Howdy, esteemed readers. I do hope that all of you have managed to continue existing in the week since we’ve spoken. Let’s dispense with the formalities and get right to it, shall we? Today’s Trendshredder is going to explore the exploitative and unfair relationship between mammoth corporations and their lowly, persecuted, downtrodden customers. I encounter instances of brazen and flagrant mistreatment at the hands of these faceless profit vacuums on a daily basis and have seen fit to publicly shame the unrepentant fiends by holding them accountable for their shenanigans and lambasting their incessant skullduggery here, for the entire literate world to see.
So, this should be fun, even if I am playing it pretty fast and loose with the definition of the word “Trend”.
Ladies and gentlemen, Leviathan Dreamworks in association with Monolith Industries proudly presents another lead based, microwave safe article, and I give you my word that every letter was produced in a sweat shop by unpaid child labourers and rigorously tested on animals.
STICKING IT TO THE MAN, MAN
The great thing about running a cable/phone/internet company seems to be pretty much everything. First off, it’s recession proof, because no matter how broke people get, they’ll always need iPhones, internet access and a steady stream of mind erasing ooze delivered directly into their craniums to numb the sting found in the daily meander towards the grave that comprises their bleak, hopeless lives.
Secondly, in most cases there’s only two or three other major outlets to compete with, and it’s much easier to fight an endless war of minor attrition with a handful of other billion dollar conglomerates than it is to struggle upstream against a thousand other hungry little fish.
It gets even easier when you can afford sharks and piranha to eat all the other fish and until you’ve got the whole fucking ocean to yourself.
So we’re looking at a business model that guarantees a reliable stream of long-term stable profit across three separate mediums with guaranteed popular longevity, in an environment of minimalized competition. It’s essentially a stock-holders wet dream.
Seems like a pretty sweet arrangement on paper, but then again so does communism.
The problem with these companies, and communism, incidentally, isn’t so much with the idea itself, but the people implementing it.
Enter Rogers. My local cable and internet provider, and a source of unending displeasure for me. For years now they’ve been crushing their way across Canada, muscling out everything in their path and carving an ugly legacy of universal proliferation over media service provision.
As of now, they own half of Toronto, advertise at near Orwellian levels of excess, and have made it abundantly clear that they can do whatever the hell they want without regard for anyone.
They just don’t care. Ask even their most devout of customers and even they would be hard pressed to dismiss the abysmal lack of customer support provided when it inevitably comes time to confront them on their perpetually faltering services.
They’re completely detached, and with good reason. They don’t give a damn about consumer satisfaction for the same reason I eat a plate of bacon with every meal; who’s gonna stop me?
Once you’ve cornered a market the way Rogers has, there’s really nothing anyone can do to bring you down, short of a viral boycott campaign, or an unbelievably embarrassing PR debacle, or a combination of the two.
Sure, not all giants are as unkind as this one, in fact some unfathomably large businesses still maintain a strong policy of helpful service and corporate accountability. But make no mistake, this is simply a courtesy they extend for the sake of keeping you comfortable while they take your money. At their core, they don’t care. You are nothing but a source of income. A renewable resource.
This is far removed from the personal touch of the old days, when people spoke face to face, shook hands, and made direct, sometimes suspiciously prolonged eye contact. I for one, miss those far off times, though I hardly remember them now, as those spaces in my mind have been re-purposed to house the infinite droning of slow speaking computerised assistance robots.
So in defence of a time I was hardly alive for, I decided to address the issue directly through the time tested medium of a long-winded letter, because this is 1953 and I’m your great-grandfather.
Anyway, I was surprised to learn that Rogers no longer has a direct customer service email of any kind. They still have a physical mailing address, but I was not prepared to go out and buy stamps. The only viable option for communicating with them online was a live chat window with an unsettlingly formal support technician who insisted he was not a robot, but almost definitely was.
To absolutely nobody’s shock and awe, that person(?) was of no assistance in solving my problems or making me feel validated for writing such a long and colourfully worded letter. So I posted it on Reddit, then to my Facebook and finally, here.
Mostly because there are very few checks and balances done on the content I submit to The Monolith and I’m secretly pushing the boundaries of how tenuously I can cling to my namesake before one of my editors wakes in a cold sweat to the startling realization that I haven’t written about anything music related in weeks.
Anyway, here’s the letter in all of its verbose and self-indulgent glory:
“Hello Rogers support technician,
I’m writing you because your company’s absolute disregard for customer satisfaction has reached a point at which it has become a regular impediment to my daily existence.
Before I begin, I’d like to take a moment to acknowledge the fact that you, the reader, are not directly responsible for any of my numerous complaints or perceived injustices, and humbly request that you not take the following rage filled diatribe personally. You’re just a person doing a job, and I understand and respect that.
That being said, you are employed by a soulless machine that has all but destroyed my passion for television. Rogers, as a cable provider, has been nothing to me but a reliable source of crushing, offensive disappointment.
I, as a paying customer, am regularly treated like worthless trash by my cable provider, an infraction of which I will no longer be silently tolerant.
