Thursday, March 29, 2007


Peanut Butter proves the existence of God!

Via Wired; follow the link for bonus crazy.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

This past sunday was the fourth anniversary of the day my Mom died. My Dad and brother and I marked the day with dinner, which turned out to be the best time we've had as relatives in a long time. Meanwhile Shelly had some moving things to say about the day, and about my Mom.

I think now that I'm at a point where I can talk about her both as my Mother and as a person. There may be some extremely disorganized and intensely personal words going up here as I attempt to be her Speaker For The Dead.

Copyright 2006 Rich Bowen

Tuesday, March 13, 2007


This is a copy of an email I just sent. No names have been changed, because who among us can truly be called innocent?

If this is not the correct forum for my complaint, please forward it to the appropriate department. I signed up for Qwest service in January of this year, and in that very short time the service I have received has been abysmal, with an ever-increasing amount of mistakes made by your company that now have me seriously considering cancelling my service.

Previous to this, I relied on Speakeasy for my DSL and phone (with VOIP), and Comcast cable for TV. I was happy enough with these services, and decided to switch to Qwest for the sole reason that it would be a lower monthly bill.

I placed my order for phone, DSL, and Directv service on tuesday, January 23, in a phone call lasting nearly 90 minutes. I was told that I would be able to keep my phone number (, but that I would be assigned a temporary number until it could be connected. I also asked whether you offered VOIP for phone service and was told that you do.

I called back a few days later to confirm that my DSL installation kit was on the way. That was when I learned that somehow my order had never been placed. I had to spend another 90 minutes placing the exact same installation order. I work from home two days a week, so by this point nearly three hours of work time had been taken up trying to get service.

The second order was placed, and a few days later I received my DSL installation kit. I installed the DSL modem, and after calling to resolve some connection issues, I was up and running.

A few days later, however, I received an identical DSL kit. On closer inspection, I saw that the paperwork for the first one had listed the temporary number (206.yyy.yyyy) that I was given, while the second one had my permanent number. I called Qwest and was assured that it would still work when my permanent number was installed, and told to return the second DSL kit.

Around this time, a separate issue arose when my DSL connection quit working. When I called for technical assistance, your CSR was able to get me reconnected, but only after having to describe my setup repeatedly; at one point, he suggested that I unplug my phone from the wall jack, apparently unmindful that that was the phone from which I was speaking to him. It was also at this time that I was informed that, contrary to what I was told when I placed my order, Qwest does not offer VOIP in my area.

Meanwhile, I had placed an order for installation of a Directv satellite dish, with an HD-DVR receiver. The scheduled installation date came and went with no sign of the installers. I called and was informed that they were out of the equipment I had requested. However, no attempt had been made to call and inform me, which led to another day of wasted work time.

When the installers did come a few days later, the installation went smoothly enough. However, I was put on the phone with a Directv rep to order service, and was quoted a different price than I had been told by Qwest. A short battle of wills ensued with the telephone rep telling me one price, and the installers in my apartment telling me another. To this day I'm still not sure how much I'm paying for my Directv service.

Eventually my temporary phone number was disconnected and my regular phone number was put back into service. There was some minor confusion when I was sent a separate bill for each number, but everything seemed to be in order. The bill for the temporary number was dated february 15, and due March 6. This bill was paid via the internet on March 4; I received a confirmation email telling me that the funds would be withdrawn from my account within 72 hours, and my bank shows that this was the case.

However, on March 12 I received a notice from Omnium collection agency, demanding payment for the bill for the temporary number. When I called Qwest again, the rep I spoke to was clearly able to see a balance of zero, and I forwarded her the confirmation email I had received. She discovered that the bill had been sent to collections on March 5--not only a full day after payment was received, but a full day BEFORE the bill was actually due. The rep told me that the collection agency has been contacted to correct the mistake, but I'll be watching them closely to see if this actually happens.

So, to sum up, in less than two months, there have already been five major mistakes on the part of your company, along with at least two cases where I've been given false or conflicting information. As I said, I switched to Qwest to bundle services and save money, but at this point, I have to seriously consider whether the aggravation I've been put through is worth those extra few dollars a month. Consider this a warning; one more blunder on this level, and you will be losing my business forever.

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