The Scamperbeasts Get Mail

And it’s from Time Warner Cable, offering them business class Internet. Damn it, Time Warner! You never offered me business class Internet!

It’s a lie anyway, as TWC doesn’t string out cable to where we are, otherwise I would have it and be rid of my appallingly slow 5mbps DSL from CenturyLink, which is indeed linked to a century, that century being the 20th.

Don’t get me started about rural Internet. We will be here all day. Literally, as it would take that long for the rant to load.


[connection lost]

44 Comments on “The Scamperbeasts Get Mail”

  1. One of my major grievances with internet (and other telecom) providers. If I can go to your website, put in my street address and find out what services you do and do not offer in seconds, why can’t your marketing do the same? Don’t send me advertisements for services you won’t sell me!

    And no, thinking to yourself, “ah, but when he calls for service X, we’ll just sell him lesser service Y instead!” No, no you won’t. Because if you can’t get your act together in an ad, I sure as hell don’t expect you to be able to provide any telecom service reliably. Advertisements should always outperform the actual service, otherwise what kind of unregulated capitalist dystopia are we even living in?

    It’s like they’re not even trying.

  2. Was it really addressed Dear Mr. Beasts? Isn’t that just address line #1.

    It looks to me like the letter is addressed to John Scalzi who happens to live at Scamper Beasts. Do they think it’s the name of your house? So instead of living at Palmyra, or Golden Eye, you live at Scamper Beasts; just what kind of a Bond villain are you?

  3. Maybe you should sign them up for credit cards. When the catnip bills come due, you could publicly shame the credit card company for allowing legal minors to obtain credit cards without parental permission. I’ve actually seen news stories about this happening.

    It occurs to me that a great plot for a “what if?” story would involve someone harvesting a long list of pet names so they could provide large campaign contributions to disfavored candidates, after which the news media would “accidentally” discover that said candidates were gaming the PAC system by inventing nonexistent people (i.e., pets) who would then contribute lavishly to the campaigns. I’m sure that would never happen in reality; it would be unethical and show a profound lack of good taste. Or maybe my Canadian is showing. *G*

    Speaking of unwanted credit, I used to remove all personal identifying info from credit card offers (which arrive at least weekly) and ship the material back to the company at their own expense using the postage-paid envelopes. I stopped when I realized (i) it was having absolutely no effect and (ii) my greenhouse karma was suffering badly.

  4. They may not lay free cable for you. But those kittens? Oh they will move mountains. Obviously TWC thinks you do not send enough kitten pictures through your pipes.

  5. We get ads like that all the time (though not for the cats) from a local cable provider. I was really excited about having a chance to switch away from TWC so I called them. They had no idea where I lived or what I was talking about. After about 25 minutes I was able to confirm that yeah, they don’t serve our neighborhood.

    What makes all this REALLY funny? Their dispatch hub is, literally, less than .1 miles outside our neighborhood.

    Ah well. Doesn’t matter now. The conduit and cables for Google Fiber have been laid in my town; we’re just waiting for them to flip the switch.

  6. I know all about rural Internet here in the Sierra foothills of Northern California. For the last two years our DSL would go out whenever it rained. I’d call AT&T to report it but by the time the technician came out it had stopped raining and there was no problem. Finally, this year, we’re actually getting multiple days of rain in a row so on my fourth call this season the technician was able to identify the location of the problem. He replaced the cable from our pole to two poles out. Now our terribly slow Internet connection is at least reliable.

  7. Mike, they probably think Scamper Beasts is the name of a business; I get things like that all the time. My band played two gigs at the National Air and Space Museum, 10 and 7 years ago, and to get paid you have to sign up as a federal contractor. You wouldn’t believe the number of business offers I continue to get. “We can help you sell your products to the federal government!!!” Sure. Sure you can. What product am I selling now?

    On the brighter side, I have a big pile of free samples of promotional pens. Which reminds me, I would totally buy ScamperBeasts pens if they made them.

  8. Frustrating, even more so when you realize the hold they have on us. Who has more than two provider choices, both of which try to outdo each other with claims like the one you got…

  9. DSL. i am laughing from my home in a place where there is *only dial-up*, which i finally cancelled after fourteen years of hoping for something AWESOME like DSL. living the dream, people. (this is a lie. i am actually laughing from my place of work, because i don’t even have *dial-up* at home, remember?)

  10. A friend of mine once got a credit card offer for her beloved feline. There was much speculation as to just what he might have been doing when no one was looking

  11. Heh, heh. Be grateful you don’t live in the SF Bay area where DSL download speeds are 0.6Mbps.

  12. Ah, yes, the fun of internet service providers. We were told by ours a month or so ago that we needed to upgrade our modem as the one we had was outdated. Okay, so they send us a new one. Never mind the half day it took, on the phone with tech support to get it installed and working, the speeds were about 1.5 times *slower* than the old one. Call back. “Oh, but that’s the best we can do in your area.”
    “Really? Because the old modem was giving us faster service.”
    “Oh, no, you can’t use that. It’s not being supported anymore.”
    “So we have to live with slower speed?”
    “Well, we can offer you fiber….”
    “No, you can’t. They didn’t put fiber on our street. We know. We watched them lay it on many of the surrounding streets, but they never put it in here.”
    “Oh. Well, I guess that what you have is what you can get.”
    Unlucky for them, we do have choice of providers, so we called the other guys. Two days later, we had their equipment, here and running, with about 2x faster speeds. It’s nuts.

