1. Adj.: Describing a person born between 1 Jan. 1946 and 31 Dec. 1964
2. Adj.: Description of a person, place or thing possessing Baby Boomer je ne sais quoi
3. See also, Boomer, Esq.: A Baby Boomer who is also a licensed attorney (See, e.g., About).

Comcast: Customer Friendly? Really?

by Suzanne Fluhr on June 6, 2011 · 10 comments

Comcast customer service sign

2019 Update

Have you ever wondered to yourself, “What’s the difference between Comcast and Xfinity?” I’m sure you then decided you needed to get a life and promptly returned your thoughts to whatever important activity in which you were engaged.

Fear not. I googled it for you. This is the main result of my search:

Comcast and Xfinity: the Same but Different. (Emphasis in the original).

I quickly realized I was going to find myself inexorably drawn down this rabbit hole that was not going to advance my ability to engage my brain with more important issues like:

*global warming,
*videos of really cute dogs,
*what my over 3,000 Facebook friends were having for breakfast

So, I jumped out of that Google trail at the point where I think I understand that Comcast is an umbrella corporation for a panoply of brands. They rebranded their cable TV and internet services as Xfinity in 2010, on the theory this would make consumers think they were now more innovative and cool with less dreadful wonderful customer service. I found this information in a blog post entitled:

Comcast Changes Name to Xfinity, Customers Don’t Care

We moved to another Philadelphia zip code this year. My “To Do List” to prepare for and coordinate the move was daunting. One of the items I was dreading the most was getting our Comcast service terminated at one condo and started at another. I even subjected myself to an extensive internet chat with a Verizon Fios guy to see if we could lower the ridiculous cost of our cable and wifi services only to realize I might need to be medicated trying to compare Verizon’s apples services to Comcast’s oranges services. I also perhaps cynically concluded that “it’s better to stick with the Devil you know”.

I had a shockingly positive experience with Comcast/Infinity/Whatever customer service on the telephone who assured me our current service would be terminated on the day of our move and our new service would be installed and functional the same day. A Comcast branded installer arrived at our new place at almost exactly the same time we did and efficiently had us ready to connect to cable TV and cyberspace. He also identified and disconnected a vestigial Verizon beeping alarm I knew was going to become maddening one of the banes of my existence. Mr. Excitement is at work all day and the dog is deaf, so it definitely would have been my problem.

My warm and fuzzy feelings about Comcast/Xfinity’s seemingly improved customer service lasted about a month until a tenant moved into our old condo. She soon called me to ask if I knew how our wifi and cable TV services had been installed there. The Comcast installer was there and couldn’t figure it out. Several days later, he returned with an installer posse and together they figured it out and she finally got connected. I would have thought the cables hanging from the walls and those little connector plate thingies would have been a clue. With apologies to Gilbert and Sullivan, on planet Comcast, apparently it is actually true that “things are seldom what they seem”.

2018 Update. Mr. Excitement and I just tried to upgrade our Comcast service. (Or is it Xfinity?) By any other name, their customer service is still frustratingly unhelpful. After 20 minutes on the phone with someone we couldn’t understand, we’re waiting for a return call from his supervisor.

My Original Comcast Lament 

I recently convinced my aged parents that high definition cable TV is superior to the fuzzy, distorted picture they thought was normal.  Despite their general mistrust of “new” technology, they were pleasantly surprised when it seemed that Cole Hamels was pitching in their living room.  Consistent with the axiom that “no good deed goes unpunished”, having improved their viewing experience, I was tasked with returning their old cable box so they would not be charged five hundred dollars.

I’m tenth in line when I arrive at the South Philly Comcast Cable office at 4:00 p.m.  Six people ahead of me, a tattooed and pierced young man handles the news that he must return his box to a different Comcast office with shocking equanimity, only meekly protesting, “But, they told me to return it here.”

Uh oh.  “They” also told me to return my parents’ box here.  I whip out my cell phone.  Ten  minutes and a disturbing number of menus later, I am talking to someone named something like “Sanjaya” who I suspect is in India.  She assures me I can return my parents’ box at the South Philly office despite the sticker on it that says it should be returned to the Roosevelt Boulevard office.

I have a sinking feeling that her knowledge of Philadelphia geography approximates mine of the moon.  At least I secure her tech ID number (which consists only of letters) to include in the outraged complaint letter I am composing in my head for when the counter worker points to the “Return to Roosevelt Boulevard Office” sticker and gives me a look that shrieks, “What part of Roosevelt Boulevard don’t you understand?”

