I received a Comcast cable box for a “self-install.” I immediately determined that the box was faulty because it wouldn’t get past the initial “loading” (boot up) screen.

After 2+ hours on the phone for troubleshooting, which mainly involved being asked the same 2-3 absurd questions,  (can you change the channels? I just sent a signal; did the box turn off and back on? etc. etc.) I opened up a live chat.

Below is the transcript:
NB: I changed the names of the techs to protect their innocence.

  • Problem: Attempting to activate my cable box; so far it has been a sad and regretful exercise in futility.
  • Comcast Tech> Hello chris, Thank you for contacting Comcast Live Chat Support. My name is Comcast Tech. Please give me one moment to review your information.
  • chris > My Issue: Attempting to activate my cable box; so far it has been a sad and regretful exercise in futility.
  • Comcast Tech> It’s a privilege to have you here on chat and I am looking forward to provide you excellent service! I hope you are having a great day!
  • chris > I hate to pierce your high hopes but comcast has ruined my day.
  • chris > so, let’s get started, shall we?
  • chris > here is my account number: xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • chris > and here is the serial number on my cable box: xxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Comcast Tech> Thank you for letting me know, Chris. I am sorry for all the inconvenience. I understand how you feel and how difficult to have your services not working.
  • chris > The following has been happening even after multiple attempts to “send a signal” to my box:
  • Comcast Tech> I will do my best to help you activate the box.
  • chris > I power up my cable box
  • chris > I get the large xfinity logo
  • chris > my cable box’s remote and date lights begin slowly flashing
  • chris > my tv displays a slightly smaller xfinity logo and, below that, it says loading
  • Comcast Tech> I understand, let me check the account as well as the box.
  • chris > it gets stuck at loading every single time
  • Comcast Tech> The box is HD, correct?
  • chris > I have the box connected tv via an hdmi cable
  • chris > so, I would assume that it is HD
  • Comcast Tech> Alright, let me activate it.
  • chris > do you want me to keep the box turned on and stuck at “loading” while you do this?
  • Comcast Tech> Yes.
  • chris > roger that
  • Comcast Tech> Thank you.
  • Comcast Tech> Can you please check if the box is working now?
  • chris > no, it is not
  • Comcast Tech> Alright, please unplug the box from the outlet, then plug it back after 10 seconds.
  • chris > I hope you weren’t expecting it to, after I just told you that multiple techs have already tried activating it multiple times
  • chris > unless, of course, you have some sort of magical activation wand not available to your co-workers.
  • chris > ok, unplugging it now.
  • chris > counting to 10
  • Comcast Tech> Thank you.
  • chris > 9…8…7….6….5..
  • chris > 4….3….2….1
  • chris > are you a betting person, Comcast Tech
  • chris > how about you offer to pay my next month’s cable bill if plugging this little bastard back in suddenly makes it work like it’s supposed to?
  • chris > I plugged it back in
  • chris > large xfinity logo on my tv
  • Comcast Tech> Oh, I am sorry if you feel that way, Chris. I am not a betting person.
  • chris > Good for you! You would have lost that bet anyway because, surprise, surprise; we’re back to being stuck at the loading screen just like the other 12 times I’ve rebooted this box.
  • chris > what’s next on the agenda?
  • Comcast Tech> Alright, let me reset the box.
  • Comcast Tech> It will turn off your cable box, you may need to turn on your cable box manually once the box has rebooted. This signal should restore your services on your cable box.
  • Comcast Tech> Your Guide will display, “To Be Announced” and you may experience a delay in changing channels and may get a “One Moment Please” error on channels.
  • Comcast Tech> Please do not worry, these are just NORMAL. The box is loading all your features.
  • chris > you sure you don’t want to bet on this?
  • Comcast Tech> We are not allowed to bet, Chris.
  • chris > I will pay YOUR next month’s cable bill if you get this thing to reboot.
  • chris > …..still stuck….
  • chris > at Loading … .
  • Comcast Tech> Please let me know if the box turned off.
  • chris > it hasn’t turned off
  • chris > it never turns off unless I unplug it
  • chris > I haven’t unplugged it since you asked me to 5 minutes ago, but please trust me when I tell you that it’s not going to reboot on it’s own.
  • chris > it doesn’t respond to anything but the cold, hard tug of it’s little power cord
  • chris > *its*
  • chris > so, what do we do next Comcast Tech?
  • chris > I must tell you before you proceed with any further troubleshooting that I spoke with someone on the phone, don’t remember their name as I’ve talked to multiple people today; at any rate, they supposedly sent a super-duper-strong signal to the box. Then they told me to wait 45 minutes and to call back if I still didn’t have a tv signal.
  • chris > I’m beginning to think that that person was having one over on me.
  • chris > Serves me right for being optimistic.
  • chris > At any rate, I wanted to tell you that because if you were thinking of suggesting something similar, I would strongly advise against it.
