August 5th, 2011

Charred Trees and Leaves, laptop shopping on a tax-free day, & TWC's worst customer service ever...

~Friday~  I was up at 4:45, and no, that's not a typo. I left home at 5:15, and when I went to turn right onto Kent to head up to Western Boulevard, there were two police cars blocking the road both directions, and up ahead I could see a bunch of cop cars and a fire engine at work.

I wondered if there was yet another murder (there have been two that I know of) in the Trees & Leaves apartments where it looked like everything was going on. Later in the day, this article posted online: Raleigh apartment fire leaves 16 homeless and this one: Raleigh apartment fire ruled arson, 12 people displaced.

I went up Kaplan and slipped onto the beltline from Melbourne, and hopped on I-40 toward Durham. I pulled into Robert's driveway precisely at my estimated arrival time of 5:45, and I dropped him off at Terminal 2 at about 6:10 for his 7:12 first leg flight to Wisconsin for his 40th high school reunion this weekend.

I arrived at work at 6:30, where it was deserted both in the free parking area on Gardner and inside the office, where people didn't start arriving until a little after 7:00.

At around 8:30 or 9:00, I walked to get some coffee with Jen and Garrison, but as we approached the Reverie coffee shop, Jen remembered that it's closed this week while the owner is on vacation. We detoured over to the university library's Hill of Beans (I love that link to their webcam so you can see how long the line current is if you're heading over there ) coffee shop, and afterward dropped into the NCSU Bookstore to look at the laptops.

Finding out that they didn't actually have the two Lenovo laptops that were advertised as on clearance on their website, I went back to flip-flopping about buying a Mac. Did I mention that both Jen and Garrison are avid Apple fans? We left there with me still "thinking about it."

I joined Jen, Garrison, Nick, and Vanessa for lunch at Kanki at Crabtree Valley Mall where we met our colleague Jason, who had been working from home. I just absolutely love their Hibachi Chicken Teppanyaki, and that's what I had.

Afterward, all of us walked down to the Apple store, where I was going to once again look at the Macs, but with it being tax-free weekend, there was a ridiculously long line of people waiting to get in the store, and we couldn't go in even just to browse.

Back at work, later in the afternoon, Jen walked back over to the university bookstore with me, where we took an in depth look at the Macs, with her taking me through several of its features. This time I left there convinced, and back at my office, I logged into the Apple Store online and ordered this click on image for technical specs):

MacBook Air 13-inch 128GB

Since it's tax-free weekend, I saved $77 in taxes, so promptly treated myself to their $69 "Magic Mouse." Thanks for all of your help today, Jen!

Before leaving work, late, today, I called Time Warner Cable to go off on them about a $211 charge from them that I noticed on my credit card on Wednesday, and with a call then found out was for upgrading to Turbo service, back during that absolute fiasco of a modem upgrade that I detailed in a blog entry at the time.

I ended up screaming at "Robin," who while I was venting my frustration started talking over me. "WOULD YOU PLEASE NOT TALK OVER ME!?! CAN YOU TELL THAT I'M FRUSTRATED? I JUST WANT SOMEONE TO LISTEN TO ME! IF YOU CAN'T DO THAT, PLEASE CONNECT ME TO SOMEONE WHO CAN."

It irritated me that she couldn't pull up my "escalation ticket number 6382569," and that she expressed zero empathy not only for the (at least) five transfers I went through back in June when I called about that modem swap, but the transfer that happened two days ago when I called to find out what that $211 charge.

During that call the person in billing looked back in my account and said, "Oh that $211 is a prorated charge from when you upgraded your service to Turbo in June."

"What?" I'd asked. I didn't upgrade any service. I swapped my modem in because I got an email that said new, faster service was available free with a new modem. I didn't sign up for any Turbo service."

"Well, I'll have to transfer you to a technical person who can remove the Turbo service," he'd said.

He cold transferred me over to someone who said, "How can I help you today?" Okay, you know I was fuming again by this point, as this was turning into exactly what happened when I called about the modem back in June and ended up on the phone for two hours.

"You don't know why you're talking to me? Someone transferred me to you."

"No sir. I'm in a different building, probably a whole different location from that person. I'm in Maine. I have no idea where that person is who transferred you," he said.

To which I said, "And this would be my problem, because?"

He didn't have anything to say to that, and after a couple of seconds said, "Sir, if you'd give my your account number..."

And I said, "I'll have to call back. I'm meeting someone for lunch in ten minutes."

So needless to say after that on Wednesday, I was in no mood for "Robin's" nonsense today, and after she listened to my issue, she said, "I'm sorry about your experience, sir. I can either remove the Turbo service or just let you keep it for free. Which would you prefer?"

I said, "I'll take it for free." D'oh.

"Okay, that's been taken care of, sir. Is there anything else I can do for you today?"

"What about that $211 charge on my credit card? Is that automatically going to be removed with what you just did?"

"No, sir. I'll have to transfer you to billing to take care of that." I bit my tongue from saying, "So, if I hadn't asked you were just going to let me hang up?

She transferred me to billing where the person said, "How can I help you today?"


"I'm calling to remove that $211 charge from my bill."

"And why's that, sir?"

"Robin didn't tell you?" I asked facetiously, knowing damn well this was another one of their infamous cold transfers. "I was charged for service I didn't request, and Robin took care of the technical part, and she said she was transferring me to billing to get the charge removed from my bill."


The other thing that's incredible about that whole transaction is that "Robin" didn't say how long I'm going to be getting this free Turbo service. Was that for a year? Will it just go on forever if nothing else happens to draw attention to it? Will it, after some period of time, switch to being charged for again? An option I don't even want to begin to think about.

I had intentions of going out tonight, but I lay down at 8:30 for a nap, and woke up 12 hours later, Saturday morning.