By 4:30 p.m., there are twenty-three people in the line which is now out the door despite the fact that we have been herded into the zig-zag configuration popularized at airports by the TSA.   Did I miss a bowl of tranquilizers by the door?  My fellow line-mates do not even flinch when they close two of the three service windows.  The office is open until 6:00 PM.  Is Comcast surprised there is an after school-after work customer surge?

If my eyes were lasers, the large Comcast Credo sign over the service counter would be smoldering cinders.  The sign proclaims Comcast’s “superior … customer-friendly” service.  I realize that it is a gazillion times less ironic than the “Work Will Make You Free” sign over the entrance to Auschwitz, but I’m in no mood to let that make me feel better.

Finally, it’s my turn.  I place my cable box in the acrylic swivel box used by banks in high crime areas.  Moving with the alacrity of the DSL turtles in Comcast commercials, the counter lady examines my box.  I am poised to deliver my “But They Told Me to Return it Here” soliloquy.  She doesn’t change her bored expression nor make eye contact, but she slides a “receipt” through the slot in the acrylic shield for me to sign.  There’s lots of fine print.  Every lawyer cell in my brain is screaming that I must read it before signing, just as I advise my clients.  But, I take a quick look over my shoulder at the still growing line, scribble my name and head for the door, too afraid to take the chance that the tranquilizers might have worn off.

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Ralph Richards October 14, 2012 at 1:21 am

I do feel for this person, however, have people forgotten that, dispite it’s size,Comcast is completely run by people. People do make mistakes, they do get tired and the blame for this is not the workers but, the management. When people in a high customer service areas go on break they should be replaced immediately to speed up the line.
But, this is good for one reason, Comcast doesn’t know unless, you the customer tells them.
I am an employee of Comcast, and everyday we move closer to that credo because of people like this good lady letting us know where we fall short.


Just One Boomer October 14, 2012 at 2:11 am

Thanks for reading my blog and for your comment. I agree that “customer service” starts at the top. I’m afraid I didn’t share my “rant” with anyone at Comcast. I just vented on my blog. Feel free to share it with anyone you think should see it. My experience was from June of 2011, so maybe my concerns have already been addressed.


Kimberly Gauthier September 12, 2013 at 9:45 am

OMG – This is so funny! I love the picture that you painted for me. I have so been there and while reading this, I was thinking of our Lynnwood office. The only reasons I didn’t cancel our Comcast service this week is because (1) I’m not sure they have competition and (2) I don’t want to take the equipment back to their Lynnwood office.


Suzanne Fluhr (Boomeresque) September 12, 2013 at 4:03 pm

I think the competition, if any, is just as bad. Here it would be “Verizon” FIOs. However, I must say that once when a Comcast tech had to come to our house to run some cable wires, I asked him about their bundled services which included phone, TV and internet because I was wondering about adding their phone service since already had the other two with them. He gave a meaningful look and said, “Well, I don’t have it.” When we moved a few years after that, I decided to go for the three service bundle. Our Comcast telephone service works maybe half the time. I think we are about to join our Millennial sons and not have a “land line”.


santafetraveler October 26, 2013 at 12:51 am

I could write a short book- thought not that short- with my Comcast experiences. The office here closes during lunch hour- or at least they did at one time. WHAT? Today I got a customer service rep with a two-letter ID followed by a : Yes, that’s a colon. I could make a somewhat crude joke here- but I’ll spare you. #TooBigToFail!


Suzanne Fluhr (Just One Boomer) October 27, 2013 at 1:09 am

I’m glad it’s not just me. I was starting to wonder if I was being unreasonable.


santafetraveler October 27, 2013 at 11:25 am

I think their customer service is so bad that it takes the patient of a saint to deal with them.


Chloe Jeffreys June 8, 2015 at 11:16 am

OMG! This is hilarious and so true. It’s beyond horrible. But there’s no real competition here either that’s any better so they get away with this.

Customer service is dead.


Suzanne Fluhr June 8, 2015 at 3:20 pm

I recently had a phone contact with them that was beyond epically bad. Sigh. This is why monopolies are bad.


Elaine Ambrose May 2, 2019 at 10:30 am

I read this while waiting at the DMV to register my car. Thanks for the laugh! Now everyone is looking at me and scowling.


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