Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Pet Peeve #378

Calling the satellite TV company. Because life is too short to spend it on the phone with tech support plucking my eyebrows out one hair at a time and trying not to scream obscenities at the condescending man on the other end of the phone. Seriously, there is nothing other than car trouble that makes me go from zero to CRANKY any quicker than dealing with the blue screen of death on my TV. It makes me long for the days of my youth when we had only three channels, and the remote was me after my father said, “Hey, get up and change the channel.” This was usually followed by me asking, “Why?” and him saying, “Because I said so.” And since that was during the Wonder Years when you did what your parents said out of fear of wearing your butt for a hat, you got up and changed the channel from Maude to UHF wrestling without ever having to worry about things like modes or a tangle of red, yellow and white connectors. Watching television has become way too complicated for me in recent years, and I hate it when it goes awry.

I am the electronics technician at our house. My husband knows nothing about electronics. He literally visits four sites on the internet, and all of those have shortcuts on his desktop. He only discovered the joys of Craigs List two weeks ago and has managed to show me every item for sale in a twelve county area. One. At. A. Time. Lord help us if I get hit by a bus and he has to work our online bill payments, and his knowledge of the inner knowledge of anything computer or satellite related could fit in a thimble. But don’t tell him that because he kinda thinks otherwise. Oy, the issues that caused in our marriage.

His role in setting up television service at our new house was calling Dish Network and telling them he wanted something that included all of the HBO channels. As any of you with satellite television know, you have to spend a lot of time on your own trying to figure out the system before you can convince a technician to come to your house to help you. After days of frustration, we ended up calling a neighbor who used to work for Dish and paying him $100 to straighten out the four TV’s in our house and hooking up the DVD player. There is one glitch. The remote for Teen Angel’s TV still turns the channels in the exercise room too, so she and I duke it out with our remotes on the rare rainy Saturday that I’m on the treadmill and she’s home. We can deal with that though.

Because I spent thirteen years working in television news, I am apparently the most qualified person in our house to deal with technical difficulties relating to the TV. I won that job by default, only I never applied for it. And I didn’t work in the ENGINEERING part of the TV station; I worked in the NEWS department. That means the only thing I know about restoring service is turning off the receiver, counting to ten and then turning it back on. However, I can write you a two minute story on the dangers of satellite TV and what you need to know to protect your family from them. Complete with web links.

I tried the whole turning the receiver off and back on thing four times before calling Dish the other night because I knew that was the first thing tech support was going to advise me to do. I tried a couple of other tricks too, to no avail. I finally gave up, called and started praying for patience as soon as the phone started ringing. Over the past year, I’ve figured out how to maneuver past the voicemail options that require you to talk to the system as if you’re talking to a real human. Who cannot hear you clearly or understand English. After shouting loudly and slowly, “Watson, come to my office,” I got a nice lady on the line who ran through the usual paces and bumped me up to “Advanced Tech Support”, which I think translates into, “Woo, lady, I’ve done all I can do for you.”

To make a long story short, I spent another fifteen minutes on the phone with a guy who directed me to stand on my head, hold my tongue just right and clap my hands until the signal returned. I’m still not sure what the real problem was as there didn’t seem to be one thing that really did the trick. Except maybe the part where I clicked my heels together three times and kept repeating, “I wish this *#$@ thing would work.” The really funny part came when I asked him how I could prevent this kind of problem in the future since the receiver seems to be fine when we turn off the TV and then it simply loses its signal before we turn it on again, for no weather related reason. His explanation? Very often pets in the home step on the remote and change the settings, which makes no sense in our case since the settings he was talking about are on the side of our TV, AND Hubby very often sets the remote on the fireplace mantle when we’re gone. I said, “Seriously? The dog ate my TV?” and the technician cheerfully said, “Yes”. So I hung up, looked at the dog and said, “Dude! If you don’t quit changin' the channels while we’re gone, you’re gonna be wearin’ your butt for a hat.”


The Church Lady said...

I gave up in the TV department. Ever since we got our new "big screen", I don't even know how to turn it on. No lie. I push all the buttons on the remote and nothing. I am the technology challenged one in our family. My hubby is the electronics guru.

Maybe if you try calling tomorrow you will get a better tech. One who actually cares. Best of luck.

~sWaMpY~ said...

OMG ! Did I write this in my sleep? This is MY life ! I just had this conversation with a friend about my last 'confrontation' with the a$$h0+e at the satellite place. I know why it's called the satellite place...he's on another planet if he thinks I can follow his directions on how to get my receiver to receive.
I'll never forget the phone call from my husband the day I flew out of town for my daughter's first baby...I've just gotten off the plane and my phone rings.
Why did you sabotage all the TV's?
What did you do to make all the screens in the house turn blue?

Jan n Jer said...

Its times like this that you do yearn for the good old days of 4 channels and antennas. I really could live with that, I mostly watch the local channels anyway!

Trailboss said...

While you are the TV expert in your house I apparently have been dubed the Computer Guru. This is nonsense since I have only been using a computer for a few years and have never cracked a single book on what to do this and how. I have no idea. I just use common sense and keep trying until something works. I don't know how many times my husband has been online, had a problem and turned to me with the evil eye, demanding that "I come see what it is saying now!"

the parishioner who doesn't do anything said...