Thursday, August 05, 2004


When I woke up this morning there was no power in half of my house. That’s right, just half. John and I spent some time messing around with the circuit breaker, which, naturally, is in the part with no power. And, of course, all of our flashlight batteries are dead. Which meant I wasted a bunch of time, half asleep, trying to read the stupid circuit breaker with a lighter. And all for nothing, because apparently a broken circuit is not the problem.

So, then I did what every 33 year old does when they can’t solve a household problem – I called my mom. She didn’t really have anything helpful to add, so I called an electrician. The electrician said it was probably a Pepco problem. So I called Pepco, which has the stupidest system in the world for reporting problems. Here’s a reenactment for you:

Pepco: You have reached our outage line. For service, say “service”
Me: Service (imagine bitter, cranky early morning monotone)
Pepco: It sounds like you said “service.” Say “yes” if you are calling about a service problem.
Me: Yes! (impatient and a little pissy)
Pepco: You are unimportant to us, even though we charge you an insane amount of money each month. You have to call this other number.

New number
Pepco: You have reached our service line. Please listen to these 800 options and say what you want.
**long, annoying process of me making my way through the system**
Pepco: Please state your name. You have 10 seconds.
Me: Hilldery
Pepco: Please state your address. You have 10 seconds.
Me: 123 Main St.
Pepco: Please state the problem. You have 20 seconds.
Me: I only have power in half of my house and I tried the circuit breaker and the electrici-**click**
Pepco: A service ticket has been entered. Good bye.
**Dial tone**
Me: Hey! No! Fuck!

Call first number back.
Pepco: You have reached our outage line. For service, say “service”
**listen to long list of other options, none of which fit**
Me: (pushing 0 repeatedly) I want to speak to a fucking person! How about that you stupid voice recognition phone?
Pepco: It sounds like you said you’d like to speak to a person. If this is correct, say “Yes.”
Me: Yes! Yes!
**Wait on hold for customer service representative **

So, I finally got to talk to someone. He was very nice and sounded like Barry White. I kept expecting him to say “we’ll just take care of the problem, baby, and let you get back to making sweet, sweet love…” But he never did. He did confirm that there was a problem at my building and said someone would be on their way “soon.”

However, I should probably have gotten a more precise timeframe than “soon” because poor John is stuck at home with no air conditioning, no computer, no TV and no stereo. He can microwave food, but not use the stove or run the dishwasher. And no lights, except in the bathroom and bedroom. At least it’s not as hot today as it has been.

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