The cable package I pay a substantial sum for includes a plethora of mandatory sports and ethnic channels, which I never requested, and under no circumstances would find myself watching, even at four in the morning when I’m drunk and eating Cheetos in my underwear, willing to sit through telethons and infomercials just for the numbing artificial company of light and sound.
It’s not that I have a problem with you offering so many ethnic and sports channels, hey, that’s great. I’m all about inclusion and equality. I am not, however, all about Cantonese soap operas and Golf. It simply isn’t my taste. These are included in your basic cable package, and upgrading to the next tier, also chock full of things I don’t want to watch, would cost me a small fortune.
And that’s really the problem. I don’t think I should be forced to pay for things I’d never watch just to receive the handful of channels I legitimately like. Here’s the deal. I’m a man of pretty refined tastes, specifically consisting of cartoons, zombie shows, assorted comedies, movies on demand, breaking bad, sons of anarchy, and occasionally, your particular brand of late night soft core adult entertainment.
In total, that spectrum of viewing shouldn’t span across more than 7 or 8 channels, maybe 10 if I break my legs and have literally nothing else to do all day. The package I pay for has well over 400 channels. Doesn’t that seem ridiculous to you? or at the very least, outlandishly unnecessary? If it doesn’t, I can only imagine that your workplace training regimen included a brand loyalty blood pact and/or intense behavioural recalibration, both of which must violate some manner of workplace rights act.
Beyond the fact that your company seems to enjoy punishing me for giving them money, it also takes an impressive lack of interest in fielding my complaints. When I’ve contacted your support lines in the past, I have been unceremoniously dismissed via flippant excuses and half-hearted apologies. No, not even half-hearted, more like quarter-hearted. Perhaps even tenth.
I digress, the reason I’m writing you now is that my Movies On Demand channels are not working, and haven’t been for the last 48 hours. That’s right, one of the only things I use out of your companies overpriced, fluff-laden cable package has outright ceased functionality.
There’s no other word for that quality of service but poor. However, were I to fill out a survey rating you on a scale from poor to satisfactory, I would have no choice but to describe you as “maliciously awful.”
Look, I get it. You’re a goliath company dominating a two-man race for corporate superiority. You don’t really need to care about me or my personal needs because I am but a single teat among your infinite network of perpetually lactating cash cows, and if I stop producing milk it won’t have any noticeable effect on your yearly yield.
I just think that it’s rather cold of you to treat me so carelessly, because alone I may not amount to much, but I know I’m not the only one left feeling mistreated by your dehumanized customer relations, and like it or not, your detractors have a voice.
I, for one, will not be recommending your services to anyone, even my sworn enemies. In fact, I’d sooner recommend getting a prostate exam from a hive of angry wasps than I would bamboozle any other rubes into signing up for your financially vampiric cable plan and intrepidly apathetic customer satisfaction policies.
I wish to convey through this message nothing more than absolute rage and profound dissatisfaction with how you’ve chosen to conduct business, and eagerly anticipate nothing but the worst imaginable karmic reprisals.
An irreparably jilted customer.”
Now before you start, let me just stop you right there, Yes, I’m aware of how lengthy and cumbersome the above complaint is. No, I do not think I’d have more success with a simplified statement the likes of “Hai guise mai channuls iz uren’t warking plz fyx dem.” I’ve tried that approach and it’s about as effective as popping pimples into a five alarm blaze and calling yourself a firefighter.
The point is, I don’t think I’m going to have any success at all. So I wrote this more as a catharsis for myself and as a relatable display of frustration for anyone else who’s been treated like livestock by the people they pay for their goods and services. That’ll show ‘em, right? Well, no. It obviously won’t. My acerbic ranting is little more than a distant echo to them while they nonchalantly frolic through verdant meadows full of my money, displaying an intrepid disregard for such trivial things as my intense dissatisfaction.
I’m not too worried about that, though. I’ve given up on getting my voice heard by them. What I’m trying to do here is get my voice heard by enough like-minded individuals to stir them into raising their voices with me. The more voices I can rally, the louder the cry will be, and the more difficult it will become for these monstrous corporate despots to sweep my furious indignation under the rug.
It’s not even really about the service anymore. My On Demand channels worked out their own issues eventually, and paying for hundreds of channels I don’t watch is a minor inconvenience that I happen to be mentally equipped to deal with. It’s the mother fucking principle of the matter. No company, no matter how rich and powerful, should be able to treat the backs upon which they tread with such blatant disregard.
Titanic conglomerates such as Rogers have set deep roots in our culture, choking out the little guy and all but blocking out the sun with their infinite advertising campaigns. They’ve made themselves a permanent fixture by doing everything it takes to become, in many cases, the sole source of service.
They have literally taken over the world.
While we were all running in circles worrying about terrorists, nukes and a host of other unseen threats, the invasion let itself in the front door by offering us a wide range of essential products at competitive prices. We’ve already been overrun and are currently at the mercy of a network of enterprises boasting infinite power and resources.
So if we’ve already surrendered ourselves to the regime, and there’s truly no way to stop the emotionless and unrelenting march of progress, the least we can ask for is humane conditions for our capitalistic captivity. The bare minimum should be the humble request that we be treated like humans, even if we are in fact mindless cattle being bred to fuel very machines that bury us.
It’s not like they can’t afford it.