August, 2010

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The Freezer, the Single Cook’s Best Friend

Monday, August 9th, 2010

Yup, I’m going to say that I won’t need to cook anything for a while…. I didn’t even know that I could actually get this much in there.

Full Freezer

4 small containers goulash (each serves 2)
4 small containers bolongnese sauce (each serves 2)
5 small containers Coq au vin (each serves 2)
2 large containers tikka-masala base (each serves 4)
1 large container chicken pot pie filling (serves 2 or 3)
1 bag spƤtzle (serves 2)
5 quart bags spanikopita
1 pan manicotti (serves 4)
(above all homemade)

1 package uncooked shrimp
3 packages scallops (x12 each)
2 filet mingon steaks
2 new york strip steaks
3 chicken breasts
4 hamburgers patties
1 package bacon
1 bag chicken tenders from Trader Joes

2 packages lobster ravioli
2 packages naan from Dosa Factory in Central Square
2 Dr. Oetker pizzas (the “emergency pizzas”)
1 package flatbread
1 package hamburger rolls
1 box puff pastry
1 bag french fries
1 package maultashen
1 box spinach
1 box peas
1 bag cranberries
1 container guacamole from Trader Joes (which freezes remarkably well)
1/2 package pinenuts

2 martini glasses
4 trays + half full bucket ice cubes

Yeah, like you needed to know this, right?

Technology bites me in the butt
(Alternative title: I hate Comcast.)

Thursday, August 5th, 2010

As many of you know, I am not a big fan of talking on the phone with people that I do not know (i.e. for the purpose of making appointments, making reservations, tech support, those sorts of things). I will find almost any and all ways to avoid it, which, thanks to technology, is easy enough to do, for the most part. There is always OpenTable for making reservations, email, chat, etc.

So, I need a new cable decoder card for my TiVo, so I logged into my account on Comcast and low-and-behond, they have a “chat option”. Perfect. Or so I thought. The following is the next 45 minutes of my life (thankfully, one can just keep the chat window open while one does work). The bolded things are either my commentary or general stage direction.

customer Kat has entered room
analyst Maria has entered room (yup, “Maria”)
Maria: Hello Kat, Thank you for contacting Comcast Live Chat Support. My name is Maria. Please give me one moment to review your information (at which point, I had not given her any information yet)
Maria: It is a pleasure to have you on chat! First of all, I apologize for whatever inconvenience the issue has caused you but I’ll be more than happy to resolve it for you. I hope you haven’t waited so long to be assisted. How’s your day so far?
Kat: Fine. I bought a new Tivo and need to schedule a tech to come out to install a CableCard. Can I do that via chat? (I ask this right up front, because if they can’t schedule it via chat — which might be the case — I will stop right now and make the dreaded call)
Maria: I am glad that you are doing fine to day.
Maria: I see here that you have on a request on scheduling a technician to install your cable card. Am I correct?
Kat: Yes, I need to schedule someone to install a cable card (didn’t I just say this?)
Kat: as soon as possible, please
Maria: I am happy to know that you are interested about this. Comcast values your business and your time today, thus we will resolve this issue to your delight in no time.
(3 or 4 minutes pass)
Maria: Do you mind if I check your account?
Kat: No problem.
Maria: Thank you.
Maria: To ensure the integrity of your account information, can I please have the Full Account Name? Also, please provide me your 16 digit account number and the last 4 digitis of your SSN.
Kat: Well, my full name is Katja Suletzki.
Kat: here is my account number: 8773XXXXXXXXXXXX, my SSN confirmation is XXXX
Maria: Thank you for the information that you have given me
Kat: address is 40 springfield st somerville, ma 02143
Maria: Thank you for that additional information.
Maria: Can you give me 2 minutes to pull up your account?
Kat: sure
Maria: Thank you so much.
(at least 5 minutes pass)
Maria: Are you doing well today?
Kat: yes, fine.
Maria: While waiting for your account to pull up, I will share you a feature of Comcast that you can truly benefit. Are you aware that Comcast is introducing XFINITY?
Kat: yes, I have heard. Really though, I don’t need to be upsold. I just need to know when a tech can be here
Maria: I am glad that you are aware if Xfinity.
Maria: XFINITY is the new brand of Comcast ‘s technology platform, products, and services: XFINITY TV, XFINITY Voice, XFINITY Internet and XFINITY Triple Play or XFINITY bundled services. XFINITY marks the beginning of a whole new era of innovation and change for Comcast. We’re transforming the customer experience and giving you more choices, more convenience and more control over your entertainment, information and communication needs. To know more about XFINITY, go to XFINITY.com/home.
(another 8 minutes pass)
Maria: Thank you for waiting.
Maria: I already have your account. (“already”? wow, 8 minutes to pull up my account? Comcast “valuing my time” my ass)
Maria: I will now schedule a technician to install your cable card.
Kat: thanks
Maria: You are most welcome.
(5 more minutes)
Maria: I apologize for the delay.
Maria: While waiting, may I ask if you have other concerns for today?
Kat: none (what I felt like writing was something to the effect of “world peace, abject poverty in Africa, the condition of the water in the gulf of Mexico because of the BP oil well, the probable nuclear missles in Iran and North Korea”, but I didn’t)
Maria: Alright, please stay online while I process your request
(10 minutes – literally – go by)
Maria: Kat, may I ask how are you doing today?
Kat: You already did. twice.
Maria: I apologize for my mistake.
Kat: no problem. How much longer?
(no reply for 4 minutes)
Maria: I am still processing it. Please give me another 3 minutes to complete the process. Thank you.
(5 minutes)
Maria: kat, would you like 08/07 between 8am-11am to have your cable card installed?
Kat: sure
Maria: Perfect. I will now schedule it for you.
Kat: great. thank you
Maria: No problem.
(4 minutes)
Maria: May I have your contact number so that the technicain can call you 10 minutes before the appointment?
Kat: 617-623-1923
(8 minutes)
Kat: so, are we done? Do I need a confirmation number or anything?
(2 minutes)
Maria: I apologize for the delay Kat.
Kat: no problem, are we done?
(3 minutes)
Maria: However,there has been an error while I am scheduling a technician to install your cable card. I apologize for the wait
Kat: ok. so what still needs to be done?
(nothing for 5 minutes)
Maria: In order to have your cable card installed, please call your nearest local office.
Kat: What? after 45 minutes you tell me this?
(3 minutes)
Kat: are you still there?
(no reply)
Kat: ??
Kat: fine
Kat: whatever
(2 minutes) (at this point, I should have just given up)
Maria: I apologize for the inconvenience Kat
Kat: Is this something that you knew you couldn’t schedule or some sort of error in your computer system or what is the issue?
Maria: I apologize for the inconvenience Kat
Kat: I need your full name and some sort of ID number from you. I think that it is mildly unfair that you kept me here for 45 minutes and now can’t do this? Is it just a computer glitch?
Maria: I can’t tell you that.
Kat: You can’t tell me if this is a computer glitch?
Maria: I apologize but I am not able to provide you any of my personal information. However, I can provide you my ID number. It is 100459555.
Kat: Thank you
Maria: I apologize for the inconvenience
Kat: I find it slightly odd that I gave you my name, my telephone number, where I live and my SSN confirmation number and apparently a last name is too much to ask. Seems like a lack of accountability on your behalf. You apologize a lot but it would have been better customer service just to help me.
(Kat logs off chat)

Yup, 45 or so minutes. Of course, I still need the decoder card so I do end up calling… Total elapsed time of the phone call? 4 minutes and 21 seconds.

Guess that taught me, huh?