Broadband

by Timothy Geigner


Filed Under:
broadband, chicago, repairs, service, violence

Companies:
comcast



Thou Shall Not Browse: Comcast Refuses Service Call To Chicago Church Out Of Fear

from the holy-shit dept

Our Facebook, who art on the internet, mashup be thy name. My question's one, will Comcast come, to our church as connectivity has ended? Give us this day, at least one technician, and forgive us our addresses, as we forgive those whose customer service sucks. And leave us not without our Netflix, but deliver us from downtime, amen.

This, I propose, might need to be adopted as a modernized propitiation by at least one church on Chicago's South Side, and offered to the regulation-creating internet lord, Comcast. That's because, as reported by a rather well-known preacher here in my beloved city, Comcast refused to send a service technician to work on a service issue because the neighborhood was way too scary.

On Wednesday, Father Michael Pfleger said that Comcast will not come out and fix the Internet connection at St. Sabina Church because of the neighborhood violence in Englewood. Classes in the St. Sabina computer lab were disrupted in the morning, not by violence outside, but by Internet problems that made doing anything online slow or impossible. The director called Comcast and set up a repair appointment for the afternoon only to have it canceled five minutes later.

“They told me due to the violence in the area, the increased violence in the area, that they were not dispatching any technicians into the area,” said Phil Hunter, who's the Director of the St. Sabina Community Employment Center.
Now, Father Pfleger is a notorious figure here in Chicago, and nationally, for being quite vocal on racial issues, to the point that he can occasionally come off as being ridiculous. Case in point was his insistence that Hillary Clinton freaked out about Barack Obama running against her because she thought she shouldn't have to compete with a black person (whatever you think about Clinton, Pfleger doesn't have mind-reading powers such as this). But we can leave his reputation aside for the moment, because Comcast didn't deny the accusation. Instead, Comcast insisted that it was cancelling all kinds of appointments in the area due to safety issues. Think about that: Comcast is happy to collect money from internet service customers, but not service them. In a city, mind you, that is carved up by ISPs for exclusive areas to such a degree that it's almost funny.

So, how frightened of the violence was Comcast? Well, this ought to give you some idea.

Well guess what after Facebook goes off and calls and media respond...SUDDENLY, calls from Comcast come and two... Posted by Father Michael Pfleger on Wednesday, November 11, 2015


So, either Chicago's violence problem was suddenly solved in a matter of hours, or Comcast cares more about PR than it does the safety of its technicians, which it had invoked only hours previous as to why it wouldn't come. It's frankly difficult to think of a worse tack Comcast could have chosen to follow: refuse service calls due to safety, get smacked with backlash, ignore safety concerns and do the service call. As Father Pfleger rightly points out, not everyone in the neighborhood is a preacher with a platform.

But that's Comcast for you. They're only answering your prayers for internet service that you're paying for if you've got those media indulgences, I guess...


Reader Comments

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  • icon
    Machin Shin (profile), 13 Nov 2015 @ 5:36am

    Recording interactions

    This is the kind of thing that has me seriously planning on recording any calls I make to ISP tech support lines. Sometimes the way to get the support you need is to light a fire under them with bad PR. I just wish I has some recordings of my past dealings with ISPs.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 13 Nov 2015 @ 6:18am

    The Overlord's Prayer.

    Kinda has a ring to it... in a not so good way.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 13 Nov 2015 @ 6:26am

    And when asked why they had not paid their Concast bill, they replied that the neighborhood was too scary.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    GrammarDude, 13 Nov 2015 @ 6:37am

    GrammarDude

    What is a worse tack ? Like a staple that is even more staplier than another staple? Perhaps you meant worse tact or tactic?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 13 Nov 2015 @ 6:43am

      Re: GrammarDude

      When sailing your "tack" is the setting for your sails and in general the direction you are travelling. In this case a "worse tack" means a "worse direction"

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Dark Helmet (profile), 13 Nov 2015 @ 6:58am

        Re: Re: GrammarDude

        Oh, man, why didn't I read this comment before replying? I totally could have played this off like I was some kind of yacht king as opposed to someone who occasionally makes typo mistakes....

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Michael, 13 Nov 2015 @ 7:55am

          Re: Re: Re: GrammarDude

          I'm pretty sure nobody would have believed that anyway.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          tqk (profile), 13 Nov 2015 @ 8:37am

          Re: Re: Re: GrammarDude

          I totally could have played this off like I was some kind of yacht king as opposed to someone who occasionally makes typo mistakes.

