Nobody Wants Parenting Advice From Their Cable Company

By  | 

There are a couple places I wouldn’t mind getting parenting advice from. Tavi Gevinson’s parents? If they wrote a book, I’d buy it. My parents? Sure, maybe, depending on the time of day and pleasantness of my mood. My cable company? Eff that. Seriously, if I ever contacted my cable company to ask about why their garbage service wasn’t working again and they snarked back about my parenting, I’d be overwhelmed with rage.

Cable companies are not known for having great service. My old one made me run across four boroughs trying to return a six-year-old remote control and cable box and charged me even when the cable wasn’t damn working and once offered to send a repair person at some point between 8am on the 15th and 10pm on the 31st and expected me to be sitting around my apartment for that whole window of time. But I’ve never had a cable company do anything as outrageous as the Australian provider who snarked at a mother that maybe she should take her kid outside if her TV was broken.

According to The Daily Mail, Australian news anchor Michelle Stephenson tweeted at Telestra, her cable provider, to complain about the repair time on her broken Internet and got a pretty snarky response.

Screen Shot 2016-03-10 at 18.07.44

Wow, Renee is kind of a jerk, isn’t she? It’s bad enough when a cable company puts you on hold. Telling her to show her kid the outside world is not a satisfying answer to a customer complaining about how her cable and Internet are down.

It’s tough to be a parent and I’ve come to expect sanctimony from all corners of the world, but still I’d be shocked to get it from a customer service rep at the cable company.

Stephenson was clearly not asking for help with her child. She was asking the cable company representative when her damn Internet would be fixed, which is a reasonable thing to ask a customer service representative at a cable company.

Screen Shot 2016-03-10 at 18.12.52

Providing customer service for a cable company has to be a tough job. I mean, you’re almost never giving a person news they want to hear, like, “Oh, I can fix that for you from here. Now your cable that you are paying $150 a month for is back. Enjoy your evening!” Usually it’s more like, “I have no idea how long it will take your service to be operational, but can I interest you in a subscription to STARZ?”

I can understand the desire to liven things up and be funny with the customers, but frankly, customers do not appreciate jocularity from customer service representatives at the cable company. (I’m reminded of the time a Time Warner Cable representative tried to make Star Trek jokes with Sir Patrick Stewart, who had been waiting for service for 36 hours and was in no mood to hear “make it so!” jokes from the company that was failing him.)

Complaining about one’s cable being out and being told to take one’s child outdoors instead reminds me of when a mother complained that she found mold in a jar of baby food, and people told her she should be making her own baby food in the first place. Sometimes a person is complaining about an unsatisfactory good or service, and they’re not looking to get unsolicited and snarky parenting advice. And only parents seem to get this sort of sanctimony. I don’t recall ever having seen a cable service rep tell a customer to go read a book.

Telestra reportedly said that Renee’s response was unprofessional and inappropriate, and that she’d be receiving further training so it doesn’t happen again.