Hey, remember back when Gazette columnist Mike Boone was having problems with Sympatico Internet, and because he talked about it in the paper, he got a call from a VP in Ottawa to give him special treatment?
Recognizing that he was obviously getting better service because he was a newspaper columnist, and that prevented him from pretending he was like the rest of us, he promised not to take advantage of it next time he had a problem:
I still have the phone number of the guy in Ottawa who QBed the rescue effort. But as a gesture of solidarity with all the other schmos, I’ll report any future problems to Sympatico tech support – with one small adjustment.
“Next time you call, press 1 right away to choose French,” a neighbour advised. “That way you get connected to a techie in Canada.”
Well, less than two months later, it seems he’s gone back on his word, using the number to short-cut his way to a solution after the common-folk customer service people scammed him into paying Apple to diagnose a non-existent software problem.
I gave up. When I wrote a column, in July, about the nightmare of trying to set up the wireless system that Sympatico sold me, I got a call from the office of the vice-president of customer relations.
They arranged for a house call.
After some initial difficulties owing to unfamiliarity with Apple, the technician got me up and running.
I kept the phone number of the Sympatico’s VP’s office. When I called about my latest nightmare, they promised I’d hear from a senior technician that evening.
To Boone’s credit, he didn’t reach for the Special Treatment Number right off the bat, and the resulting grossly incompetent service gives him plenty of fodder for another column. But it’s hard to think of a columnist being one of us when that magic VIP lifeline is available to him to use at his convenience.
UPDATE (Sept. 24): Letter-writer Ruth Taylor, who had a similar problem, blasts Boone for taking advantage of his journalist status. She asked for a “Mac specialist” as Boone’s column suggested, but got nowhere. Unlike his gold-plated solution, she had to pay her own techie to diagnose her problem.