My Thursday Night with Nikky the AT&T Technical Support Representative

Today, after a-whole-nother story’s worth of chats with various persons from various countries and various understandings of the English language (something one might, someday, in retrospect call a comedy of errors), we had our AT&T U-verse  internet and cable installed into our new home.

When the technician left, he checked to see if the DVR worked, as DVR and a luxurious switch from U100 to U200 were presumed to be a  part of the switch.  The technician even brought in a significantly larger cable box that, for whatever reason, was necessary for us to make the switch.  And as it turned out, we still just had the U100 plan.  Fine, okay, sure.  It will either switch over here in a bit, he said, or you’ll just have to contact them and ask them to, presumably, push a couple of buttons and switch it over.  And who are we kidding? Of course it didn’t just switch over.

Say, 9:30, I began chatting with Live Chat Technical Support Representative nr475y (Nikky) to ask her to push a couple of buttons and switch it over.  It started out fine, colloquial even:

I cannot say it was quick, because I chatted with Nikky for what felt like days, but things eventually got a bit out of hand:

Here is the full transcript of my conversation with Nikky:

System:        Connecting to server. Please wait…

System:        Connection with server established.

System:        Technical Support Topic: SST: More Help

System:        nr475y(Nikky) has joined this session!

System:        Connected with nr475y(Nikky)

nr475y(Nikky): Thank you for contacting AT&T U-verse Member Support. My name is Nikky(nr475y) Please allow me a moment to review your account details with the information you have provided.

nr475y(Nikky): I apologize for the fact that you had to wait for a little while to get connected to us.

nr475y(Nikky): May i please know the name of the account holder?

You:           [redacted]

nr475y(Nikky): How may I assist you with U-Verse service today?

You:           Today I had my Uverse cable switched from one apartment to another one, and this also included an upgrade from a U100 to U200 cable plan and DVR. And when the technician left, I still only had the U100 plan, and he told me that it should do it automatically, or that I would need to contact you guys and ask you to switch it over.

You:           And right now, I do still just have the U100 plan on my TV.

nr475y(Nikky): I am so sorry for the inconvenience caused. I will be more then willing to look in to your concern.

nr475y(Nikky): Could you please provide me with the 9 digit billing account number, as I am not able to pull up account with the information provided.

You:           Just a second.

You:           [redacted]

nr475y(Nikky): Thank you

nr475y(Nikky): Your account is opening up

You:           Still?

nr475y(Nikky): yes i am seeing that your TV package is U100

You:           Right, but it is supposed to be U200 with DVR.

You:           Can you help me with this?

nr475y(Nikky): yes

nr475y(Nikky): I will quikly change it to U200

You:           That would be greatly appreciated.

nr475y(Nikky): I will also provide you with the order confirmation number for your assistance

nr475y(Nikky): reference*

You:           For what reasons would I need to refer to it?

nr475y(Nikky): I am so sorry i would provide you with the confirmation number for your reference

nr475y(Nikky): I will also let you know when you can watch U200

nr475y(Nikky): To confirm that you are authorized on this account, could you please provide me your 4-digit pass code?

You:           [redacted]

nr475y(Nikky): I would like to inform you that the DVR would be free in U200

You:           I understand that.

nr475y(Nikky): I have also activated HD service on your account

You:           This is free?

You:          Or, included?

nr475y(Nikky): $10/month would be the fee for HD

You:           No thank you then.

nr475y(Nikky): It would be 100% free for the next 6 months

You:          I would like to not spend any more money than I am right now.

You:          I am happy with my plan.

nr475y(Nikky): after completion of the 6 months, if you want you can cancel HD service

You:          I don’t want to do this.

nr475y(Nikky): should i add HD service?

You:          Please stop.

You:           Can you just switch me to U200 and that be it?

nr475y(Nikky): okay

nr475y(Nikky): $72/month is the fee for U200

You:           Alright you know what.

You:          forget it.

You:          I’m going to talk to somebody on Monday.

You:           Or in the morning.

You:           That isn’t the price that I was quoted.

You:           I’m going to disconnect now.

You:          Please don’t change anything.

nr475y(Nikky): I have added discount for $25 for the next 12 months

nr475y(Nikky): so instead of getting charge for $72 you would be charge for $47 for next 1 year

You:           Okay, that is what I understood the rate to be.

You:           Why don’t your records reflect anything that has already happened?

nr475y(Nikky): what records you are talking about

You:           Do you not keep records?

nr475y(Nikky): I have just added promotional discount on your TV package

You:           That must be the problem.

You:           SOMEBODY HAS ALREADY DONE THIS.

nr475y(Nikky): Okay

nr475y(Nikky): shall i process the order?

You:           Let me ask you this first.

