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Out-waiting the bastards


I am on my now second hour of being on hold attempting to reach Sirius-XM Radio to cancel one of my two radio subscriptions. You cannot do it from their website, even if you are are registered there, which I am.

At the end of the first hour a bi-ped came on the line, we spoke briefly, and she said she needed to transfer me to accounting so the pre-paid radio subscription I’m cancelling would be credited to the still-active radio’s account.

I begged, “No, not another hour on hold?!”

Oh, no, she said, it will just take a minute or two. Now I’m back to their pre-recorded noise, saying my wait time was not two, but approximately 75 minutes.

I’ve long since just put my cell on speaker-phone, made another pot of coffee, made and consumed breakfast, taken a leak and answered the morning’s emails.

Thank goodness for unlimited cell minutes and the phone’s being plugged into its charger or it would be dead and I would be broke.

Sirius-XM is not alone in this chicanery. Oh, hang on, just got a live, Malaysian-speaking person.

Even during my efforts to cancel one of the two radios, she is trying to sell me a car radio. (I do not listen to car music; I would rather hear how the bearings and rocker-arms are doing, thank-you very much, but I do not go into this with her in my native tongue or hers.)

OK, ostensibly that is done, down to a single radio and the pre-paid service for the other credited onto the account.

As I was saying before being interrupted by an actual transaction, this is not an indignity exclusively inflicted by Sirius-XM Radio. Try to shed yourself of cable or satellite TV service sometime. Log on, click “Manage My Account,” and just try to find the disconnect option. It ain’t there. “Manage My Account” merely means, in either case, “How can we charge you more for yet more shit you don’t want?”

I don’t blame the 50-cent-per-day Malaysian girl on the other end of the line, sitting in a boiler-room and probably grateful having to deal with frustrated, pissed-off Americans instead of being sold into the sex trade by her parents. No, I blame the Brussels-based fat-cats who own these companies and subject their workers and their subscribers to this crap.

In the case of the DirecTV, it was simply a question of paying the reduced $77/month rate just to watch the Spokane TV network-affiliate stations for an hour once or twice a week and indirectly subsidising the brainless prattling of Scott Pelley and Judy Woodruff. And now that the Seahawks are even considering signing Colin Kaepernick, my interest in the NFL is circling the drain.

Stepping back to the larger view, these obviously are the gasps of a dying technology. If people were beating down the door for your service, you would not try to sweat the patience out of your departing customers in the hopes they’ll give up and figure it’s better to bag the hold button and pay that nearly $1,000 a year for something you can do without.
I must give the Malaysian girl credit for this morning’s best laugh, though.
She asked, from her script, what part of their service I liked best.

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