Man Develops Cobwebs Waiting For Verizon FiOS To Lookup His Address

It should not take numerous minutes for Verizon to look up John’s address just to see if he might be eligible for FiOS. All told it took them 27 minutes just to locate his address and say, nope, you can’t get FiOS. So he served them by talking trash about their database. Oh snap!


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  1. Alvis says:

    I used to database, but now we’re engaged.

  2. McRib wants to know if you've been saved by the Holy Clown says:

    Indexes? In MY database?

  3. deejmer says:

    The lack of timestamps in the screenshot don’t really make me think “OMG”. Was it 2 minutes? 87 minutes?

  4. Bativac says:

    Am I missing something?

    Sometimes where I work, we have technical difficulties and can’t look up customer information…

    • goodpete says:

      This is a surprisingly computer-science-y post for Consumerist.

      Let’s say you had a biology book and I asked you to find me information on cats. You would look to the index, under “C” (for “cats”) and then you would look at the page numbers and flip to the right page. There is no need for you to search the entire book page by page.

      A computer database works the same way, but often has many indexes. An index is an ordered list of certain data that contains references to that data’s locations in the larger database. It could be customer first names, customer last names, customer addresses, phone numbers, or all of the above.

      So if you are looking for “Pete” in your costumer database, you would use an index of customer first names in order to find all the entries with the first name of “Pete.” Using some fun math, a computer can perform this “search” on a properly indexed database nearly instantly, regardless of how large the database is (even if it is 10,000,000,000 records).

      If your database doesn’t have an index, it’s a bit like if your Biology book doesn’t have an index. The computer must check every single entry in that database until it finds the one in question. For a database with even a few million records, this can take seconds, or even minutes to do (as opposed to the milliseconds taken on a properly indexed database).

      So now you get the joke.

      You may laugh.


      • Anathema777 says:

        But there’s no indication that the lack of indexes were causing the problem before John brought it up…

        • Kate says:

          true, and I would doubt that a customer service rep would have any clue what an indexed database even is.

      • vastrightwing says:

        Yes, ‘cept most enterprise databases can do full table scans of millions of rows (with multiple table joins) in under a few seconds. Perhaps the IT department at Verizon has a similar problem with designing database schemas and queries as they do math in trying to figure out the difference between point O two cents and two cents.

    • HalOfBorg says:

      Maybe the server or whatever with the database was having a personal moment or three. Or someone in IT was updating something or other. It happens.

  5. Hi_Hello says:

    the CSR doesn’t control the database…. but add/search and edit..maybe record. all they can do is tell the database guy that’s it’s slow.

    my guess they spell the address wrong or enter something that got it all confused.

  6. goodpete says:

    What, that O(n) search of a 50 million row table isn’t fast enough?

    • Stickdude says:

      Back when I was your age, we used unsorted flat files created with a hex editor. And we liked it!

      You kids and your fancy-schmancy databases… Sheesh!

  7. GuyGuidoEyesSteveDaveâ„¢ says:

    Am I missing a meme reference here?

  8. nakkypoo says:

    I don’t get it. What did the CSR do wrong? It looks to me like “John” was condescending while “Janet” was doing her job. What’s next for Consumerist? Traffic signals that take too long to turn green?

    Oh snap indeed.

  9. ParingKnife ("That's a kniwfe.") says:

    Hi! I was wondering if you could set up service for me, my name is, Robert’): DROP TABLE Customers;

  10. benh999 says:

    Translation: I was in the can.

  11. Cheap Sniveler: Sponsored by JustAnswer.comâ„¢ says:

    Better than what Qwest did to me. After being on hold for 30 minutes, they told me my address didn’t exist. Really? ‘Cause I’m here in it right now. The house has been here for at least 30 years, too, judging by the worn out ’70’s shag carpet. And the last people were here for 2 years, and THEY had a phone!

    • TalKeaton: Every Puzzle Has an Answer! says:

      Yeah, Comcast pulled that with me too. Said my address didn’t exist. Which, to a certain degree, it doesn’t. We have four apartments occupying two address numbers; 58 and 62. Depending on who I talk to, neither or both exist, but the technical address for the building is “58-62”, and they won’t take that.

      Then they apparently tried to drive out to the apartment while I was at work; they said they found 60, but no 58 or 62. 60 does not exist whatsoever.


    • theyoungandthebetrayed says:

      I had trouble ordering dry loop dsl from AT&T because they said my address didn’t exist. I finally spoke to someone that said “3rd St” in their system is “3d St”, no r. Funny how they never bothered to tell any of their CSRs.

    • Polish Engineer says:

      I had a similar experience.

      When I switched apartments first call to Comcast reveals I can’t activate my service because someone else already has an account at my address. The previous tenant needed to tell Comcast they had moved out before I could have service.

      Skip forward one week. The next call to Comcast reveals that they don’t provide service at my address. The rep wasn’t sure how my address could be locked by another person’s account while simultaneously off the Comcast network.

  12. acrobaticrabbit says:

    yeah. uh. I don’t get it. Am I missing something? Where’s the “oh snap”?

  13. TIJAG says:

    waste of the space. next time just post pictures of cute cats. at least then it will give us something to smile about.

  14. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    Sad that everyone complains about the low brow lame articles that get posted here, and then no one understands the knowledge-based joke when it’s posted.

    Maybe Consumerist posts articles worthy of comments such as “New Break: Water is Wet” because we just can’t take the smart ones.

    (Note: I didn’t get the joke either)

    • Red Cat Linux says:

      I got the joke, as apparently several other posters did, but I just didn’t see it as that funny. Had the chat CSR been throwing half-arsed technobabble at him and he responded that way, I would have thought it was an ‘Oh snap’ moment.

      Janet is just stuck waiting for her damn screen to update.

  15. PhiTauBill says:

    Not sure that the screenshot captures the point of the article, but FIOS’s service avialability search is both painfully slow and very inaccurate. Also, it’s pointless to actually request that they notify by email you when the FIOS service becomes available for your address, because it nevers actually lets you know… you’re better off calling them, or watching your street for FIOS trucks. I’ve been at 2 addresses where service became available after I made the request, and I never received an email. I am now at a 3rd address, and this article reminds me I had better check again, as I have ZERO faith they’ll actually email me when FIOS comes to my neighborhood.

    • NeverLetMeDown says:

      System worked for me. I registered, and then got an email from them a few months later that FiOS was available at my address. Three days later, there’s a posting in the elevator informing tenants that FiOS is available.

  16. Cosmo_Kramer says:

    FYI, “lookup” is a noun, not a verb.

  17. Gruppa says:

    Maybe his name is John’); DROP TABLE Customers;–

    Little Johnny Tables we call him.

  18. arualflower says:

    If it had been 3 minutes the CSR should have stated they were having difficulties and thanked them for waiting, and updated every 5 minutes or so.

  19. BETH says:

    I don’t understand this article at all.

    For future reference, it’s “look up,” not “lookup.”

  20. rndmnmbr says:

    If they’re using the system I think they are, I have several friends who work at a call center that uses the same system. It’s a horribly broken system from some big-name software company. It’s quite literally faster to manually page through the address list than it is to use the search function.

  21. pjstevens77 says:

    Top 10 Worst stories ever. this isn’t even post worthy

  22. khooray says:

    God, where is the LIKE button? The Consumerist really needs one.