You are hereEssays on Life / Escalating in Oblivion

Escalating in Oblivion



            I guess the moral is you can never trust a salesperson.

            It all started when I decided to upgrade some software on my computer. Roxio Toast, to be specific. I was checking out the prices and features, and talked on the phone to a saleswoman at Roxio who, after explaining the attractions of Roxio Toast 10 (I only had Roxio Toast 7!), added the clincher to the argument: “If you buy it from us, you can take  advantage of the free technical support we offer.”

            Sold. Cut to two weeks later, after I have received the software. One feature doesn’t seem to work, so I e-mail Roxio’s technical support team, leave a message, and get a repair “ticket number,” along with the assurance that someone will get back to me shortly. Shortly is apparently a relative term, because it was two weeks before someone named “Todd” got back to me, via e-mail. He re-stated my problem to assure me we were on the same page – and then promptly gave me useless advice (he told me to download a software update that my software told me was unnecessary).

            Slightly confused and thinking I may have done something wrong, I telephoned Roxio and got a pleasant-sounding woman on the phone. After she took my ticket number, she asked me if I had Roxio 11. I said, “No, I just bought 10.”            

            There was silence at the other end of the line. “Well, I can’t help you then.”

            “Excuse me?”

           “I can’t help you. Roxio 11 was just released and we are only allowed to give free support for Roxio 11.”

            “But I just bought Roxio 10 a month ago!”


            “What happened to the free technical support I was promised?”

            “I don’t know, sir. I am not allowed to help you.”

            “But why didn’t the saleswoman tell me that Roxio 11 was about to be released? I could have waited.” Silence. “What about my free technical support.”

            “I don’t know. I can’t break the rules.”

            Then I played what I thought would be a trump card. “But I asked for the technical support before Roxio 11 was released. It’s not my fault that your guy took two weeks to get back to me.”

            “I don’t know what to tell you.”

            “Let me talk to your supervisor, please.”

            “Hold on one minute, sir.” I was put on hold, punished for my insolence in requesting help I was promised by eight minutes of mind-numbing elevator music.

            She finally came back. “Because of an escalation, a Tier 1 or Tier 2 will respond to you within 48 hours,” she said.

            “What?” I said. “What is an escalation?”

           “It has escalated beyond my level of knowledge,” she said, suddenly sounding a lot like the Robot on Lost in Space. And faster than you could say, “Warning, Will Robinson!” I knew I had had it. Hopelessly, I asked what a Tier 1 was. It’s the next step up, I was told, thinking, oh, it’s a fancy name for a supervisor, a title probably given in lieu of a pay raise or, more likely, to obscure the functionary’s responsibilities. As the Catholic Chuch learned long ago, in mystery, there is strength.

            “Can I help you with anything else, sir?”

            “You haven’t helped me with anything,” I said, hanging up with a sigh.

March 10, 2011