Thursday, June 17, 2004

Sorry, We're Closed

I mentioned the other day that I was thinking about digital cable. I have a few questions about it, and I'd like to get a brochure or something that outlines the different packages and pricing options, so I stopped by the local Time Warner Cable office yesterday on my way home from work.


Once upon a time, the office used to have extended hours on Wednesdays. I know this because I've taken advantage of it on a couple of occasions. When I did, there were always a couple of other people in there at the same time, also taking advantage of the extended hours. For some reason, though, they apparently decided to discontinue the practice. They're now open Monday through Friday 9:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

I happen to work Monday through Friday 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. In Toledo. About half an hour's drive from Bowling Green. This pretty much precludes the idea of me visiting the office.

This bothers me, and it bothers me a lot. Sure, Time Warner Cable has a customer service line that I can call, and it's probably available 24 hours a day. The problem is that the call is answered, I think, at the regional office, and someone I doubt that someone in Dayton (or wherever) is going to be able to answer my questions that specifically involve my service in Bowling Green.

This is why I hate the concept of "business hours." Being open from 8:00 to 5:00 is great if you're a business that deals primarily with other businesses (as we do here where I work), but a cable company deals primarily with home users. I can't understand how they survive, given that the majority of their customers are probably at work during the same hours they're open (as I am), but I guess it's working for them, seeing as how they eliminated the one night a week they did have extended hours.

These hours aren't exactly uncommon, either. Banks, post offices, and car dealership service departments also generally limit themselves to "business hours," and I'm sure there are plenty of others. It's so inconvenient. The bank doesn't matter so much to me, but the others are a real pain. Each time I move (which I do, on average, once per year) I have to fill out a change of address form, and I can't do it at the post office because of their hours. I have to do it online, which is possible...for a fee. I had some minor car trouble this morning that I'd like to have checked out by a Dodge dealership, but I can't--they're booked until next Tuesday, and since they have limited hours, I'd have to drop it off and leave it for at least a whole day. Seriously, if I had a major problem, how in the hell could I go without a car through next week?

It seems to me that if the powers-that-be wanted to stimulate the economy, one place to start would be with a proposal that would somehow encourage places like this to keep extended hours. It would create more jobs and put more money into the economy, as consumers would be more able and willing to spend their money at these places if they were open when they could actually visit them.

At any rate, I'm not sure now what I'm going to do about the cable. Most likely I'll just stick with the regular cable I have, at least until I move into my new place in August. That would actually be a good time to switch, as I'll have to have a technician out anyway. I might as well upgrade while I'm at it.

I just hope their appointment times are more flexible than their office hours.

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