So that post I wrote about my mom’s issues with Comcast really had some legs. It was my most retweeted post on Twitter (ever), got picked up by Consumerist, submitted to Reddit, and landed on Hacker News. (Update: and as of about 10:30am on 11/2, Huffington Post too.)
As you’d expect, people are sharply divided. There was a lot of support from all kinds of people who felt, as I did, that the situation was poorly handled. On the other hand, this being the Internet, there were plenty of contrarians who relished telling me how stupid I was for even bringing this up, and insisted I was being a whiny bitch for not writing about the people who perished in the storm. I was told “this is how business works” and regaled with tales of economics that fully explained (FULLY EXPLAINED) exactly why I was wrong, how I was wrong, and insinuated that I not only did not understand a free market economy, but that I should be thankful (as should my mom) that the situation wasn’t worse.
We are thankful that it wasn’t worse. We’re not idiots; we’re grateful to have lived through this disaster when others didn’t. We weren’t hurt physically, but it’s tough to come to terms with the kind of loss my family feels, despite the fact that it’s not of the mortal variety. The post was not designed to overlook the struggles of others, nor to minimize their problems in favor of bitching about a company I didn’t like. No, I wrote it because it needed to be written. I wrote it because I do understand how business works, but if corporations get to be treated as people for tax purposes, then they should act like people in other situations occasionally as well when common sense would call for it.
It’s not about the money. I’m pretty sure my mom can afford to pay for the box. It’s about how in the face of extreme conditions and personal suffering, they had nothing better to say to a longtime customer besides “too bad”. I got a lot of shit for expecting the company to pay for my mom’s troubles, when so many others were in the same predicament. How brazen I was, suggesting that Comcast eat all that money! How dare I question their policies? Business is business, and that’s the world we live in.
Well, if you read the post, I didn’t ask them to pay for the box. What I said was that they didn’t care. They do community outreach, and plant trees, and host events, and that’s great. But when people really need them, they didn’t offer to offset the cost, they didn’t offer to delay the fees, they didn’t even offer understanding. What they offered was a big “not our problem”.
The point of the post was not to get them to pay; the point of the post was to illiustrate what I saw as a completely insane situation and request. The shore looks like a nuclear bomb hit it, but their concern is for the used cable boxes and the equipment fees they might lose out on. “Comcast Cares” is lip service, used when it suits them. It would have been not only easier, but probably more sensible to have anticipated this (the storm wasn’t exactly a surprise) and have any kind of PR statement prepared. Even if the intention was to have everyone pay (well within their right to do so) then deliver the news with a modicum of compassion. Offer to delay the charges. Offer a voucher. Offer anything. They’re going to take a huge loss on all that equipment anyway; if you think it’s not going to get written off in at least some way, then “you clearly don’t understand how business in America works.”
I was looking for a reason as to why I had to write the post I did just to get someone to give a shit. That’s the story, people. No one cared about it until I raised hell. I shouldn’t have had to bring it up at all.