Moments of momentous customer service.

Words by John Fraser

Alas, we all remember the rainfall of July 2013! More water fell in two hours than the average for the month—even more than Hurricane Hazel in 1956! There was rafting on the Don Valley Parkway, submarines were used as subway cars and a guy named Noah started building a boat. Power was out for most of the night. I faced the deluge bravely and went to bed.

Clocks and such needed resetting the next day, but the real nuisance for me was a TV that didn’t work. I assumed the cable lines were probably down, so I did without the boob tube for a couple of days. Eventually I checked with the Rogers help line to see if it there was cable or if the storm had messed up my TV.

I find it kinda scary when the TV guy can look right into my house and tell me what’s wrong. Anyway he tells me that the cable box has been fried.

“You’ll need to replace it.”
“Where do I do that?”
“Go to a Rogers store.”
“Where’s the nearest one?”
“Dixie Rd.”

At 9:30, I arrive at the store which does not open until 10:00. I cool my heels but am first in line when the store opens. I plunk my dead box on the counter.

“I’d like a replacement, please.”
“Is it broken?”
“No, it’s fine. Just thought I’d bring it for a visit to the place where it was born. Of course it’s broken.”
“You’d like a replacement?”
“No, I came here to give it a funeral. Yes, I’d like a replacement.”
“We don’t have any.”
“You don’t have any? When will you have some?”
“We expect a shipment this afternoon at 1:00.”
“Could you call me when they come in?”
“Why not?”
“You don’t expect me to call everyone do you?”
“I wasn’t asking you to call everyone. I was asking you to call me.”
“Come back at 1:00.”

As it turned out I couldn’t return at 1:00, but the next morning I called the store when it opened.

“Did your shipment of cable boxes come in yesterday afternoon?”
“Great, I’ll come over and get one.”
“There are none left.”
“None left?”
“Nope, all gone.”
“Maybe you didn’t notice but we had a huge storm the other day. It should be no surprise that the lightning killed a good many of these boxes. How about increasing your order?”
“No can do. Our numbers are fixed two weeks in advance.”
“Are you a government agency of some kind?”
“We will get another shipment at 1:00 today.”

I got there at 12:30 and was first in line when the shipment arrived. Once again I plunked my dead box on the counter.

The clerk looked at it.

“Is that standard or high definition?”
“I dunno. I think it’s a Sony?”
“Sony is the make of your TV. I need to know if this is standard or HD.”
“Can’t you tell by looking at it?”
“How old is your TV?”
“I’m almost 80 and I got it when I was 12.”
“Probably standard.”
“OK, can you give me a replacement?”
“No, we don’t have that kind.”
“You don’t have this kind? I got here 30 minutes early to be first in line and you don’t have this kind? A standard? You’re kidding, right?”
“Yours has a clock feature. We have none with a clock feature.”
“Do you have a standard cable box without a clock feature?”
“I’ll take it.”

And with that, the box was placed on the counter.

“Thank you very much,” I said with a complete lack of sincerity.
“Photo ID, please.”
“Photo ID?”

“Yes, please.”
“I don’t have my wallet with me but do have a business card with my photo on it.”
“We require a government-issued document with a photo.”
“To exchange a TV box?”
“Do you think I might have burglarized a house to watch TV and discovered the box was not working, and decided to come here and fix my victim’s TV problem?”
“Photo ID.”
“My wallet is in my car, in the parking lot.”
“I’ll wait.”
“Are you with Homeland Security by any chance?”
“No. Why?”
“It’s easier to go through customs than to replace a TV box!”

John Fraser is a comedian, actor, speaker, special event cause celebre and general gad-about. If you need an inspirational speaker, he’s the guy for you! [email protected].