By BEN R. WILLIAMS
Dear Century L.,
No wait, that’s too obvious. I’ll call you C. Link.
Dear C. Link,
Well, it’s been about a year since I last wrote an open letter to you. As you might recall, I wrote that letter because my phone and internet went out while I was in the middle of watching something and service wasn’t restored for several days.
You’ll never believe why I’m writing this new letter. Go on, take a guess.
Yes, that’s right; while I was in the middle of watching the horror anthology film VHS ’94 in an attempt to get into the Halloween spirit, my phone and internet suddenly cut out. My service has now been out for two days.
Now, C. Link, I realize that I live out in the woods, and I realize that your business model is to provide internet to rural areas where people have no other internet options and are willing to put up with service so bad that two soup cans connected with a piece of string would seem like only the mildest downgrade.
I also realize, C. Link, that you probably assume it’s not worth updating your aging infrastructure because you assume that the hillbillies who use your internet only need it to look up the occasional recipe for possum stew.
However, consider my friend Mike who lives just a mile down the road and works from home. His job requires him to use the internet, so he has to take a vacation day every time your internet goes down.
Or consider the convenience store just down the street from me that requires the internet for both their credit card system and their ATM. For the last two days, they’ve only been able to do cash transactions. Based on the conversation I recently had with a nice lady who works there, I get the impression that many customers are not terribly understanding when presented with this predicament.
But ultimately, C. Link, it comes down to this: when someone pays you money in exchange for goods or services, you are obligated to provide said goods or services. If you didn’t want to provide a real product in exchange for money, you should have started one of those businesses where they claim they’ll name a star after you for a hundred bucks.
I’ve paid you a lot of money over the years, C. Link, and I’m not entirely sure where it went. I feel confident that I’ve given you more than enough money to upgrade the Depression-era hit-and-miss engine that evidently powers your server room. Where did that money go? Did your CEO have to get his yacht lengthened again?
You know, C. Link, it’s tough to pick which part of your service is the worst. Is it the frequent and unexplained service outages? Is it that getting on the phone with an actual human being in your customer service department requires seven hours of hold time and a notarized letter from the Dalai Lama? Or is it the fact that the page on your website that provides the estimated time service will be restored is less accurate than a drunk with a two dollar pistol?
Boy, it’s hard to pick just one.
Listen, C. Link, this is generally the part of the column where I would say this is all in good fun and I don’t intend to cause any hard feelings. That wouldn’t be true, however, because I legitimately hate your business. If Burger King decided tomorrow to change their logo to a picture of me wearing a diaper and a comical oversized baby bonnet, I would not hate Burger King as much as I hate you. You are one of the worst companies I’ve ever experienced, and I worked for BH Media for four years.
I would like to clarify, C. Link, that I don’t hate your boots-on-the-ground technicians. I know they’re doing the best they can under the circumstances. In fact, I talked to one of your technicians not long ago and it turns out he hates your company even more than I do!
Anyway, C. Link, I hope you’ll receive this letter in the spirit in which it was written, which is a spirit of rage and acrimony. And by the way, there’s no point in intentionally sabotaging my internet service as retribution for this letter. I’d never be able to tell the difference.
Ben R. Williams