You:           How soon will I have U200 if you process the order?

nr475y(Nikky): well it depends on the available due date

You:           WHAT?

nr475y(Nikky): I must need to process the order to get the due date

You:           No.

You:          DO NOT PROCESS THE ORDER.

You:          DO NOT.

You:          I REPEAT DO NOT.

You:          NO

You:          NONONONONONONO.

You:          YOU SHALL NOT PROCESS THE ORDER!

You:          Are we done here?

nr475y(Nikky): Just to confirm would you like me to upgrade your TV package to U200?

You:          NO.

You:          NO.

You:          NO.

You:          Are you kidding?

nr475y(Nikky): If i do not process the order U200 will never activated

You:           Okay, then I shall never activate it.

You:           You are not to do this for me.

AT&T, do you know that this is how you work?  Y U NO FIX THIS?

It’s been a very interesting couple of days, and I’ve a strange feeling that it isn’t quite over.

twenty-five albums & two novels for 2011.

I am not much of a diarist.  So far as I can tell, the two real purposes I maintain this blog are (1) to recommend music (and this is the primary reason I have come to perform maintenance on it today) and (2) to, well, maintain a sort of portfolio of writings that I have personally deemed worthy of self-publication (if you are here for the cat videos, you’ve come to the wrong place).  However, the period of time that has occurred since my last writing (where I aptly made my leaving town mixtape available), has been momentous.

At the end of June, I quit my (part-time) job and packed up and left Austin (which, as far as I can tell, is the greatest city in the history of civilization) for my hometown, and, still having yet to defeat that (library) job market, I moved in with my parents.  I was pretty much living the American dream.

In late July, I had an interview with Harris County Public Library (my third for this particular library system) at the branch library at which I (or whoever got hired) would work.  And i remember leaving that interview with the distinct feeling that that job, and that library, belonged to me, and that I belonged to them.  Three days later (barring a failed background check and/or drug screening), it was so.  I found an apartment across the street from the library in early August and started work a few days later.  It is the best job I have ever had.  And I save so much money on gas.

I was unemployed for forty-six days.  I am one of the lucky ones.

In October, my girlfriend of a year and a half returned, voluntarily, from her adventures abroad and – again, voluntarily – moved in with me – here, uprooted, in Greater Houston.  I am one of the lucky ones.  In Late November, I proposed to her.  Since then, things have been pretty much as awesome as before, just with a 10,000% increase in how frequently one or both of us is asked, “So, when’s the wedding?”, and an increasing amount of comfort using the word fiance.

Here is another reason I consider myself lucky:  I am capable of discernment.  I take particular pride in my musical discernment – that is, my ability to tell good music from not good music.  One of my Professors in library school often mentioned the quote, “Never apologize for your reading taste.”  I have ambivalent feelings about this quote.  On the one (let’s call it my right) hand, the librarian in me thinks, yeah, I mean, these people’s horrible reading taste is what keeps public libraries extant, but on the other hand (call it Lefty), the discerning part of me thinks, can’t people just read good books?  And if we shouldn’t discriminate reading taste, should we also not discriminate tastes in music and movies?  And, well, how is that even possible?

We should all be so lucky as to be discerning, and maybe we all are.  Maybe I have just discovered the primary difference between an E student and a S student.

All of that to say, I have discerned two year-end lists for your perusal, (1) twenty-five albums and (2) two novels for 2011.  Per usual, the lists are comprised of albums/novels which I listened to/read during the year – these albums/novels were not necessarily released this year.  I personally think it’s more telling.  I’m not trying to make a time capsule for 2011; I’m trying to make a time capsule for my 2011.  (Maybe I am a diarist.)

Twenty-Five Albums for 2011:

(25)

Nothing is Wrong by Dawes (2011)

(24)

Hot Sauce Committee Part Two by Beastie Boys (2011)

(23)

Disintegration by The Cure (1989)

(22)

…Endtroducing by DJ Shadow (1996)

(21)

Maximum Balloon (2010)

(20)

The Queen is Dead by The Smiths (1986)

(19)

Odyssey & Oracle by The Zombies (1968)

(18)

Gloss Drop by Battles (2011)

(17)

Nine Types of Light by TV on the Radio (2011)

(16)

Astro Coast by Surfer Blood (2010)

(15)

The King of Limbs by Radiohead (2011)

(14)

Relax by Das Racist (2011)

(13)

BiRd-BrAiNs by Tune-Yards (2009)

(12)

I Am Very Far by Okkervil River (2011)

(11)

The 1975 CBS Demo Session by Talking Heads (1975)

(10)

Cults (2011)

(9)

Unknown Mortal Orchestra (2011)

(8)

Check Your Head by Beastie Boys (1992)

(7) (FIRST TIER)

Kaputt by Destroyer (2011)

(6)

Cape Dory by Tennis (2011)

(5)

w h o k i l l by Tune-Yards (2011)

(4)

Days by Real Estate (2011)

(3)

Yuck (2011)

(2)

Elephant Eyelash by WHY? (2005)

(1)

Treats by Sleigh Bells (2010)

Treats is an album unlike anything I have ever heard before.  Listen to it.  And while you’re at it, listen to all of these.