  • chris > by the way, the box never turned off
  • chris > that xfinity logo is just staring back at me. as if mocking my very existence.
  • Comcast Tech> Alright, I understand. Since the box cannot be remotely rectify, you can swap the box at the local office or we can send a tech to check it.
  • chris > it’s peering into the darkest reaches of my soul as if it’s trying to tell me that I don’t deserve to pay an exorbitant amount of money to a monopoly for the privilege of watching television.
  • chris > send a tech!
  • chris > spare no expense!
  • chris > so long as it doesn’t cost me one thin dime.
  • Comcast Tech> Please be advised that the problem may be with inside wiring and a technician visit will be required. There might be also something wrong with the way it was installed. Depending on the cause of the issue, a charge for repairs may be applicable. The technician will make that determination after they have reviewed the situation. Would you like me to go ahead and schedule the technician?
  • chris > I have sandwiches and cold beer in the fridge for any intrepid technician who dares endeavor to resolve the apparently un-resolvable!
  • chris > yes, man, schedule a techincian
  • chris > if the technician attempts to charge me for anything, however, he will have to answer to my wife who is in a supremely bad mood?
  • chris > do you want to know why she is in a foul temper?
  • chris > I’m going to tell you anyway.
  • chris > because we just moved into a new apartment and I’ve wasted OVER 3 HOURS trying to get this damnable cable box working. OVER 1 HOUR of that was being left on hold for chrissakes!
  • chris > all the while, I was supposed to be helping her unpack boxes and move furniture around.
  • Comcast Tech> I can schedule the technician but since it the box was self installed, you may be charged $50, but again, if it is proven that the box is faulty, it will be removed.
  • chris > instead, I’ve been wasting my time with waterheaded fools who insist on asking me the same questions over and over and asking me to do the same things over and over.
  • chris > do you know what the definition of insanity is Comcast Tech?
  • chris > doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
  • chris > well, if there is a risk of ME being charge $50 for the ineptitude of others then forget it.
  • chris > I want nothing of that.
  • chris > why would I be willing to run the risk of being charged any sum for something that is clearly the fault of xfinity?
  • chris > all I did was pick up a cable box, plug it in, turn it on and stare at this LOADING screen for hours on end
  • chris > why would I be charged for that?
  • chris > do you take me for some kind of idiot?
  • chris > so, I propose we do this:
  • chris > send someone over with a replacement cable box
  • chris > that same person can watch me plug said cable box in
  • chris > if this cable box works, fantastic! Problem solved
  • chris > if it doesn’t, I send this tech packing and cancel my account with your fine company
  • chris > sound good, Comcast Tech?
  • Comcast Tech> We can send a replacement box thru UPS, but we do not have access on scheduling technicians to bring boxes. It will also cost shipping fees, you can request a tech to bring boxes over 1-888-739-1379.
  • chris > UPS?
  • chris > how long is that going to take?!?!?!?
  • Comcast Tech> It takes 3-5 days.
  • chris > unacceptable
  • chris > I require a tech here tomorrow to rectify this issue.
  • chris > are you unable to do that Comcast Tech?
  • Comcast Tech> The earliest schedule I can get is on February 2, 2013.
  • chris > then we are at something of an impasse
  • chris > you can not help me get my issue rectified by tomorrow, correct?
  • Comcast Tech> I am sorry that there is no available schedule for tomorrow.
  • chris > then is there anyone in your fine organization that can help me resolve this issue to MY satisfaction?
  • chris > anyone? Perhaps a supervisor or manager?
  • Comcast Tech> I am sorry for the inconvenience, Chris. I will be checking the supervisor for you.
  • chris > excellent!
  • chris > I’ll hold
  • Comcast Tech> I am sorry that the dates are update real time.
  • Comcast Tech> We can schedule the visit on February 2, 2013.
  • chris > again, I just told you that was unacceptable.
  • Comcast Tech> Alright.
  • chris > Let me ask you a question Comcast Tech. Have you ever been put on hold for over an hour and, when you finally get connected to someone, turns out they couldn’t help you with your issue? All this after spending two hours with techs such as yourself trying to get something as simple as a cable box connected?
  • Comcast Tech> May I please have a minute or two to check for the available supervisor?
  • chris > sure
  • chris > I’ll hold. I’ve gotten quite adept at holding thanks to xfinity
  • Comcast Tech> Yes, I have experienced that as well. I understand how you feel, Chris. We all just want to get what is best for what we pay for.
  • chris > if we get this solved by tomorrow I will pay my xfinity bill with an enthusiasm that I normally only reserved for vigorous sex or long bouts of drinking
  • Comcast Tech> Thank you for waiting.
  • Comcast Tech> Let me transfer you to my supervisor.
  • Comcast Tech> Is there anything else that I can address before I transfer this chat?
