Dealing with stupid tech support

Suddenly, out of nowhere today I couldn’t get to Browser just sits there at “Looking up…” Hmmm, strange. Try it from the Mac. No dice. Try it from IE 6. No dice. Reset the modem. No dice. The IP address ( is fine. NW Tools can ping and traceroute to the site without a problem. But I can’t ping or trace to it locally. Around the same time I’m pondering this issue, our office admin in Washington, DC and our tech consultant in upstate NY IM me that they can’t get to I ask them if they can get to Both say they can’t. Both are on Verizon DSL. I’m on Comcast cable. Hmmm.

I call Pair to make sure there’s nothing they can see on their end. Nope, it’s fine. No surprise. Mail is coming through. It’s just the web that’s a problem.

I call Comcast. I explain the issue. I state clearly everything I’ve done to try and eliminate it being a machine-specific issue, including the fact that I have 3 different computers here, running 2 different operating systems and 5 different browsers and it’s the same on all.

Comcast idiot: “Did you clear your browser cookies?”


He sits there for a few seconds completely dumbfounded, emphasis on the “dumb,” wondering what could be the answer. He asks a few more seeking-but-I-don’t-really-have-a-clue questions and I finally say, “Look, I’m not calling you to help me figure out if it’s a problem with my computer. I already know it isn’t. If it was, I wouldn’t be calling Comcast. I’m calling you because when my browser asks for a website by domain name, it’s looking to your network to tell it where to go. That’s where it is getting stuck, and why I’m calling you. It’s not a problem with the website. It’s not a problem with my computers. So I have to look somewhere in the middle.”

Dead silence…”uh, well…I’m not sure…”. I’ve had enough wasting of my time. Thank you very much, sir…have a nice day. ::click::

I start going through my buddy list until I hit paydirt. Someone who lives/works nearby, is also on Comcast cable and tada! can’t pull up either. Thanks again, Bruce. Armed with his IP address, I call Comcast back. This time I get a woman who is actually trying troubleshoot the issue and isn’t reading from a list of stupid questions. I go through the whole spiel again. When she starts asking me some “eliminate a computer-specific local problem” questions, I begin to get testy, then she explains that her computer is dumber than the person I spoke to earlier (she didn’t put it that way, but it’s what I was thinking) and won’t let her go to the next screen to report the problem until she puts in answers to the dumb questions. Okay. So we breeze through those, and finally! She’s able to enter into her computer what the true problem is and escalate it to someone somewhere who could hopefully investigate and figure out what’s going on.

And now 30 minutes later the site is resolving once again. Now was that so difficult? Chances are it would have fixed itself regardless, but I like to think that maybe I somehow pushed that along.


2 responses to “Dealing with stupid tech support”

  1. A lot of large organizations are REQUIRED to ask you those type of “stupid” questions as a first step. I’m glad the tech made you aware of their process.

  2. That’s just fine, Angel. There’s a difference between asking a question because you clearly have to check it off a list, and asking a question because you don’t understand the problem. If he had said, “Okay, let’s see…we can check off here that it’s not a cookie or cache problem since you tried it from multiple computers and different browsers…” I’d have no problem. I was annoyed because this guy was clearly stumped and had no clue how to troubleshoot the issue after his cheat sheet said, “have the customer power cycle the modem and delete Internet Explorer files.”