Holding My Breath in Anticipation that AT&T UVerse Works — This Time

Dear Readers:

I am pleased to report that AT&T communicated well with me this morning, sending a text stating that today is the day for your repair…then a phone call from the technician stating he would be at the house within 20 minutes. He was scheduled between the hours of 12-4pm. He arrived a few minutes before 12, which was great!

The technician – I think his name was Mike, was most professional, walked inside, got to work to inspect and solve the problem. Apparently the phone and modem were connected together and at times I suppose they ‘over communicated.’ Don’t ask me. I’m a writer, not a computer technician. When I have difficulties with my computers, I contact my husband.

No, my husband did not connect our UVerse. That was performed while I was so sick, and I could not even describe who came to our home then. My husband was home — attempting to take care of a most sick wife, the psychotic babies that live here — our pups, and he had to be here to let the installer for UVerse inside the house. I do recall they had to install fiber optics, and the rest is a total fog.

All I know is that installation and UVerse is when the problems started. In December, I recall attempting to use the landline phone only to discover it was ‘dead.’ I didn’t call about that. You must remember, during that time, I was useless to everyone — especially to myself. So happy that I am well now, and let us hope UVerse is well.

I look over at the modem, all the green lights are working, and there appears to be a gray box just a bit from it. Also, we have a new phone jack now, so the phone can be connected – apart from the modem.

Don’t ask me the details! All I truly care about is that my landline phone appears to be working — for now. I’ll not have confidence in it until I use it to call my dearest friend in North Carolina. Every time we attempted to chat recently, either the phone would make a noise, or her voice would fade away – only to return mid sentence. I lost all confidence in UVerse then, especially when I would disconnect, to phone her again — only to either get a loud ‘fax’ noise, a bunch of busy signals, or a recording that her phone was no longer working. Duh! Do they think I have no intelligence and actually believe these recordings? Her phone was working only moments ago, when I phoned her! I suppose all of this technology is computer generated, so who knows if the problems are solved.

As for me — I do hope the problems and headaches I’ve tolerated with AT&T UVerse and ‘bundling’ are resolved. I want to be a nice person on the phone — not someone who wishes she could slip her hands inside the phone system to choke the next customer service rep I spoke with. My hats go off to AT&T customer service reps. They are always so courteous to me. I was to the point that if one more of them said to me, “Yes, Ms. Cooper, I understand your frustration and I am here to resolve it for you…’ I was about ready to let the monster raging inside of me go on the attack — and I am not a violent person! ‘Calm down, Barbie. Inhale. Exhale. Breathe in. Breathe out!’ Sometimes yoga and meditation makes one want to do fooling things! ‘Inhale. Exhale.’ There. I feel better now, while I chew on my fingernails — something I never do!

So, let us hope the headaches with AT&T UVerse are resolved and I’ll not have to see any more technicians come to my home.

I think the beach is calling my name, or perhaps walking the bridge again — with one exception –it is so brisk and windy today, I doubt I could do either, and so I write…and I attempt to get the clutter from my office area demolished, shredded, or packed away.

Hello, AT&T — thank you so much for your customer service today. Let us hope this chapter of my life is closed so I may adventure into some fun and relaxing adventures!

I am so ready for some fun!


Hello, Readers:

Yes, it is me. Barbie Perkins-Cooper –once again stepping into the shoes of Julia Sugarbaker to inform my reading public about AT&T UVerse!

IF you are even considering ‘hooking up’ with AT&T for ‘bundling’ or UVerse think twice. I have been on the phone with them AGAIN after my landline UVerse went out again.

Now, I have an additional credit on my phone. Whoopee!

Tomorrow, dispatch is scheduled to visit my home again — oh joy — just like they were scheduled last week and failed to show because “Dispatch was cancelled since AT&T is having technical problems.” I let them know they better show this time, or they will deal with me once again, and this time — well, Hell have no fury like a woman scorned! And Yes, I have caps on in this paragraph for a reason — I am so annoyed.

How I wish my husband had not decided to switch to the ‘bundling with AT&T while I was so sick. That is something I can’t change, but I can certainly let my readers know about my experience.

Hello, AT&T — yes, this is Barbie Perkins-Cooper, reporting once again about the disservice I am getting with your new toy — UVerse! Why don’t you fix it? I am sick of calling you daily to report “my phone or Internet doesn’t work — AGAIN!

