Internet is Down; Kids Threatening to Leave; Hmmmm...Maybe We Don't Need Internet Service...

Problem:  Sporadic internet service. Acceptable to adults in house; earth-shattering to teenage occupants; uninteresting to four-legged creature

Proposal: Call service man out to fix the Problem.  Time-consuming to adults in house; uninteresting to teenage occupants; fortuitous for four-legged creature (opportunity to lick someone new)

Solution:  Made appointment with internet provider. Decided to give teenage daughter a taste of what it’s really like trying to rectify a seemingly simple problem. Also called Operation Share the Suffering.

Watch as Operation Share the Suffering (OSS) is put into place in the case of a broken calculator:

Mabel:  Mom, my graphing calculator is broken. Ugh! Can we get it fixed?

Me:  You know, they just don’t make ‘em like they used to. Probably just cheaper to buy a new one.

Mabel:  Well, can you get me a new one then?

Me: (hitching up my jeans and looping my thumbs through my belt loops) Gee, I don’t know. May have to order that one online.  They may not be making that model anymore. Could be awhile.

Mabel:  But I need it now!  Can’t we run up to Target and pick one up?

Me: We could but there’d be an extra cost for that.  You know, labor and all. Add about $60 to your price, ma’am.

Mabel: $60? That’s outrageous! C’mon, let’s just try the store.  When will you be ready to leave?

Me:  Hmmm.  I can leave the house between the hours of 8-12 or 12-4. Take your pick.

Mabel:  Seriously, Mom.  You’re crazy.

Crazy, I’ll show you crazy…

AT&T Quoted Time: 4:00 – 8:00 p.m. Current Time: 4:47 p.m.

The chances of this guy showing up at my house before 8 p.m. are somewhere between nil and none. By choosing the hours of 4-8, I am really saying, “Sure, come out around 9.  I’ve got nothing better to do at that hour.”

Very Famous Math Equation Used to Calculate Technician’s Arrival (Also known as The 4 Hour Window Formula):

 Time quoted + 3 hours + traffic + stop at McDonalds / your sanity + dinnertime + wages lost waiting at home and not being being productive at work = a close approximation of a 4 hour window

What’s so special about that 4 hour window? In my lifetime, I’d like to see peace in the Middle East and that 4 hour window winnowed down to a 2 hour window. I don’t think either is likely to happen, but the whole peace thing seems much more attainable.

Nowhere else in society is it acceptable to quote a 4 hour window. “I really do like the job and I’d love to start on Monday. You said 8 a.m. is the start time? Great! I’ll be there sometime between 8 and 12.” Not sure they’d hire you after that. But we are at these people’s mercy and they capitalize it. And invariably, that simple modem install or simple anything install always turns into a much bigger problem than originally anticipated.  “Yes, siree, looks like your modem is corrupt alright. Your RG and Cat 3 are no longer compatible.  We’re going to have to remove your roof, rewire your whole house and swap your first floor for your second. Your modem should be up and running after that – good as new. Should take about 4 hours.”

4 Hours Later and the Problem is Still Not Solved

It’s now 10:30 p.m. The AT&T dude is still at my house.  I think he may be moving in. The good news is that I’ll never have to set aside a 4 hour window again – I now have live-in tech support.  The bad news is that I only know my new roommate as “Mark, your AT&T technician”. Operation Share the Suffering has been a huge success. 



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