  13. Tell me about it… I have one of the small satelite dishes that shoots my signal back to town. Less than 5mbps on a good day and I pay as much as my friends in town who have cable. GRRR!

    But, I do get to live a beautiful rural area!

  14. Mike, they probably think Scamper Beasts is the name of a business; I get things like that all the time.

    Yes, that must be it. So they think John is the head of IT for Scamper Beasts Inc., or is that the director of communications. Come to think of it, John is the director of communication and head of IT for Scamper Beasts Inc.

  15. I feel your pain . I live in a rural area and Time warner has cables ran on my road but they stop a mile from my house . They offered to run them to my house for only $25,000.

  16. We have TWC in a suburb of a large metropolitan area. They just replaced our modem with a modem/router combo – the only option available – that is the size of a 3 ring binder and is slower than our old modem. The replacement came about because the WiFi began to fail in the back of our house. Every conversation with every CSR and tech included the question “How big is your house?” to which we answered “The same size it was when the WiFi worked.” Is anybody surprised that the problem still isn’t fixed?

  17. Yeah, I’m actually surprised you get DSL. You have to be pretty close to a switching office for DSL.

  18. Living outside of Sidney, I feel your pain. Finally got to switch from Embarq/Centurylink about 3 months ago and will not go back.

  19. I was able to read this post SO FAST, thanks to my 75 Mbps (symmetrical) fiber optic connection from Verizon FiOS…

  20. Yes we have the same slow innernetz as OGH. It’s actually plenty fast except for the two or more 10 or 15 second gaps every minute. Every video we watch is buffering buffering buffering.
    And like SSteve above, we think it’s rain related. Technicians have been out several times, but they never find anything. Guess we need to ask them to come out in the rain.

    Also, dear Mr. Scalzi, I thought you had satellite internet? Did I just dream that?

  21. You all are making me once again appreciate that I now live in a place where Fios has made a major move to claim Comcast’s territory. My first two decades of cable were in One Provider Only Land, with Time Warner in New York, and then a couple of years here in Philly, being a tragic Comcast victim.

    Fios was motivated to give me super-fast internet at a cheap price for a 2-year contract. That comes up again in November, and I’m already plotting to leverage the threat of going back to Comcast. Both companies have wires running to my house, so switching back would be trivial. (I also have empty skies to the south of me, so even satellite is a reasonable–though not preferred–alternative.)

    I hope everyone else soon finds themselves in this fortunate position. Competition really is the soul of consumer benefit. The faster the FCC goes after monopolies and brings multiple options to everyone, the better.

  22. They may have sent that so you can give them some publicity.

    Can’t you get Sattelite Internet ? I heard that is really fast. The only issues is you can’t play games with it due to the delay getting to and from the satellite. I dont think you play online games.

  23. I live in the midst of the rainforest on a Pacific island and have 100Mbit optical internet. A conduit was needed to get the fibre from the power-pole a ways from the house to the house; the telco sent a couple of guys to dig a suitable trench and install it, no charge. All I did was drill the hole through the foundation (since I wouldn’t allow anyone else near it) and seal up afterwards. Fibre goes right to my server room. About $50/month equivalent.

  24. Yep, it’s our lot in rural life to have slow interwebs. Wait…. you get DSL?? Luuuccckkkkyyyy!!

  25. I had a friend and his wife that were lawyers and didn’t want their names in the telephone book to prevent people from calling them at home. However the also didn’t want to be completely unfindable or pay the rediculous fee to be unlisted so they signed their phone service up in the name of their dog. After that whenever they got calls for ‘Tiffany’ they just hung up and automatically filtered all the mail showing up for her into the recycling bin.

  26. Knology Cable in Columbus, Georgia holds the record for pissing me off more than any company I have ever had dealings with. To the point where, if they were the only company that offered internet service in my area, I would go without rather than ever give them another penny.

  27. Like another commenter, our internet would go out whenever it rained and also in the spring when the snow was melting really, really fast. Eventually the phone company, our internet provider, found a nick in the underground line between the pole and our house. They either mended it or replaced it; whatever, internet is now reliable. Until 11pm New Year’s Eve last month, when it went down completely. It took four days for a tech to get here and determine that the modem from the phone company was toast and to replace it.

    So now we too have blazingly fast 5mbps DSL just like you. Unlike you, however, the view from our windows is forest and lake, so common here in n.w. Wisconsin.

  28. Like (almost) everyone else, we have slow slow Internet here. The Mai,box has a new offer from Verizon FIOS about once a week, and I call and ask them to stop stuffing the mailbox until they bring FIOS to the neighborhood.

    The thing is, we are so not rural. Within the city limits of Boston, in fact. Just…in a neighborhood that Verizon doesn’t want to provide much to.

  29. CenturyLink always sounded to me like it should be the name of the marketing arm of a national association of rural telephone cooperatives.

  30. I live in rural CO near Allenspark with a Landline that doesn’t work because of lightning damage, phone company has agreed it’s their problem, but repairman doesn’t have parts, so it is satellite with data limits.

  31. @dreampodd: A friend of my sister’s just left everything in her parents’ name. So when telemarketers called and asked for that name, she’d just respond, “Oh, he’s dead.” Long, awkward pause and disconnect followed.

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