These days, calling a customer service number and getting connected to an actual human rather than an automated answering machine can seem like a novelty. But sometimes it can turn into a nightmare — as proven by tech journalist Ryan Block's call to Comcast on Monday, during which he was berated by the customer service rep when he called to cancel his service.
Despite Block's simple, calm request to end his Comcast service, the rep refuses to do so, instead repeatedly demanding a reason for his cancellation. The rep also forcefully insists that Comcast is the top-rated service in the country. Listen for yourself:
Comcast issued a statement yesterday apologizing for the behavior of their rep (whom Block declined to name to the public), assuring that "the way in which our representative communicated with [Block and his wife] is unacceptable and not consistent with how we train our customer service representatives."
However, today Block dug up a fascinating Reddit thread detailing Comcast's incentives programs that seem to in fact encourage this type of relentless behavior. The thread's poster, who claims to have worked for Comcast Corporate for nearly nine years, reveals that Comcast's so-called "retention specialists" are paid in accordance with how many customers they do — or don't — save.
Comcast uses "gates" for their incentive pays, which means that if you fall below a certain threshold (which tend to be stretch goals in the first place) then instead of getting a reduced amount, you get 0$. Let's say that if you retain 85 percent of your customers or more (this means 85 percent of the lines of businesses that customers have when they talk to you, they still have after they talk to you), you get 100 percent of your payout — which might be 5-10$ per line of business. At 80 percent you might only get 75 percent of your payout, and at 75 percent you get nothing. The CAEs (customer service reps) watch these numbers daily, and will fight tooth and nail to stay above the "I get nothing" number. This guy went too far, you're not supposed to flat out argue with them. But Comcast literally provides an incentive for this kind of behavior. [Reddit]
And with that, we wish you good luck in your next customer service call. Kimberly Alters
Jailed Kentucky county clerk Kim Davis will reportedly appeal her contempt of court ruling and has no plans to resign as Rowan County clerk, her lawyer said Friday. Davis, who was sent to jail Thursday after a judge found her in contempt of court for defying the Supreme Court's order to issue same-sex marriage licenses, says she has a "clean conscience."
Though a deputy clerk began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples in Davis' absence Friday, her attorney asserted that the licenses are void because she didn't authorize them. Samantha Rollins
Only in America: University professors threaten to give bad grades to students who use 'offensive' language, like 'male' and 'female'
Washington State University professors have warned students that using "oppressive and hateful language" such as "male," "female," and "illegal immigrant" will result in bad grades. But administrators promised to ensure that no student will be punished for "using terms that may be deemed offensive to some."
In a Friday interview with NBC News' Andrea Mitchell, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton once again refused to apologize for using a private email server during her tenure as secretary of state. "I'm sorry this has been confusing to people and has raised a lot of questions," Clinton said.
While she admitted a personal server "wasn't the best choice," she maintained that she never knowingly broke the law. "This was fully above board, people knew I was using a personal email, I did it for convenience," Clinton said. "I sent emails that I thought were work related to people's dot gov accounts."
Jellyfish are "hypnotizing to watch," writes BlessThisStuff, so why not let them hypnotize you in your home or office? The Pulse 80 Jellyfish Aquarium ($1300) was designed with the special needs of jellyfish in mind, and it lets a human operator play with lighting effects. A remote control that governs the LED system lets you choose among thousands of colors and set the brightness and timing for flashes or color shifts. The aquarium is handmade from scratch-resistant cast acrylic and features a low-maintenance filtration system and an Italian-made pump designed to be virtually silent while operating.
A Georgia school district is investigating the mass baptism of its high school football players just before practice. A video showing the baptism appeared on a Baptist church's website, with the caption: "See how God is STILL in our schools." A spokeswoman for the Freedom From Religion Foundation said the coach was illegally misusing his authority "to promote his personal religious agenda.'' School district officials said they would "take appropriate steps."
Martin O'Malley wants the U.S. to accept as many as 13 times the number of Syrian refugees it currently plans to take in. The former Maryland governor and Democratic presidential candidate called Friday for the U.S. to up its plans to accept between 5,000 to 8,000 immigrants to "at least 65,000 Syrian refugees by the end of 2016." O'Malley cited the photos of 3-year-old Aylan Kurdi, who washed up dead on a Turkish beach after a failed attempt to sail from Turkey to Greece, for stirring his moral obligation to urge Americans to do more to help some four million Syrian refugees.
"Americans are a generous and compassionate people. But today our policies are falling short of those values," O'Malley said in a statement. "If Germany — a country with one-fourth our population — can accept 800,000 refugees this year, certainly we — the nation of immigrants and refugees — can do more."
As Europe faces an influx of migrants from Africa, Afghanistan, and the Middle East — a record 107,500 migrants entered the European Union in July alone — O'Malley contends that Americans are "not immune from the injustices and tragedies that unfold outside our borders." So far, according to numbers from the International Rescue Committee (IRC) reported by Newsweek, only 1,541 Syrian refugees have arrived in the U.S. Becca Stanek
The media is back at it with its "gotcha" questions, according to Donald Trump, and this time they're from conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt. In a live radio interview Thursday discussing U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East, Hewitt prompted Trump to name the leaders of ISIS, Iran's Quds Force, Hezbollah, the al-Nusra Front, and al Qaeda.
Trump's response: He didn't know — yet. "You know, I'll tell you honestly, I think by the time we get to office, they'll all be changed. They'll all be gone," Trump said in the interview. The Independent notes that Hezbollah has had the "same Secretary General for the past 23 years."
The interview went further downhill when, after Trump mixed up the Quds Force and the Kurds, Hewitt corrected him. Of course, Trump isn't one to admit defeat, so he took to MSNBC's Morning Joe Friday to lash out at Hewitt and call him a "third-rate radio announcer."
"When you say Kurds vs. Quds, I thought he said 'Kurds,'" Trump said. "And it was like 'got you, got you, got you,' and every question is, 'do I know this one, and that one.' You know he worked hard on that."