What ever happened to customer service in America? At least AT&T customer service reps handle the situation well.

Let’s just say — the Julia Sugarbaker in me kicked in again — and this time, she is ramming the newsstand just to get her point across!

I can only imagine how many landline business calls I am missing since UVerse chose to have these ridiculous problems again. This is getting to be a daily adventure for me.

Readers, stay tuned! The adventures of UVerse is coming to a city near you. Let us hope and pray you have a landline and an Internet that really works! I don’t like working or playing with ‘big boy toys,’ and that is all that UVerse is. If I had to critique it or grade it — it would get a BIG F. On a scale of 1 to 10 with ten being the absolutely worst — AT&T gets 10, and that is not good!

AT&T are you listening?

Hello, AT&T UVerse — Are You Listening???

How am I doing this morning, questions Facebook. Are you certain you want an answer, FB? OK — here goes. Got up early after battling sleep – tired, but ready to check e-mail and surf the net for research purposes. You’ll never guess what I discovered! The wonderful — ever so dependable (NOT) DEPENDABLE — more like Pony Express dependability— UVERSE is not working AGAIN! I did all the diagnostic testing I could do. I phoned the catalog of phone numbers I am collecting — using my IPhone since the ever dependable land line is NOT WORKING AGAIN!

By the time I connect with a rep, I am touched by her professional mannerism and ability to assist someone who is more like a displeased Julia Sugarbaker than the classy lady I always prefer being. You must understand — this is at least the sixth or seventh time I’ve dealt with these issues in the past week, and that does not include the days of no phone service when I was so sick — during December and early January. During those weeks, my head was a fog of illness and no one wanted to speak with me! Trust me, I am not a nice Steel Magnolia when I’m sick! Just don’t cross my path!

Since we’ve had so many issues with UVerse, I supposedly have a credit on my UVerse bill, although I haven’t received the bill yet. Shouldn’t I be compensated for my time. Aren’t my skills, frustrations and professionalism worthy? Maybe not. I’m still just a bit P-O’d!

For now, if someone asked me how I liked the ‘bundling plan’ with AT&T, I would say — RUN don’t walk away, and don’t EVEN consider bundling. Just cancel your landline and be thankful for cell phones!

If someone asked me how I liked UVerse…I would probably step into the shoes of Julia Sugarbaker and say —

“How do I like UVerse? You are truly asking me for my opinion of how I like UVerse?”

“Well…let’s just say, UVerse appears to take a landline to a part of the Universe that has only barbarian lifestyles and not the lifestyle I am accustomed to living in the Twenty-first Century! UVerse appears to not work, more than it works…and when you book an appointment for dispatch to come to your home, while you wait…and Wait…anD WAIT…when you finally call them after waiting for four hours, you are told that “there have been a few problems within the Southeast, and all dispatch was cancelled for today…”

Not even the courtesy of a phone call? No one had the decency to phone? “Not even an intern? Excuse me, I thought this was the computer era, where computers generate telephone calls to us during intimate hours…during hours where we are sitting with our families having dinner…during additional hours where we are attempting to relax, take a refreshing bath, or during times when we simply want privacy…and now you tell me that no one had the decency to phone my cell phone to let me know that NO ONE is coming to my home today, to repair these issues? My phone is still dead. Thank God I have a cell phone…Do I make myself clear, AT&T?”

This morning, I was so ready for them, but when the nice, courteous, professional customer service rep spoke, my demeanor changed — immediately. I suppose it is true, and I have practiced this all of my life — “Kill with kindness.”

AT&T has truly pushed my buttons lately, while I still collect e-mails with instructions of what to do — those e-mails failed to work this morning. Resetting the modem three times before calling failed to work…and I am supposed to be kind?

And I ask you, UVerse, how is it that when I finally get the right person to speak with, she directs me to ‘reset the modem…’

My reply, “I’ve done that three times so far. It hasn’t worked.”

“Let’s try it once more.”

OK — I place the cell phone down. Disconnect the modem, count to ten, and then to fifteen, reconnect the modem, and the bloody thing decides to work. I check the speaker of my land line…It works.

OK — so let’s face it. Phones were created by Alexander Graham Bell — a man. Computers were created by a male dominated population, and of course, if you ask “Gore” the Internet was created by him. So, it’s obvious…this type of technology doesn’t like women!

