Cardella: An Xfinity Tale

So, last week I wrote about me and my BP. This week’s column deals with one of the most significant reasons for high blood pressure — Xfinity. Before you’re forced to spend hours on the phone with Xfinity, you may as well double your BP medicine and order a new blood pressure machine. A little background is in order.

I have two Xfinity accounts. One is for the cable service in our apartment. The other is cable for service in my son’s apartment. The two accounts are separate. They’re billed separately. Both bills are in my name. They are mailed to my address. I have never missed a payment on either account. I’m not seeking a medal for paying on time. All I ask is that in return I receive some competent service from Xfinity. All I ask from you, dear reader, is that while you read this column, you’ll keep in mind my high blood pressure. And say a little prayer for me — with apologies to Hal David and Burt Bacharach.

Last week it was decided that we could save some money by dropping Xfinity service at one apartment. So I called Xfinity. Talked to Paul. Asked him to confirm that my service would NOT be affected. Paul confirmed the correct account would be disconnected. My service was to remain intact.

So it was that one morning last week, I was awakened by the ringing of my landline phone. I did what I always do best. I let my wife answer it. It turned out that despite my phone call to Xfinity the day before, they were in the process of cutting off my service.

It was the beginning of a six-and-a-half-hour phone call, if you count time consumed during multiple disconnections. There were to be additional mysterious disconnections along the way. A thought occurred to me. Why should I keep Comcast’s phone service when they can’t keep their own calls from dropping?

Here’s the setting. I was on an extension while my wife Fran used the main phone. Fran has a ritual that she insists upon. She asks the Xfinity rep her name and where she’s calling from. This inevitably leads into a discussion about what the weather is like in the rep’s city of origin and sometimes digresses into a comparison of charter versus public schools.

I can’t sugar coat it. During the next several hours, my wife played Luke Skywalker. Xfinity was Darth Vader. I merely concentrated on keeping my blood pressure from exploding. My wife raised her voice to a level that would’ve been too high for a Metropolitan Opera tryout. Her creative use of profanity rivaled a longshoreman’s. She was a profane Valkyrie. An avenging angel. Beth on YELLOWSTONE. She refused to accept the phony politeness on the other end. The phone call morphed into a serene moment of surrender by Xfinity with my wife demanding a year’s worth of free cable, a sizable reimbursement personally delivered from Brian Roberts and substantial shares in the cable company.

Then our phone rang again. A different Xfinity agent was on the phone. A man named Jake (how did my wife resist asking him what he was wearing?). The first agent had apparently been banished to an abandoned island off the coast of France. Jake failed to improve the situation and soon he, too, was disconnected. Hmmm? Yet another call ensued. Forgive me if I have forgotten the name of the woman who replaced Jake. During this call, both sides showed signs of weariness. The woman asked that we verify the serial numbers on both our modem and the two cable boxes. There was a slight problem.

We have the modem and one of the cable boxes situated in such a way that we must move heavy furniture to get to them. At this point, Fran exploded like a NASA rocket in heat. She rose up on her toes and demanded a visit from an Xfinity technician, after insisting that he be “fully vaccinated.” It was at this point that I finally made my presence felt. I hitched up my jeans — I look remarkably like Kevin Costner in YELLOWSTONE when I do that. Checked my desktop computer and — wonder of wonders – I had internet service. In my living room, our TV came alive. The bedroom TV came on just as my wife found a new profanity to hang on Brian Roberts. I motioned to her to get off the phone while we were ahead. Everything was working again. Suddenly, her latest phone call with Xfinity was dropped again before she could tell them everything was fixed.

It was the following day. My wife was getting ready to call Xfinity again. She wanted compensation for yesterday’s fiasco. I delayed putting in my hearing aids. Alas — at that moment we discovered that our landline service was out. So was our internet. And so were our two TVs. Magically, a new Comcast day was immediately upon us. This experience was getting to feel like we were doing the Stations of the Cross.

My wife was on the phone with Xfinity. We thought the new rep introduced herself as “Kevin.” “No, my name is Heaven,” she said, “you know where God lives.” Who says Xfinity doesn’t have a sense of irony? A pleasant conversation ensued between Fran and Heaven. It turns out Heaven was located in the Philippines, not really where God lives. There was some discussion about the quality of the sugar crop in those islands these past few years. Fran finally negotiated a reasonable deal for compensation.

That was not the end of the story. Two days later, the premium channels we were paying for went dark. It took me three more hours to resolve the problem. This time the Xfinity rep saved me some money over my original bill.

The entire process took the better part of four days. And heavenly intervention.