Thursday, March 22, 2007

A Lot of Energy for Nothing

Previously, I posted that we'd had some very disappointing results from our cable internet service. The whole mess seems to have come to a relatively quick and unceremonious end. A cable installer showed up, removed the Linksys cable modem they'd installed and a few cables and left in about 10 minutes time.

It felt strange because we spent an hour and a half with the salesman questioning him about the service before it was installed, spent over 6 hours getting it installed and working, and then spent days trying to get someone to do something about canceling it. There was so much energy put into the process and it was all gone in minutes.

It rather reminds me of some of the things that used to happen at my former job because salespeople would often over-promise or communicate in an unclear manner with their clients. For instance, the client would request a 10 hour in-company lesson on travel English. The salesman would tell the client we could do that with no problem.

Of course, we didn't have a travel English course so my boss and I would bust a gut trying to get one written quickly. Usually, we'd need to finish one hour of content by the next day so the salesman would be able to send off a sample and then rush the rest over the next week. The salesman would send off the sample and the client would sit on his hands before saying anything about it. We'd put everything on the back burner and push to finish the rest of the course.

One or two days before our deadline, the client would say his company changed its mind and didn't want it after all and everything we did was a complete waste of time and energy. A week or so of frantic work would end with one phone call from a client. Again, it was a lot of energy for nothing.

I'm not sure if this sort of thing happens everywhere or if it just happens in Japan because of the ambiguity of communication. I'm guessing it happens anywhere that salespeople have quotas they want to meet and are indifferent to the costs to the company when they waste the time of the staff responsible for assembling or creating the product.


Luis said...

As I've mentioned to you over the years, you should really update your ADSL every year or two. When I heard you were still on the 1.5 Mbps plan I was surprised--that's been out of date for years now. When the ISP upgrades to new levels, they usually offer the faster service at the same price, and since they rent yo the modem/router as part of the service, usually it's just a question of signing up for the new service and swapping out the equipment--you get significantly faster service for about the same amount of money. ADSL is now up to 50 Mbps, and since you guys are so close to an NTT center, you will probably have almost no signal degradation. If you haven't yet, you really should switch over.

Shari said...

To me, updating our DSL every few years just to keep "up to date" is tantamount to deciding to fill up your plate at an all you can eat buffet just because you can and not because you believe you can actually eat it all. If it's more than you need, what's the point?

Up until your brother started using a web cam, we didn't really feel our bandwidth was inadequate. While it may be free to upgrade, it may not be. I'm pretty sure that I've learned by now to err on the side of not expecting anyone to do anything for free.

Our initial DSL modem cost 35,000 yen (it was not something we could rent) and it's not an investment we care to needlessly repeat or toss out for the sake of keeping up with current high end speeds.

In the case of the cable situation, remember we were promised 30 Mbps *and* would have paid 2000 yen less per month compared to NTT (even if it's the same price for 50 Mbps as 1.5, we'd probably take 30 Mbps for 2000 yen a month less as we aren't rolling in cash these days). Since 30 Mbps (if it actually had been that) would have been more than sufficient, that looked pretty good. It only failed because we were so egregiously lied to. Who knew?

We'll likely look into some sort of upgrade but we're not looking to jump back into that frying pan any time in the immediate future.

Nanny Haha said...

Even though I was gritting my teeth through both of your cable horror story posts, I have to say it's amusing to see that this kind of story which is SUCH a caricature of stories in America (I don't know a SINGLE person who has had a smooth situation with getting cable/internet/satellite, etc installed in their homes) apparently is a universal phenomenon. My former boss had by far one of THE worst stories I have ever heard when he tried to get satellite installed in his home (one of the incidents involved the techs showing up to his house DRUNK from a late lunch break--I'm not making this up). And I certainly think that many Americans have horror stories about salesmen making promises that were simply lies, lies and more...lies.

As always, I love your stories!

mjgolli said...

Your blog is great! I've been spending a number of evenings reading it...

Anyhow, if you go over to, you can see the horrible problems people over here in the states have with DSL/Cable/etc. So, you are definitely not alone.

I thank God for my small, local ISP that got me 6 Mbps DSL cheap. I even switched my company's internet over to their service over T-1 as well! Super service, that.

...and I have never had a problem out of my DirecTV satellite service...because I installed it all myself! :) Not to brag or anything.

- Mike (mjgolli)

Shari said...

Mike, thanks so much for your kind words (music to my ego!).

I'm very pleased to hear that you have had a good experience (though less pleased to hear others have had experiences as bad as mine). I don't think it's bragging at all to say you have great service. I think it's nice to hear the accolades when we generally only hear about the complaints.