Who cares, I say — at least the stupid technology is working for now. How Long? Good question…maybe I’ll ask a man to respond, just to see how he will react.

On second thought –maybe I’ll get a nice cup of coffee, read the local newspaper — The Post and Courier, and look for the typos and grammar imperfections! Now, that’s an idea!


Sears — Customer Services for Appliance Repairs — NEEDS MAJOR IMPROVEMENT!

Last week, I fought with my Kenmore front load washing machine for much too long. I kept getting an “OE” error. I followed the instructions to the letter, cleaning the dust and lint from the areas suggested; nevertheless, each time I tried to use the machine it refused to drain or spin. My husband, a computer engineer, checked the unit too — several times! Reluctantly, I phoned the toll-free number to request repair service.

When I finally got a person on the phone, he apologized and performed what he needed to do to book a date for my dilemma. I confess, I was expecting to hear that a service person could be out soon. What I got was a shock to me! My history with Sears hasn’t been a good one, starting with their lack of professionalism and delivery etiquette when I purchased my Samsung French door refrigerator from Sears. Silly me, I thought Sears would adhere to the customer service they practiced many years ago, when my parents and grandparents only purchased items from Sears. Yes, like all things in life, Sears has changed — not necessarily for the better! Those who follow my blog probably remember the issues I had with the delivery of my refrigerator. It got so bad that the customer service rep that resolved the problems stated he would send me a $100 gift card for my grievance with them. Funny, that gift card never arrived!

Back to the phone conversation I had to schedule my washing machine repair. After holding on the phone for a bit, the customer service rep returned, telling me that ‘the first available date for someone to come to my home to check the washer would be Wednesday, January 23, 2013’ — exactly eight days away!

I gasped. “Eight days?” You mean to tell me I must wait eight days to get someone here to check and drain the washing machine? Eight days to have soaking, sopping laundry on my floor since it cannot spin the water out or drain? Eight days? Totally unacceptable!”

Without a doubt, my Julia Sugarbaker style was kicking in!

“Excuse me,” I said. “Do you not understand my situation? I have water on my laundry room floor from clothing I had to personally ring out with my hands, just to get it ready to throw into the dryer. Eight days is not acceptable. Something must be done!”

“Sorry, but we have no appointments in your area until eight days from now.”

Furious, I asked for a supervisor. No surprise there — no one was available.

“Then you must have additional phone numbers I can call.”

He shared two phone numbers. To say the least, Sears and I were not seeing eye-to-eye and I was ready to have my way with them — most diplomatically, Julia Sugarbaker style! When will Sears learn? You do not mess with a Steel Magnolia and when we, the customers purchase items, we are always encouraged to purchase additional warranties. For what — I ask you? For the customer to be inconvenienced until a ‘technician is in my area?’

The next morning, I had two cups of coffee, ready and able to share my thoughts with Sears. No doubt, I was not hanging up until someone assisted me with a suitable appointment — not eight days away!

The first phone call begins:

“Hello, Sears. Yes, this is Barbie Perkins-Cooper. I have purchased many appliances through Sears, with exception of my stove. Yesterday my front loading washer refused to drain and spin so I requested service. I was told that the “earliest available appointment in my area would be on January 23 — eight days from now.” This is totally unacceptable and I need someone to reschedule for today, or at the latest tomorrow.”

I was put on hold — then the phone disconnected!

This scenario continued for four phone calls — each time I got a new person and had to play my speech over and over again. Each time, I was disconnected and no one had the courage or customer service skills to return the phone call. There was no acceptable excuse there because each rep had my phone number!

The fifth time I phoned, my nerves were really frazzled. “Yes, hello, Sears. I hope your day is going well because this is the fifth time I’ve phoned to reschedule an appointment to repair my washer, and EACH TIME I’ve been placed on hold then disconnected. Please do not suggest that you need to place me on hold. If I have to phone again – I will probably seek additional means to resolve this issue. Sears, do I make myself clear?

The customer service rep apologized for my lack of service and said she would see how she could please me today. I laughed.

“Please me? Let’s just resolve the issues. I need my washer serviced and I will not accept that it will be eight days before a service technician can get to me. I was told that “there was no appointment in my area now. Again, I say, this is totally unacceptable!”

The conversation continued, but this time the customer service rep was a bit more understanding.

“I do need to place you on hold to see what I can do.”

