Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Borderline nut job works for customer service every time. It's a shame, really, that one has to resort to it to get results. After a series of boilerplate email exchanges, I "liked" them so I could write a mean comment on TW's FB site. After that, I decided to stop pursuing it yesterday, too aggravated. First thing this morning I called. I didn't yell or behave irrationally, I just detailed my outage saga and listed my demands in a calm, serious voice, speaking very rapidly: 1) restoration sooner than June 14 or palatable explanation for why not; 2) not having to be at home during repair; 3) take it off my bill now, I do not want to wait for a credit after I pay.

I said I had been considering switching to TW telephone but how could I if the outage is three weeks? Also that I would have to consider moving to satellite Internet, even if it is slower. It would be cheaper than turbo, and more reliable. I teach online and can't have no service.

Customer service agreed to every demand, and said my service would be restored in 24-48 hours. Shortly afterwards the phone rang, it was a technician. He said he was on his way to my house! YAY. I'm awaiting word that it is fixed. (Fingers crossed.) I'm sure it is a big job, a tree is on the wire.

I put in some effort and my class is coming along fine. What a relief. While I was deeply submerged in design, the phone rang. It was a call from an organization advocating for gay marriage. It wasn't a robo call, but a real person - amazing. The guy on the phone asked me if I support it, and I said "Yes, I do." Then he said he was going to transfer me to my state senator's office so I could tell him to vote in favor of it. I said, "what? Hey, wait a minute, I don't call my senator ever, and I am not about to start now." He seemed shocked, said "really?" and hung up.

What a jerk! I often write letters and email them to my representatives, most recently on 1) animal rights and 2) SUNY2020, but I never call them about anything. Sometimes organizations will send a script that you can customize for your letter and provide links. Did this guy bother to offer anything? No.

I think it may have to do with this being a contentious issue in society, he was making assumptions about someone who isn't pliable. Another perfect example for toleration! One of the criticisms of social science survey research is called the social desirability hypothesis. It states that educated people are good at giving the right answer, but that doesn’t necessarily reflect their actual beliefs. They lie either to be PC or to give the researcher the answer they want to hear.

According to Vogt, there is not a lot of evidence to support the social desirability hypothesis even if it sounds intuitively good. (Kind of like the misrepresentation of Dale's Cone.) He states that it might be easier to demonstrate the opposite (the social self-confidence hypothesis): that educated people are self-assured and understand the reasons for research so they give honest answers.

Regardless, in the Velvet Glove, Jackman took it a step further: People do not support the policy idea unless they support any means to get to the policy goal. It may be easy to give a “socially correct” answer to the question, but when it comes to taking action, that is a different story; so essentially the answer to the question was a lie, proven when the respondent isn't willing to support any means to the ends.

I’m sure this reflects my telemarketer’s beliefs, that I actually do not support the policy; maybe I’m even a homophobe, so he perceives his rudeness to me as justified. Never thinking for a moment that his call was an annoying interruption, I was too busy to be on the telephone, that I never use the phone for advocacy because I hate being the recipient of such calls. So why would I believe making them would be effective?

A while later the phone rang again, this time it was my other line. I watched the phone for a while, because it never rings. We don’t use it for calls, it is only for DSL and the occasional fax. Who would have the number? Caller ID was flashing a long distance number I didn’t recognize. Should I let the fax fry someone’s eardrum? Curiosity got the best of me, and I picked it up. A robo voice identified some anti-gay marriage organization and said, “do you think marriage should be between one woman and one man only?” I said, “No.” And the robo voice abruptly hung up on me!

Added: wire is back up! Some tweaking on Saturday and I should be back on the grid.

Also: doesn't the do not call registry prevent these types of calls? Or is advocacy an exception?

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