          As my former mentor (editing a newsletter) told me, "You can't catch 'em all." Proofread (consciously, eyes open, expand contractions; do they work?), and you're absolved of the ones you don't catch.

          Besides, in the 21st century with the majority of posters fat-fingering on cellphones instead of keyboards, it's pointless complaining about typos. They're fighting damned-autocorrect, et al. Typos? Ptheh.

          At least you're not in Detroit (though I hear Kingston's nice).

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Anonymous Coward, 13 Nov 2015 @ 7:24am

        Re: Re: GrammarDude

        Starboard tack: the wind comes onboard from the right side of the boat as one faces forward, sails are out to port.

        Port tack: the wind comes onboard from the left side of the boat as one faces forward, sails are out to starboard. Port was formerly known as larboard.

        Starboard tack boats have the right of way over port tack boats and this is often claimed by the starboard boats helmsman screaming “STARBOARD”, which at times has little effect and results in a collision.

        STARBOARD…

        Now, where were we?

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 13 Nov 2015 @ 10:40am

        Re: Re: GrammarDude

        Indeed... if you set the wrong tack, all the wind goes out of your sails.

        It's a pretty old colloquialism for someone calling himself GrammarDude not to know...

        "tough row to hoe" is talking about potatoes.

        "toeing the line" is talking about a footrace.

        Just to explain a few other old colloquialisms that often get butchered by people who assume someone just misspelled a word.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Dark Helmet (profile), 13 Nov 2015 @ 6:57am

      Re: GrammarDude

      It was supposed to be "track", but apparently I made a typo, which admittedly is way worse than 9/11, so I appreciate you pointing it out....

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Jason, 13 Nov 2015 @ 6:57am

      Re: GrammarDude

      Tact is sensitivity in social situations. A tack is a course or an approach (the word has nautical origins). When switching courses or taking a different approach, one changes tack, not tact.

      Tact often appears in place of tack. Presumably some people think of it as short for tactic, which is synonymous with tack in some contexts. This is understandable given how rare tack is, but tact is not conventionally short for tactic, and, fairly or not, phrases like change tact are generally considered wrong by people who pay attention to these things.
      http://grammarist.com/usage/tack-tack/

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 13 Nov 2015 @ 6:56am

    To be fair, I wouldn't go to that neighborhood either. I imagine someone was threatened to be fired over this once the PR took a hit. I probably would have let them fire me or walked out myself.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Chris Rhodes (profile), 13 Nov 2015 @ 7:13am

    Not Just Comcast

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Jake, 13 Nov 2015 @ 7:33am

      Re: Not Just Comcast

      There's a big difference between refusing to service a specific apartment complex after one of their employees was robbed at pistol-point and refusing to enter an entire neighbourhood because something might happen.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 13 Nov 2015 @ 9:12am

      Re: Not Just Comcast

      Perhaps their technicians should be accompanied by armed guards.

      Maybe this is a response to the frustration that some people are facing against ISP's and cable companies ...

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    PRMan, 13 Nov 2015 @ 7:27am

    Fear

    If I were as evil as Comcast, I'd be afraid to go to a church too...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 13 Nov 2015 @ 8:15am

    If you don't come and fix my internet, I'm going to come to your office to kick your ass. Sometime tomorrow between 10am and 6pm.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 13 Nov 2015 @ 9:18am

      Re:

      So now they have to choose. They either risk the possibility of being attacked while making a repair or they risk the possibility of being attacked for not making the repair. If they're really motivated to avoid being attacked this would motivate them to make the repair. They must now weigh their options.

      But I guess this confirms their bias. Since you're from the neighborhood they claim is dangerous and you are threatening them with violence perhaps you're a good example of the type of person that lives in this neighborhood confirming that the fear of this neighborhood is justified.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Capt. Obvious, 13 Nov 2015 @ 9:33am

      Re:

      If I miss the window and need to reschedule, I will pay you $25

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 13 Nov 2015 @ 8:21am

    'danger' is in the eyes of the beholder

    There's likely to be a hidden racist element here. Something I found amusing was that the Black taxi drivers I talked to feared going into Mexican neighborhoods, while the Mexican taxi drivers were equally fearful of black neighborhoods.