“Oh please! I’ll just be disconnected again — for the fifth time!”

Reluctantly, I held — the phone clicked — disconnected for the fifth time.”

Now, I was really — do I say it — no, I think I’ll still be diplomatic, only this time if I have to go to the highest Sears tower, I will get my Way!!!

I redialed the phone number. My phone clicked with call waiting. I answered. The customer service rep was calling me — the first one to have such customer service skills.

Immediately she apologized, then she said she had found ‘a technician in my area and he could be at my home today!’

Imagine that! Sears was mistaken when they said there was ‘no appointment in my area until eight days from now.’ Were they lying to me? I think so! Rule number one of customer service skills — never lie to or deceive a customer! It’s a pity that Sears does not practice what they preach, nor do they provide the warranty customer service they always push on the customer — of course, for an additional fee!

I thanked “Aver, the customer service rep,” and I waited for the technician to arrive. Within fifteen minutes, Greg, a Sears Blue Service Crew Technician arrived. He examined my washer, discovering that the pump was clogged with sand. He cleaned it, drained the water and was on his way to the next customer in less than one hour.

Imagine that! I cannot help being curious to customers who do accept Sears customer service, along with ‘scheduled appointments in the area.’ Perhaps the customer service reps are programmed to schedule with inconvenience in mind. Perhaps they do not anticipate someone refusing to accept these comments and schedules. Perhaps Sears does not remember that Southern belles still exist, and I am not one. Southern belles might accept whatever Sears expresses. Steel magnolias — and I am most definitely described as a Steel Magnolia, do not accept this type of behavior. We sit back, think and reevaluate, while knowing that this type of customer service is not acceptable — and then — we get even, refusing to be pushed aside. We, the Steel Magnolias of the Twenty-First Century, do all that we can to get our way — not because we want to be selfish or demanding — we want to be treated like we are preferred customers. We are accustomed to being treated with respect, because we deserve it and demand it. The Julia Sugarbaker Steel Magnolia knows how to be diplomatic, charming, and ever so ever determined to get what we deserve. As for Sears, we deserve preferred customer service where we are treated with respect. While it took a bit of persuasion with Sears, I did achieve my goals, never doubting that something couldn’t be done. The excuse/fabrication/lie of “There is no appointment in your area until…”
was truly something I was not promised when I made my purchases. Just what would happen to the customer who has a refrigerator that is not working. Would they actually be told that it would take ‘eight days’ to get it repaired?

Sears — you really need to improve your customer service.

Later that afternoon, while washing laundry, I got an e-mail from Sears. A survey! Oh, let’s just say, Julia Sugarbaker truly kicked in. My motto is, if you do not want my opinion — do not ask! Let’s just say, the survey I completed — on a scale of 1 – 10, with 10 being the worst — Sears flunked — BIG TIME!

“Hello, Sears, yes…this is Barbie Perkins-Cooper reporting about your service…You failed!”

Regarding the technician — Greg — he was fabulous! He is a Sears Blue Service Crew Technician. The back of his card reads:

“Tell us how the crew did:

1. Did we treat your home with care? YES

2. Did we treat you as a valued customer? YES

3. Did we explain the cost and repair? There was no cost — I still have a paid warranty, but he did explain the repair.

4. Did we look and act professional? YES

5. Die we offer other products/services?  I IMAGINE HE WAS FOREWARNED ABOUT THE CUSTOMER — AND HER TENACITY!

6. Did we provide service you’d recommend?” NO. ABSOLUTELY NOT UNTIL JULIA SUGARBAKER SPOKE.

On the phone, I shared that I would never buy another product from Sears. It isn’t worth the hassle!

I have no faith in Sears anymore, especially after they promised to ‘send me a $100 gift card for the inconvenience of getting my refrigerator delivered” — I think it was two or three years ago. Perhaps that gift card was sent via pony express since Sears customer service refuses to move into the Twenty-first Century!


My Apologies For the New Year and Beyond!

To those who read my blog on a regular basis, I would like to apologize for being a bit slack during November and December. My goal is to post on a regular basis, especially about subjects that get under my skin, or subjects I find newsworthy.

Since late October, I have been ill and that is why I haven’t been writing on a regular basis. If you are my readers, I do hope you will choose to return when I post on a regular basis.

