist you with?  My Inner Curmudgeon suggests, How about leprosy instead? but I type, No, you’ve been very helpful.

So, here I am at 9:00 am on Tuesday, writing this post.  And Thought Number Two is: I hate computers.  But I love clicks, so please, push my button … gently … to make me Number One on Top Sites Tuesday #115.   Now, you’ll have to excuse me … my Inner Curmudgeon needs to go outside and throw some rocks at bunnies.

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24 Comments on “Peggy and Payton V”

  1. granny1947 Says:

    Hi Bud…I pressed the button….is that all I have to do?
    Took me to another site.
    I LOVE my computer!

  2. Cheryl P. Says:

    It may surprise you that I am conflicted on the love/hate level as it relates to my computer. I love it when I have the time to enjoy looking around the Internet, reading blogs, playing games and all things that suck away a lot of time but I hate it when I am trying to accompish a specific task and I am getting error messages. Ten time that hate if I am in Photoshop.

    I am not conflicted at all though about having to deal with computer/internet tech help. If I haven’t to call AT&T for Uverse help, I think I would prefer a root canal. At least with the root canal I would get to lie back and relax. I want to just the slap the you-know-what out of the Peggys of the world.

    • oldereyes Says:

      I’m not surprised at all … you strike me as a sensible person, so naturally you’d have a love-hate relationship with your computer. And the more you do, the more you have to deal with on the computer.

  3. marjulo Says:

    I LOVE my computer too, especially since I upgraded to a new one in July because my old one was limping along. It did its duty, but is now retired.

    I haven’t had to call about my computer lately, but I have dealt with the on-line chat people as well as the ones on the help lines. This went on for the month of July as I dropped our land line, upgraded to a smart phone, bought a router to stream Netflix, increased our internet power, speed whatever… Lots of frustrations with communications, but not the actual physical machines. It was so frustrating!

  4. sharon Says:

    I got some real visuals with this post and it made me laugh!

  5. Trina Says:

    I have a really amazing Love/Hate relationship with all electronics – I love them when they work and hate them when they don’t 😉

    Getting a new modem or router can be a terrible thing – every time we’ve tried that I always end up plugging in the reliable one I was trying to upgrade from.


  6. Wolfbernz Says:

    Hi Bud,

    I completely understand the love-hate relationship we have with our computers. Can’t live with them – can’t live without them!

    Gotta love it when you call tech support and you have to deal with the Peggys of tech support land – makes your technical support problem so much more confusing.

    Clicks for you!

  7. Bob S Says:

    What is it about a “techi” that makes us have to reset the whole setup rather than just fix the problem and get on with it. Whenever I change something I have to check out everything to see things are OK. It drives my wife crazy.

    And I also share your frustration with “Peggy.” That commercial is so effective because it so clearly reflects just about everyone’s frustration with customer service. I hate first-line techs. They are told to make everyone go through their simple script. And yes, I have to admit to playing along when they ask me to repeat all the things I have already done to try to solve the situation before I called them. I am so tired of that “dance.”

    Great post. I felt your frustration. Glad to see everything is working OK now.

  8. I love IC. I once spent a full hour on live-chat with someone from Comcast about my internet connection. Then we talked on the real phone. By the time he was done he was practically my best friend. But at least he solved the problem (after several phone calls lasting just as long with other operators yielded no results). I’m glad there’s somebody who knows how to fix things. And what the difference is between amber and blue.

    • oldereyes Says:

      I’m not at all convinced the router is bad, in spite of what Peggy says. I think it may have been the software, in which case I have to decide whether to exchange the router or merely return it. I’ve almost never gotten a satisfactory result form tech support that’s out sourced … which almost all of it is. As I said to Bob, at least it gave me good post material which was fun to write about. I enjoy letting IC out now and then to offset my serious side.

  9. mamitamama Says:

    Wow, I’m impressed with your perseverance regarding electronics! I’m 26 and I feel as though I’ve had enough of it. Live chat is best. I found that out after I was finally rude to a customer service guy in India because I couldn’t understand his accent and he wouldn’t stop repeating himself.

    • oldereyes Says:

      You’ve gotta remember … I’ve been an engineering geek for forty something years. I like to make things work and in some warped way, I like computer problems. Yes, I also have trouble not losing it with heavily-accented phone reps which doesn’t help and leaves me feeling bad afterward.

  10. Glenn Says:

    My Dear Wife worked for an ISP as a techie for years, Gotta tell, you, brother nothin pissed her off more than the people who wouldn’t walk the through the simple instructions at the start of the call. She’d know they were saying yes, yes, I tried that, when they just figured they know it all. I am sure you you probably did, but 8 out of 10 of hers finally got fixed when they went back and did what she asked. Right here in Ohio when you called again, she’d transfer you to Peggy !

    • oldereyes Says:

      Well, that is experience from one side of the road. I admit, I hang around with a fairly computer savvy crowd, even on my blog, and the report from this side of the road is different, including the 80% that got things fixed when they did the basics. I DID know that my internet connection was OK and I had tried most of the first 10 suggestions, like resetting the router, but I wasn’t rude … I even went along with most of her suggestions. If I’d been talking to your wife, when I explained what I’d already done, she might have listened. She certainly would have been easy to understand. But it’s frustrating to be one of the technically capable and be led through things we’ve already done in the name of those who aren’t. Equally frustrating on both sides of the road, apparently.

  11. GeorgeAnn Says:

    Hi, this is Peggy’s sister

    My favorite customer reply is: “I KNOW what I am doing!!!”
    Me: I realize that but I have to rule out the obvious first.
    Customer: “I KNOW what I am doing!!!
    My DREAM answer: “Then WHY are you calling me????”
    Being a tech support individual since 1995 and using “Trumpet Winsock” which most customers called, The Bugle, I must admit that we really had a majority of customers that were frustrated and just not patient enough to go through the process. I am like that myself at times!! I skip steps and usually regret it later. I even called the owner of the company I worked for at midnight to ask him how to disconnect the Bugle, but that was years ago and I digress.

    When you are dealing with the big companies you get outsourced tech, if you use a local ISP, you get more personalized service and sometimes even a house call here or there but unfortunately it’s getting impossible to compete with the big companies.

    Honestly, everyone out there knows what they are doing and everyone out there is a computer expert, or a son, or a nephew, grandson, niece, etc. and everyone out there has to “get on” right away.

    I’m sorry Bud, but I couldn’t not respond, tech is a high stress job that even Microsoft gave their employees a break every so many minutes.

    I DID enjoy your story and I smiled.
    ps… hope you bought the combination modem/router but if you didn’t… a linksys router 😉

    • oldereyes Says:

      As I told that brother of mine, I don’t ever mind responses but I get the last word 🙂 . As I said to Glenn, I am almost always polite if sometimes a bit forceful. MY customer reply would be: I KNOW what I’m doing up to a point. Can you help me with the rest? Yes, big companies. Earthlink is awful. I keep them mostly because I don’t want to go through the pain of changing my email address or paying them extra to keep it. The router I bought is a Belkin and I don’t really think much of their service either. For what it’s worth, today, I received a new modem from Earthlink, reinstalled the Belkin router and everything seems dandy. So Peggy appears to have incorrectly determined that my router was faulty. I don’t blame her … it’s hard to diagnose remotely. I do it regularly with several friends who I help out using Logmein.

      Parenthetically, I have two personas here, Older Eyes and the Inner Curmudgeon. The Inner Curmudgeon is who shows up when I don’t rein in that Reed male my brother talks about. He’s also responsible for this post.

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