Rotten to the core? Don’t get this columnist started on ‘Gomcast’
Today, I’m going to tell you a completely true story.
However, as everything I am about to tell you is not only true but deeply embarrassing, the names have been changed to protect the sheepish. For purposes of this column, this happened to a friend of mine — whom we’ll call “Bob” — and his beautiful wife, “June.” The story also involves an evil company that, to avoid any potential legal repercussions, we’ll simply refer to as “Gomcast.”
Once upon a time, Bob and June were Gomcast subscribers. Now, if I told you the type of business Gomcast is in, you would probably be able guess the actual name of the company, as it has a virtual monopoly on its particular products and/or services. So let’s just pretend that Gomcast is in the business of providing all manner of “fruits and vegetables” to the general public.
For some time now, Bob and June have been getting their “apples” from Gomcast. In the beginning, they were paying about $39 a month for these apples, but in the last couple of years, the company has rapidly been raising the price of produce to the point where it is now $69 a month.
Expensive? Yes. But Bob and June need access to these apples to be able to enjoy other luxuries like video streaming, email and surfing the interweb. And the speed with which Gomcast delivers its apples, in terms of “bites” per second, was pretty darned good — especially compared to the other primary apple provider in this neck of the woods, whom we’ll call “CenturyBlink.”
So, Bob and June weren’t exactly overjoyed with Gomcast’s apple prices, but their alternatives were limited.
And then, about a month ago, Bob got a call from “Tiffany” (also not her real name), a friendly sales representative with some exciting new offers from Gomcast.
See, in addition to apples, Gomcast also sells “oranges” to the public. And for years the company had been trying, unsuccessfully, to get Bob to “bundle” his apple and orange purchases. (Gomcast had also been trying to sell Bob carrots for his home, but these days most everybody has dumped their home carrots and just uses mobile carrots…)
Bob told Tiffany he didn’t have much use for oranges or carrots, but if she could do something about lowering his monthly apple bill, he’d be very interested. Regretfully, Tiffany said she couldn’t do that. But she did offer him the next best thing.
“What if,” she said, “I could get you both apples AND oranges for the exact same price you’re currently paying for just apples?”
Bob took the bait. Which is where the trouble began.
As it turned out, the new deal was only for what Gomcast calls the “Limited Basic” orange package. It gave Bob and June roughly the same number of oranges they were already getting for free from a produce provider they’d affectionately nicknamed “Rabbit Ears.” If they wanted more citrus in their diet, they’d need to step up to something called the “Expanded Basic” orange package for $10 more a month.
But wait, there’s more. Because the old Rabbit Ears provided high-definition oranges, whereas Gomcast offered only regular-def oranges. If Bob and June wanted HD oranges, they’d have to pay another $10 a month to rent a special box for carrying those oranges.
Suddenly, apples and oranges were now going to cost $89 a month, $20 more than the “exact-same-price” deal they’d been promised.
Plus which, imagine Bob’s shock when their first Gomcast bill came, and it wasn’t for $89, but $137.77 — almost $50 more!
Yeah, OK. Bob might be the only guy on the planet who didn’t see that one coming.
So, a frustrated Bob went on the Gomcast website and did a live text chat with a company representative named Nikita. This is the only name we haven’t changed in this story — mostly because we’re fairly certain “Nikita” is already not this person’s real name.
Nikita explained that Bob and June were indeed getting their apples and oranges for the same price as their apples, but that oranges carried additional monthly fees and taxes — among them a $9.83 “Broadcast TV fee,” a $5.80 “Regional Sports Fee” and several other indecipherable monthly charges.
Forty-five frustrating minutes later, Nikita hadn’t satisfactorily answered a single one of Bob’s billing questions. She had, however — with her cryptic, “How may I helping you?” responses — successfully managed to make Bob start questioning whether he hadn’t been conjugating verbs incorrectly this whole time.
Defeated, Bob gave up and resorted to whining and complaining to his Facebook friends about Gomcast’s broken promises. Meanwhile a much more practical June made a quick visit to the local Gomcast office in Layton. (Oops! Make that “Flayton.”) And in just a few minutes of face-to-face contact with an actual human being, June was able to do what Bob couldn’t in nearly an hour with La Femme Nikita.
Not only was June able to cancel the orange package, allowing Bob and June to go back to their original apples-only plan, but she actually got Gomcast to drop the price of those apples by a whopping $20 a month. Which is all Bob wanted in the first place.
Well, now. How do you like them apples?
Contact Mark Saal at 801-625-4272 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at @Saalman. Like him on Facebook at facebook.com/SEMarkSaal.