    Although racially-biased, the fear of armed robbery (or worse) is not illogical. Driving a taxi is statistically more dangerous than being a cop.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 13 Nov 2015 @ 9:31am

      Re: 'danger' is in the eyes of the beholder

      Racism comes in many forms. For instance the government can regulate against businesses that wish to base their hiring practices on race (with limited results of course) but what they can't easily regulate against are clients/customers that base their shopping habits and where they spend their money on race. For instance if you refuse to go to stores owned by someone of a particular race what can the government realistically do? but your refusal to have an agent or patronize a business of a particular race can result in employment/income discrimination, essentially as a customer you are basing your hiring practices on race (since customers are the ones hiring businesses and business owners).

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 13 Nov 2015 @ 10:18am

        Re: Re: 'danger' is in the eyes of the beholder

        "For instance if you refuse to go to stores owned by someone of a particular race what can the government realistically do?"

        If it involves Jews or Israel specifically, there are laws against such consumer boycotts, and even a federal agency, the Office of Antiboycott Compliance, to enforce these laws.

        For instance, if you were to walk into a store and tell the clerk, "I refuse to buy any more Widgets made in Israel, they're garbage. Please show me only American-made ones from now on!" -- then by law the store would be required to snitch on you to the Feds, or face draconian penalties.

        Yes, this is (slightly) off-topic, but was just to show that there are even more laws against the right to choose -and federal agencies to enforce them- than most people even realize.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 13 Nov 2015 @ 11:10am

          Re: Re: Re: 'danger' is in the eyes of the beholder

          While I'm not an organ donor someone once raised the question (I forgot exactly what the question was, something to do with why aren't you one). My answer was I would consider being an organ donor if I can boycott any non-organ donors from ever receiving my organs.

          That statement was somewhat targeted at Jews (though I didn't mention it). Jews claim that, according to their religion, it's OK to receive an organ but it's not OK to donate their organs. To be an organ donor I wouldn't want my organs going to anyone like that. While I'm Christian I find them using religion selfishly like that unacceptable. Not that I have anything against Jews, I wouldn't mind my organs going to a Jewish organ donor. In fact I suspect the Jews may even change their stance on refusing to be organ donors if people refused to give organs to non-organ donors. Not having the option to refuse my organs going to a non-organ donor (even if it's because they're religiously against it, even if they're Jewish) is probably what made me decide I do not want to be an organ donor.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 13 Nov 2015 @ 12:09pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: 'danger' is in the eyes of the beholder

            "My answer was I would consider being an organ donor if I can boycott any non-organ donors from ever receiving my organs."

            It would seem like the shortage of organ donations would easily be solved simply by requiring transplant recipients to have previously signed up as donors.

            Tangential to the topic of organ donation, I gave up any notions of donating my body to science after learning that many cadavers are not even used for medicine or constructive science. They are sold to the military for weapons testing, such as to aid in the development of more lethal weaponry.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            tqk (profile), 14 Nov 2015 @ 10:17am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: 'danger' is in the eyes of the beholder

            Not having the option to refuse my organs going to a non-organ donor (even if it's because they're religiously against it, even if they're Jewish) is probably what made me decide I do not want to be an organ donor.

            So, in order to stick it to a tiny minority of non-donors, you're willing to also refuse it for all others. I believe that's called, "cutting off your nose in order to spite your face."

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              nasch (profile), 14 Nov 2015 @ 12:21pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: 'danger' is in the eyes of the beholder

              So, in order to stick it to a tiny minority of non-donors

              No, he wants to stick it to all non-donors. Which I'm pretty sure is most people.

              I believe that's called, "cutting off your nose in order to spite your face."

              That only applies to hurting yourself in order to also hurt someone else. Not donating his organs doesn't hurt him, as he will already be dead.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • icon
                tqk (profile), 14 Nov 2015 @ 2:22pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: 'danger' is in the eyes of the beholder

                Not donating his organs doesn't hurt him, as he will already be dead.

                You forget the real impetus behind donating. It's "doing good", or possibly being known to have done good (reputation mgmt. :-). He loses out on that having done good by preferring instead to penalize others for not doing good. That's shallow at best. Not only that, but he's tarring whole populations (eg. Jews), and I'm pretty sure there's a lot of diametrically opposite viewpoints within the Jewish population. No population of individuals is monolithic.

                I suppose this discussion could devolve into a discussion of game theory, and perhaps it should.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                • icon
                  nasch (profile), 14 Nov 2015 @ 3:03pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: 'danger' is in the eyes of the beholder

                  He loses out on that having done good by preferring instead to penalize others for not doing good.

                  No argument there, I'm just not sure the aphorism "cutting off one's nose to spite one's face" applies.

                  That's shallow at best.

                  It's following more of a tit-for-tat approach rather than doing good for the sake of doing good.

