On Friday night the sound went a bit wierd but that's not unusual and typically it's a case of rebooting the box or just waiting (depending on whether the problem is on the box or the network). I unplugged the box for the night. When I got up the next mornign I plugged the box back in and found that it wouldn't start up at all, just a slight flicker on some of the LEDs in the display on the box, no signal to the TV on either UHF or SCART. The box is dead. I try unplugging, waiting a minute then replugging, no change. The box is definately dead. I've had this box for about 3 years now and based on experience, comments from the Cable TV engineers and things that other people I know with these boxes that's pretty good going, one to two years is typical before they go wrong.
So I call up Virgin Media, find out that they've change the number again, and eventually get through the IVR system. I explain the situation to the operattor at the other end of the line, giving details of everything I've done. He asks if I've tried unplugging and plugging back in, I explain as calmly as I can that not only have I tried that a number of time buit I told him that about 30 seconds ago. The next 5 minutes continue in much the same vein as he works through his script and ignores my answers. Eventually we get to the sending out the engineer part of the script and he asks if I will be in all day. I say yes, I can be in all day today (Saturday). He says well he can do me an appointment for Monday between 12 and four. I explain that because I have a job and have to go out to work I cannot be in at that time. he says that's the earliest appopintment he's got as they have less engineers on on Saturdays and don't have anyone on Sundays. I ask him to communicate to the customer services depoartment that if you business is going into people's homes it might be a good idea to have more of your staff in when the majority of people are home. I then ask if he has any evening appointments and he says that he does for Tuesday, four till seven. I say fine but I can't guarantee I'll be in for four as the absolute earliest I can get out of work is half three but I should be home by half four. He says that if I'm not in when the engineer calls there will be a ten pound charge so would I like a different appointment. I point out that of the three apppointment slots he's said they have (morning, afternoon and evening) the evening is the only one I can make it's just that I cannot guarantee to be home if the engineer comes right at the start period but half an hour later I will definitely be in so could he please note that int he call so hopefully when it's assigned to an engineer they'll try to slot me in towards the end of the time and not the beginning. He witters on about a 10 pound charge, ignoring what I'm saying to him and presumably not making the note in the call.
It's only a 10 minute job. Just disconnect the old box and remove the smart card, unpack the new box, insert the smart card,. connect up and plug in, call base with the ID number of the box, pack up the old box for repair or disposal, leave.
It absolutely amazes me how many companies, that deliver services in people's homes, have appointments systems that are still based on 1970s and earlier assumptions. I know of very few households where there is normally someone at home, or can be home, during the day on a weekday. Even with couples with adult children the norm seems to be that everyone goes out to work during the day. So many companies seem to be stuck in the 1960s where most people lived in households where one person went out to work and one stayed home to keep house. Sure I could book a day or half day off work, I can't book, on Saturday, Monday off though.