...it's not dark yet, but it's gettin' there...

January 09, 2007

The Big Stink

The "big stink" yesterday in New York reminds me of a go-around I had with a snotty PG&E representative a few years ago. I had just moved into a new apartment.

Me: "Yes, I'm calling to report a gas leak."

PG&E rep: "How do you know there's a gas leak?"

Me: "I can smell it."

PG&E rep: "Okay, what do you smell?"

Me: "Gas."

PG&E rep: "Describe the smell for me."

Me: "It smells like gas. Are you going to send someone out or not?"

PG&E rep: "I need to first verify if there's a problem."

Me: "There is. I have a gas leak."

PG&E rep: "Does it smell like rotten eggs?"

Me: "I... I've never smelled rotten eggs. I don't know. It smells like gas."

PG&E rep: "Natural gas is odorless."

Me: "But I've smelled gas before and this is what it smells like."

PG&E rep: "You can't smell natural gas. It's odorless."

Me: "But I smell gas."

PG&E rep: "For safety reasons, we put a chemical in the gas in order to make it detectable."

Me: "Alright, then I smell the chemical you put in the gas in order to make it detectable."

PG&E rep: "Okay, does it smell like rotten eggs?"

Me: "Look, I have no idea what a rotten egg smells like. I don't know what kind of home you grew up in, but in my family we didn't keep a lot of rotten eggs around the house."

PG&E rep: "I'm sorry ma'am, but we get a lot of false alarms and I can't send anyone over to your house unless I can verify whether there's a gas leak."

Me: "Well, how else would I know I have a gas leak other than by smelling gas? What is it about 'I smell gas' that you don't understand..."

This went on for a few minutes longer and finally the a-hole relented and sent a repairman out. Turns out that the guy next door had died and his stove was leaking gas like crazy. In all honesty, I might have been smelling gas odor mixed with dead guy. But I suppose if I had said that, my call would have been transferred to the coroner's office instead.

Posted by annika, Jan. 9, 2007 | TrackBack (0)
Rubric: annik-dotes


I smell dead people.

Posted by: Casca on Jan. 9, 2007


Posted by: reagan80 on Jan. 9, 2007

Wait, wait, wait... the service rep didn't take a report of a possible gas leak seriously?? Holy shit, that guy needed to be fired. I hope you're in a different city and don't have to deal with that company anymore. Few years ago or not, I wouldn't trust them ever again.

If that happened to me, I'd've called the Fire Department, had them verify the leak, and then (after the dust settled and the leak got fixed) I'd have called the utility back and BITCHED a supervisor out in full bellow. Bogus calls are a stupid excuse. Have the gas company do caller ID, then sue the dumbasses making prank calls, but take the damn reports seriously when you get 'em. Sorry, but unless it's patently obvious that it's a prank (like, it's a little kid calling, and he can't stop giggling), blowing a report like that off is BULLS***.

And there really was a gas leak in your case. That guy needs to have been formally reprimanded for that. Bulls***, bulls***, bulls***, he gave a stupid excuse!

I hate intentional incompetence, especially when something seriously tragic could end up happening because of it.

Posted by: ElMondoHummus on Jan. 9, 2007

I just had a recent encounter with AT&T regarding my new DSL service. After the first rain of the year my DSL went down and then would down and back up several times an hour. I called their automated service line and pushed twelve buttons, said 'yes' 'no' a few more times before I talked to someone with a pulse. Can you describe your problem, she asked?

Yes, I have a bad phone line between my house and your bee box (technicians term) at the end of my road. I have had trouble on this line for three years and every time it rains I have static on my line, I have had six SBC/AT&T technicians tell me the same thing. You guys have a 25 pair and there are no more cable pairs left on the cable feeder.

Well, lets do a little trouble shooting on your end to make sure the problem isn't there, she says.

I just told you what the trouble is.

Lets make sure.

I am sure.

Well Sir, if we send a tech out to your house and the trouble is inside, we will have to charge you for a service call.

Mam, I am a telecommunications technician myself, I have been 10 years, I have the same equipment your tech has, I have sat stood over your tech's shoulder and watched him test your line and had him tell me that AT&T should replace this span of cable ten years ago, but send out your tech and we will go through this again.

To my surprise and relief, a tech I used to work with at another company 10 years ago showed up driving his AT&T van. I told him what I was going through and he swapped pairs on their cable and now my DSL is running fine.

I know these folks have a script they follow with questions to ask you, but can we just skip down to part where you get you a$$ out here and fix the problem I have with your service?

I guess not.

Posted by: Yolo Cowboy on Jan. 10, 2007

Hey Yolo! That same situation happened to me with Verizon DSL, except it took about ten hours over three weeks for me to get past the Indian operators and on to the supervisor here in the USA who diagnosed the problem and fixed it in about 5 minutes.

Posted by: annika on Jan. 10, 2007