Escaping Tech Support

“In order to serve customers better, we’ve discontinued technical support.”  So says Ted, the Generic Guy, in Scott Adams’ cartoon, Dilbert.  I sometimes wonder if there isn’t an element of this type of thing in real life on the part of some providers. 

While I was trying to get back to a movie on TV recently, the screen indicated this message: “A problem occurred while playing this item.  Try again later, or select a different item.  Go to [the provider’s online support address] for more information.” 

First, I did the easy thing.  I tried again later.  Much later.  Like the next day.  (It wasn’t a great movie.)  The message was still there, so I obtained the instructions off the computer and went back to the TV.

The instructions given listed a number of steps to follow.  On the TV menu, go to Settings.  OK, easy enough.  Done.  Select General.  Hey, this is great.  Done.  Select Network…  That’s where it all ended.  There was no Network option.  Anywhere.  Nothing on the screen even came close.  How often do we all run across this type of scenario?

Another way to get technical support, of course, is by phone.  While you’re waiting, you get to hear a recorded voice or a piece of music over and over.  “We apologize for the delay.  Your call is important to us.  Please wait on the line and your call will be answered in priority sequence…  We apologize for the delay…”  Thirty minutes of recorded apologies is too long, even for a Canadian.  The music that you are forced to listen to can be equally alienating.  The alternative is to have silence, in which case you have no idea whether or not you are still connected.  “Hello?  HELLO?  Oh…  sorry…  I thought we were disconnected…”            

You won’t need any tech support to listen to the following piece of music.  There are no delays, no announcements and no apologies.  All you do is click on the icon and you’ll hear “Chopsticks II,” as it might have come into being on a gorgeous Caribbean island.  It should make you forget about tech support altogether.