Two of my important service providers constantly conspire to wind me up - Verizon with cell phone and internet, and Direct TV. Somewhere they maintain a schedule alerting them that it is time to mess with me. Usually I have to dedicate the better part of one day a week to get service fixed or straighten out a bill.
Sunday it was Direct TV's turn. I came in and showered after a very tiring day of hand-hauling trash from the barn to the dumpster. Then I plopped down in front of the television and kicked back in preparation to watch PBS's current stellar Sunday night line-up: Last Tango in Halifax, Endeavour, and Vicious. (PBS here is generally awful, but Sunday nights will be an exception to that rule for the next few weeks.)
I was very anxious to see those three programs. I had worked exceedingly hard all week and I deserved to see those programs. And, for the fifty-plus dollars that I pay Direct TV every month for a package that does not include any premium channels, I had paid handsomely for the privilege of seeing those programs.
So I turned on the television - and nothing happened. I could see the schedule box, so I knew that the problem wasn't my television. I had one hour to get the situation sorted out before I started missing my shows.
I telephoned Direct TV and answered questions from their answering machine for about ten minutes. Finally my civil answers began to take on a tinge of anger, and I started answering all questions with "Speak to Human Being." Eventually, Human Being came on the line. A sweet lady told me how sorry she was that I was experiencing problems with my television service. Then she began to carefully lead me through diagnostics.
A few minutes later, after a dozen or so possibly maladies had been eliminated, she asked me about the small box on the cable behind the television. As I was struggling to stand on my head so that I could get the information she required, the telephone line went dead.
So, fifteen minutes later I got another Human Being on the phone - and she, of course, could not connect me with the first one. I regurgitated all that had already been done and finally got her up to speed. Okay, she said, unplug the service and plug it back in. As I teetered on the verge of having a stroke, I told her that I would have to sit the phone down because this action would require moving a very large piece of furniture.
Oh, she said, don't go to all that trouble. Just push the red button on the satellite control box. I did that, the television shut off and then rebooted, and then I had my television service back. I tuned in to Last Tango in Halifax as the opening credits were running.
My question: Why couldn't we have begun the process with "Just push the red button?"
Direct TV, you suck - and so does Verizon!