  • chris > thank you Comcast Tech. I want you to know that your intrepid spirit was appreciated! thank you and godspeed!
  • Comcast Tech> Thank you.
  • Comcast Tech> Please stay connected to the chat for a supervisor. Thank you for the time.
  • chris > thank you
  • Comcast Tech> You are most welcome.
  • Comcast Tech> Please wait, while the problem is escalated to another analyst
  • chris > My Issue: Attempting to activate my cable box; so far it has been a sad and regretful exercise in futility.
  • Comcast Supervisor> Thank you for contacting Comcast chat. Please allow me 2-3 minutes while I go through the conversation you had with Comcast Tech.
  • chris > take all the time you need Comcast Supervisor.
  • chris > may I call you Comcast Supervisor?
  • Comcast Supervisor> Thank you
  • Comcast Supervisor> Sure Chris
  • Comcast Supervisor> Thank you for staying online Chris.
  • Comcast Supervisor> I understand that you’re getting an error on your tv
  • chris > judging by the amount of time I’ve spent with you guys today, I have all the time in the world
  • chris > well, it’s just stuck at “loading” while the remote and data lights flash
  • Comcast Supervisor> Comcast Techdid some trouble shooting steps to resolve the issue.
  • Comcast Supervisor> Just to verify, is this a newly installed service?
  • chris > yes, and I appreciate the effort
  • chris > yes
  • chris > of which I am attempting to activate as per the instruction sheet I received with the cable box
  • Comcast Supervisor> I understand.
  • chris > the conclusion Comcast Techhas come to is that we have a faulty box on our hands
  • Comcast Supervisor> Let me double check the account
  • Comcast Supervisor> it is also possible that the Comcast connection in your new place is no longer active. But let me confirm it
  • Comcast Supervisor> Please allow me 2 more minutes
  • chris > so, setting aside the question of WHY xfinity would deliver to me a faulty piece of equipment; we need to get this resolved with an alacrity that I’m afraid you and yours are incapable of
  • chris > I have an internet connection if that helps answer your question about whether I have a comcast connection in my new place
  • chris > for you see, if I didn’t have an internet connection it would be quite impossible for me to be chatting with you right now
  • Comcast Supervisor> Yes Chris, I have checked the account and there’s still an active connection in your place. In this case, we need to replace the box and have a technician install it to physically check on the box as well.
  • Comcast Supervisor> For this, the earliest date that we have when Comcast Techchecked it earlier is Feb 2
  • chris > fine, tomorrow works for me
  • Comcast Supervisor> Let me process this for you. I will provide you with the ticket number
  • chris > hang on
  • chris > when will a tech be able to come?
  • chris > if it’s any later than tomorrow, I’m not interested
  • chris > i’ve already wasted enough time on this. I’m a busy man and have better things to do than to shuffle around my schedule waiting for a tech
  • Comcast Supervisor> will check on it Chris.I’ll update you
  • chris > ok
  • Comcast Supervisor> You’re welcome. Please stay online
  • chris > I am here Comcast Supervisor. Unwavering in my patience
  • chris > just like the unwavering xfinity logo staring back at me from my television set
  • chris > never changing
  • chris > as the tides roll in and roll out and the sun rises and sets
  • Comcast Supervisor> Chris, just to be sure, the error message is on your TV right?
  • chris > I and my xfinity logo will be here
  • chris > yes
  • Comcast Supervisor> Thank you
  • chris > my television reads: xfinity loading
  • chris > and there are 4 progress dots
  • chris > it gets stuck at the third
  • chris > and my poor little cable box has its remote and data lights flashing
  • Comcast Supervisor> still working on your schedule Chris, sorry for the delay
  • Comcast Supervisor> May I ask for a callback number Chris?
  • chris > verily!
  • chris > xxx-xxx-xxxx
  • Comcast Supervisor> Our technician will give you a call before the appointment
  • chris > when is the appointment?
  • Comcast Supervisor> Please hold on
  • chris > will do!
  • Comcast Supervisor> Please expect our technician on Feb 2 between 12nn-2pm
  • Comcast Supervisor> Here’s the confirmation number for your reference
  • Comcast Supervisor> 1000835451632027
  • chris > I will not expect a tech on february 2nd
  • chris > I’ve told you and your lackey that feb 2 is unacceptable
  • chris > If someone cannot be here tomorrow then cancel my order and account
  • Comcast Supervisor> Oh, I’m sorry
  • chris > I’ve had enough of this nonsense and will be not have any more of my time wasted
  • Comcast Supervisor> I overlooked that.
  • chris > do you maybe want to review this transcript again?
  • chris > scratch that, I’ve had enough.
  • chris > I’ll call in tomorrow and make the appropriate arrangements to end my business with your abominable company
  • chris > thank you for wasting my time and if the names of the other techs who attempted and failed to assist me in my quest to get cable television from a cable television company are in my ticket history, thank them as well.
  • Comcast Supervisor> I really apologize for the inconvenience Chris

playing with the GoPro Hero 3+.

"Can’t stop the dancing chicken"

In honor of Mr. Herzog’s 71st birthday.

Anticipation on Flickr.