ready, set, rant!

It has been a bloody long time since I have made an entry into this blog. My French Euro Trip series has been abandoned with 3 days to spare. Any enthusiasts can see the rest of the photos in my Facebook album. If you’re not my Facebook friend, then I probably do not want to share any more of the details of the trip with you, anyway. 😉

So the subject of this post is, quite simply, “rant”. A number of things have annoyed me in the last few days so I have decided that instead of keeping them all in my head, I will transfer them over to teh interwebs where they will stay published forever (or until a server crashes, or I delete it, or something). Without further ado, let the bashing begin!

1. Satellite TV in general, DirecTV in particular

I know satellite TV is still this kinda new thing (yeah, right) and I was excited to see all the discounts I could get on a new DirecTV installation. So, last week, I finally decided to take the plunge on getting TV in my apartment and signed up for a DirecTV account. I think it was actually around 10 days ago. I was able to get about $21 off on their “new user” discounts in addition to a $10 discount for using a referral code from someone at NI. So I was saving a sweet $31 a month for 12 months, and getting TV at about $40/month. Or rather, going to get all this. Of the several appointment days available, I decided to choose the Saturday 8am-12pm slot, since I was gonna be at work the rest of the time.

My first mistake, perhaps? Turns out Saturday is a super-busy day (who woulda thunk it?). So naturally, DirecTV’s local field office should have been a little bit better staffed, right? Wrong. Pity me, who woke up at 8am, excited for the smell of new TV. It wasn’t until 12.15pm that I felt miffed enough to call and when I called, I was told I would be called within 20 minutes. I received a call from the local office to confirm that a technician was present. I told them quite curtly that there was no technician present, while reminding her that it was already 30 minutes past my rather-large-time-range appointment. She said she’d call back in 20 minutes but only a fool’d believe her. I was a fool.

Luckily I was able to get a lot of stuff done in the mean time, such as getting a “permission form” signed from Riata that allowed me to get a satellite in my patio, as well as getting some batteries from the Food Mart nearby and figuring out a rent check error with Riata. I also figured out rent/expenses issues with Hubert at that point.

Still nothing. I called DirecTV again at around 1.30pm and asked them, in kinder terms, “What the hell?” They told me they’d get in touch with their local office again (with whom their only method of communication happens to be, wait for it, …. email). This time the local office called me, apologetically, saying that the technician was late (no, shit!) and that he’d be there in 35 minutes. I got some other errands done and finally the technician arrived.

And after waiting for more than 5 hours for him, our meeting lasted less than 5 minutes. Apparently the satellites are located in the “southern sky” whereas our patio can only see satellites in, well, the rest of the freaking sky. So, no DirecTV. I called and cancelled and checked Dish Network’s availability. Looks like they used to be in the “northern sky”, which would have been perfect, but they are now operating in the “southeastern sky” area. So no Dish. So… no satellite. Humph. I have sold my soul to AT&T (see next gripe).

2. AT&T U-Verse: An arm and a leg for TV

After my failure with satellite and my ever-growing appetite for television (in particular, trash TV) I decided to look at my options. Basically it was down to the two “cable”-esque providers: Time Warner Cable and AT&T. I wasn’t looking forward to the prospect of dealing with either of them, to be honest. I have heard very bad things about TWC and I have experienced very unprofessional behaviour from AT&T. I don’t think I ever disclosed the shenanigans that took place when I first moved to Austin and tried to get my own Internet.

Basically, to save some time, I decided to order my AT&T internet from Houston a few days before I reached Austin. That way, I hypothesized, I would minimize the amount of non-Internet time. As it happened, AT&T’s dysfunctional website decided to eat my apartment number and hence the modem+router never got delivered. When I tried to call them to ask them to call FedEx and have it redelivered, I found out that their phone department and internet department is not connected. This is absolutely ridiculous, in my opinion. What’s the point of having a tech support line for online orders, then?

Once I got all that cleared out and billing time came around, I received two bills–one for the account that was never created and one for the fixed account. To make matters worse, the second account took me for a business and hence charged me nearly double. A long phone call later, everything seemed to be figured out, but I’ll be keeping an eye on my next few billing cycles.

Anyways, I finally brought the wallet out for AT&T U-Verse and went with a pretty expensive plan that is supposed to give me $200 cashback after I activate. At this point, you are probably asking me why I fell for the AT&T trick again, and I have no valid response. I am hoping that somehow the stars will align and everything will miraculously work. Unfortunately, there has already been a slight issue, since right after I placed my order, the confirmation page said, “If you have an AT&T DSL service at that location, that account will be cancelled.” I immediately opened up a tech support chat window to figure out what’s up.

Turns out AT&T has TWO SEPARATE INTERNET SERVICE PROVIDERS. It’s as if they are purposely inventing stuff to confuse the consumer further. I have an AT&T High Speed Internet account, whereas since I’m going with AT&T U-Verse for TV, supposedly my account will be transferred to an AT&T U-Verse Internet account. I foresee further issues.

That’s it. I grew tired after those two rants, but I was planning to rant on the Indian cricket team. Then I realized that I never really cared about the ICC Champions Trophy, so I didn’t care that India got knocked out early. I am a little unhappy, though, that I will miss out on the opportunity to watch/DVR the Twenty20 Champions League or India-Australia ODI series later this year. Oh well, I guess Dish/DirecTV are saving me some money, after all.

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