To date, I’m hesitant to say I am getting well. It seems that every time I said that during the three months mentioned, I would only get worse again. I was diagnosed with ‘possible walking pneumonia – perhaps,’ only to get worse after taking the Z-pack. Returning to another doctor, I was diagnosed with ‘extreme congestion –deep in the bronchial tubes.’ According to this doctor I did not have pneumonia — yet! Thank goodness this doctor had the intelligence to request a chest x-ray. After another expensive batch of prescribed medications, I do appear to be improving; nevertheless, I am extremely weak. Walking around downtown Charleston today has left me completely exhausted and normally I can walk without exhaustion.

So, my faithful readers, I do hope you will continue visiting my blog and as soon as I am able to work with a bit of strength again, I will keep you supplied with newsworthy topics, issues that ‘get under my skin’ and other details, from a writer’s perspective. Meanwhile, I wish you a wonderful, healthy and prosperous New Year, 2013. It is unfortunate that my year has started with such illness. For now, I am moving forward in hopes all in Charleston, SC will stop getting so ill with viruses, the flu and other germs that I certainly do not wish to breathe or catch. I’ve had enough illness to last a while. Let us all toast the new year with health and positive thoughts!

Through the Eyes of Love

To those who read my blog on a regular basis, you will know what an advocate I am for animals, especially Schnauzers. This week has taught me how blessed I am to have such kind and loving animals. My oldest mini-Schnauzer is not a rescue. We adopted him from friends who had a pregnant schnauzer ready to give birth. On the day they were born, we visited to select  our baby. As I touched each of the precious three that were available, one in particular responded with a sweet moan when I touched his ears. The family had named him Piglet since he was the biggest of the babies. Six weeks later, we brought Sir Shakespeare Hemingway home. Like most schnauzers, he is protective of me, territorial and nourishing of his mommy. This week has proven that! As you know, I’ve been sick off and on since October. Getting weaker this week, I went back to a new medical care facility — NASON MEDICAL CARE. I highly recommend them! Two days ago, Shakespeare had enough of gating in the kitchen area. When I told him to go in the gate, he refused and darted towards my bedroom. There, he stayed. Refusing to move. He wanted to care for his Mommy! He remained by my side all day, until my husband came home. He simply refused to leave me alone. Licking my hands (something he rarely does) he looked into my eyes, as if to say, “Mommy, I’ll take care of you”, then he raised his body toward me to hug. Tightly, his little paws went around my neck, hugging me for a long time while looking in my eyes. We were communicating. I could feel the power of his love and his fear that something was really wrong with his mommy.  Every day since, he hasn’t left my side. Always there while I am coughing a dreadful cough that appears to come from the tips of my toes to the top of my head. A cough that feels like I am fighting desperately to grasp just one more breath of life. When I struggle weakly to walk into the kitchen for water and coffee, Shakespeare is beside me. He waits and watches for me. He doesn’t ask for a treat. The look in his eyes is a serious look — ‘Mommy are you Ok? What can I do to help you get well?’

All of this unconditional love from a dog some would say. Well, if you’ve never experienced it, you haven’t a clue what you are missing. Animals have a way of communicating with those who love them and are connected to them. While writing this, Shakespeare is resting by my feet. When I cough, he lifts his head to look at me. When I pat him on the head, he lays his head down, understanding that for now, I am OK. Such unconditional love is so strong. I am so blessed to have such a kind, loving mini-Schnauzer that wants to share his life with me.

This week as I battled for strength, I have learned it is OK to allow my husband to care for me. This illness has gone on for much too long. As a hard-headed, opinionated woman it is difficult to ask my husband for help, especially when he offers it. Something he doesn’t normally do; nevertheless, I have learned that I cannot always be the tower of strength looking over my loved ones. Sometimes I need to allow others to care for me, regardless. This lingering illness actually scared me as I continued to flop my body onto the bed, weak, afraid and sometimes alone since my husband was working. I’ve never been in this position before — where I was too weak to cook a meal, too weak to sort and wash laundry and too weak to vacuum the house. In all reality, I was almost to the point of too weak to breath. Yes, this week I learned, from the powerful caring eyes of a canine, that others really care about me, and it is ok to reach out to accept their love. Lessons learned, through the eyes of love — my precious Sir Shakespeare Hemingway and the generosity of a husband who is not exactly domesticated, but loving me enough to learn. Happy 2013!