                  Not only that, but he's tarring whole populations (eg. Jews), and I'm pretty sure there's a lot of diametrically opposite viewpoints within the Jewish population.

                  I got the impression he wouldn't want anyone unwilling to donate organs to get his organs, regardless of religion.


                  I suppose this discussion could devolve into a discussion of game theory, and perhaps it should.


                  Sounds fun to me!

                  reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Adam (profile), 13 Nov 2015 @ 8:35am

    Dear preacher-man...

    ...you are an ordinary citizen. This is what's wrong with you... you think you are special. Comcast sucks, agreed, but you aren't any different other than you have a voice loud enough to get attention and make a call to action.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 13 Nov 2015 @ 9:21am

      Re: Dear preacher-man...

      So what, is he supposed to just keep quiet then?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 13 Nov 2015 @ 9:33am

      Re: Dear preacher-man...

      Two quick things:

      1. Pfleger actually makes this exact same point. He has a platform and a loud voice, and that's really the only difference.

      2. By having a platform and a loud voice, he can raise the question, "how many other people are being denied service because they can't generate sufficient volume, yet are still being billed?"

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 13 Nov 2015 @ 9:44am

        Re: Re: Dear preacher-man...

        One of the things about the Internet is that it can give anyone facing injustice a loud voice. From before you would have to go through a centralized media source and hope they would be willing to publish the problem. If you're just a little guy big media probably doesn't care. You might get better results with a small local newspaper assuming that it has enough influence to make a difference.

        Now with the Internet and blogs there are many ways to spread information. You can start your own blog, you can use your own social media account, or you can submit it to someone else who has a blog or a combination of things.

        One issue is that not everyone facing injustice may want to be in the spotlight for reporting it. But if it's something systematic like this concerning an entire neighborhood there is bound to be at least one person willing to publicly put themselves out there which creates risk for a any potential perpetrator of injustice.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 13 Nov 2015 @ 10:00am

          Re: Re: Re: Dear preacher-man...

          There was one person willing to publicly put themselves out there: Pfleger.

          He also already had notoriety (as per the article) to help draw attention to the issue, which allowed him an easier time spreading the information. He didn't need to submit it to a blog and hope that people read it. He put it on Facebook and enough people read it.

          So, yes, someone can do these things to draw attention (and did) and inevitably someone was willing to be in the spotlight (him).

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          tqk (profile), 14 Nov 2015 @ 9:51am

          Re: Re: Re: Dear preacher-man...

          Now with the Internet and blogs there are many ways to spread information. You can start your own blog, you can use your own social media account, or you can submit it to someone else who has a blog or a combination of things.

          I think it's telling, and refreshing even, that you didn't even consider taking a grievance to an elected representative, as who could possibly believe they might be interested in fixing this injustice?

          Soon perhaps, the bastards are going to be begging and bribing us to vote for them. Good. Do go gently into that dark night, useless electoral twats. A pox on your houses.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 13 Nov 2015 @ 10:21am

      Re: Dear preacher-man...

      If he were an ordinary man he'd high-tail it out of that neighborhood. If he were an ordinary man he would he'd look the other way when someone's in need. Thank God he's not an ordinary man.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    JoeCool (profile), 13 Nov 2015 @ 10:24am

    The truth

    So, either Chicago's violence problem was suddenly solved in a matter of hours, or Comcast cares more about PR than it does the safety of its technicians, which it had invoked only hours previous as to why it wouldn't come.


    The latter. Comcast cares nothing about the technicians. They were more worried about the many thousands of dollars worth of equipment on the truck. But the bean-counters probably pointed out how much money a story like this would cost and pointed out that the trucks are insured. They still don't care about the technician, but the bean-counters probably pointed to government disability programs as covering that.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    American Jew, 13 Nov 2015 @ 12:05pm

    Jews are organ donors

    Four generations of my family are organ donors.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Spaceman Spiff (profile), 14 Nov 2015 @ 6:45am

    Not that AT&T is any better

    But Comcast is better known as "Comcrap" for a reason! As for AT&T? Well, this month I suffered sticker shock when they doubled the price of my business internet U-verse access, from $80 to $155... I called and threatened to switch to Comcast immediately. Guess what? The rep. immediately rolled me back to $80 / month (25mbps uncapped service), at least for the next year. I guess I'll have to go through this crap again next fall... :-( My neighbors who voted against municipal fiber broadband some years ago (after extensive lobbying by Comcrap and AT&T) all regret their decision now. Duh? I wonder why?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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