Marvin is experiencing a very modern problem, one that our great-grandparents would probably be unable to wrap their brains around. His new video baby monitor for his new baby doesn’t get along with his Verizon FiOS-issued wireless router. They use the same frequency. That means that when his baby goes to bed, so do his Internet speeds. There’s a potential solution to this issue: get a newer router that operates on a different frequency. Verizon has them in stock, but not for Marvin. They’re only for new customers, not for him. His best option right now: to pay $130 to upgrade to one of the new routers. Which he still won’t own.
In this week’s New Yorker, James Surowiecki takes a brief look at customer service in America these days, and offers up some theories to explain why it sucks. Most of it is stuff you’ve probably already seen: it’s a cost center and therefore an attractive target when cutting expenses; bargain pricing makes it impossible; current attempts to make it more “efficient” just make it worse. But the real problem, he says, is that maybe companies are too concerned with the customers they don’t have.