Two Novels for 2011:

(2)

The Imperfectionists by Tom Rachman (2010)

(1)

The Broom of the System by David Foster Wallace (1987)

NOTE: I also read Infinite Jest, Consider the Lobster, and 3/4 of Oblivion.  All of them are well worth your time and patience.  But The Broom of the System, hands down, is my favorite of the four.

As always, I welcome counter-lists and -suggestions.  Thanks for your time.  Keep it real.  Et cetera.

 

P.S. Happy twentieth birthday to my brother, Anthony.

Twenty albums for the half-year.

(20)

I Am Very Far by Okkervil River (2011)

(19)

The Queen is Dead by The Smiths (1986)

(18)

Circuital by My Morning Jacket (2011)

(17)

Helplessness Blues by Fleet Foxes (2011)

(16)

Disintegration by The Cure (1989)

(15)

Astro Coast by Surfer Blood (2010)

(14)

Showroom of Compassion by CAKE (2011)

(13)

Hot Sauce Committee Part Two by Beastie Boys (2011)

(12)

Nine Types of Light by TV on the Radio (2011)

(11)

Nothing is Wrong by Dawes (2011)

(10)

Cults (2011)

(9)

Dye it Blonde by Smith Westerns (2011)

(8)

The King of Limbs by Radiohead (2011)

(7)

BiRd-BrAiNs by tUnE-yArDs (2009)

(6)

w h o k i l l by tUnE-yArDs (2011)

(5)

Kaputt by Destroyer (2011)

(4)

Cape Dory by Tennis (2011)

(3)

Yuck (2011)

(2)

Elephant Eyelash by WHY? (2005)

(1)

Treats by Sleigh Bells (2010)

Six albums for April 2011, with audiovisuals

(1)

Yuck (2011)

(NOTE: This is the only album I purchased this month.  The rest I got from libraries.  [Have you heard of these things?] And it just so happens to be my favorite for the month.  Coincidence?)

(2)

Treats by Sleigh Bells (2010)

(3)

Crazy Rhythms by The Feelies (1980)

(4)

The Lady Killer by Cee-Lo Green (2010)

(5)

¡Simpatico! by Velocity Girl (1994)

(6)

Leisure by Blur (1991)

(NOTE:  Someone [I’m guessing male, Class of 1994 or so] donated these last two to the library, along with Beastie Boys’ License to Ill, among other like albums.  That’s textbook philanthropy, people.)

March Shoutout:

BiRd-BrAiNs by tUnE-yArDs (2009)

No joke, this is the music of a genius at work.

Four free albums for March 2011, with audiovisuals.

I spent exactly zero dollars on music this month.  There were a few albums that I picked up from my local libraries (I would argue that my most noteworthy overall March aquisition is The Cure’s Disintegration), and there was one that a friend of mine “exchanged” with me for CAKE’s Showroom of Compassion (Middle Brother’s self-titled debut.  It’s good.  They’re a modern day CSNY.  But if you enjoy this album, you should really just be listening to Dawes’ North Hills, Delta Spirit’s Ode to Sunshine, and Deer Tick’s War Elephant.  Those three debuts are much, much stronger, and much less road-weary, than Middle Brother.).  But really, a lot of the better albums that I acquired this month were albums that I stumbled upon while surfing the World Wide Web, and that are still out there at sea (or whatever), free to you and me and everyone.  So, here are four albums that will cost you zero (0) dollars to acquire for yourself, with links for your convenience:

(1)

MixDisc2 by White Denim

This is a mixtape that White Denim just put out.  And it’s pretty amazing.  It’s a great insight as to where White Denim is coming from musically, and, for me anyway, a great resource for discovering new music and artists.  White Denim’s official page is filled with freebies, including last year’s Last Day of Summer.

(2)

House of Balloons by The Weeknd

(3)

Freaks & Geeks EP by Childish Gambino

(4)

Radical by Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All

A good deal of Odd Future’s discography is available for free on their Tumblr account.  If you’ve been living under a rock for the past couple of months, Odd Future is my brother’s generation’s Wu-Tang Clan.  The gf and I saw MellowHype (and Tennis, and Smith Westerns, and Yuck, and Bass Drum of Death) at the Fat Possum’s “I’m an Alcoholic and I Hate You” day party at SXSW.  It was terrifying.

Cheers, the internet, and thanks.