Assuming the worst

Last week, our DirectTV video recorder was malfunctioning. We couldn’t watch our recorded programs. We knew it was the recorder, but DirectTV insisted on sending out repairmen to check the cables. They changed what they said were old cables and left. That night, same thing, recorded programs malfunctioned. We called DirectTV only to be told that our case was “escalated” to the Case Manager, and he was the only person who could help us. He didn’t have a direct number so he would have to call us back. They said he would call within two hours. Two hours came and went. No return call. We called again. Same story: the Case Manager was the only person who could help us, he didn’t have a direct number and he would call us within two hours. Two hours came and went again. No return call. We called again.

This scenario repeated itself for two days, and we made eight calls to Direct TV. The people who answered were in various places-Texas, South Carolina, Mississippi, and it sounded like India. They even scheduled an exact time that the Case Manager would call us. Still, no call. I was getting louder and more insistent each time I called. Even calm Ron was getting agitated. After all, we were long-time clients of DirectTV, and we pay for their “protection insurance.” How could they treat us like this? What kind of an outfit is this? They don’t care about their customers. They don’t care about me! We had every bad opinion about this company that was possible.

Two days passed and they still hadn’t called. And they wouldn’t let us get to this mysterious Case Manager. I was imagining a room full of 20-year-olds cracking jokes and goofing off. To vent my outrage, I wrote complaints about DirectTV on various sites on the internet. Ron even called a competitor to see about signing up with them. After all, an important Angel’s baseball game was coming up and it simply cannot be watched without being able to fast forward through the commercials.

Finally, I had had enough. I called the billing department of DirectTV to cancel our service with them. As I was on the phone with the billing department, our other phone rang. It was the CASE MANAGER from DirectTV! He told me, “We have been trying to call you for days but we haven’t been able to get through.” He said patiently, “This is what we hear when we call,” and he let me hear a recorded message. It was a pleasant female voice saying, “Sorry, your call has been blocked.” Well, we have a phone system that has a community “blacklist,” which if you turn it on, it blocks telemarketing type calls. Apparently, it read the DirectTV number as a telemarketer and blocked the calls from the Case Manager all the while that we were complaining that he didn’t call. Fortunately, the Case Manager found our other telephone number through diligent research on his part and was finally able to reach us. The very next day, we had a new video recorder, sent by overnight mail.

I was mortified and, with my tail between my legs, I went back on the internet and issued written apologies for dissing DirectTV. But, the moral of this story is-don’t assume that you know what’s going on until you have all the facts! How quickly we rushed to judgment, because the situation fed right into our biased prejudice that corporations are out to get us, and are the faceless enemy. How often have we assumed someone is upset with us because of their demeanor, when they actually are just having a bad day. We adopt the belief that we have done something wrong or that they don’t like us because it feeds our own self-diminishing feelings. The Guides address this so eloquently in this month’s Study Group Reading.

It has been said that to assume makes an ass of u and me. Couldn’t have said it better myself!

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4 Responses to Assuming the worst

  1. jill silverstein says:

    what a wonderful example of “being human” and taking responsibility for our actions in a proper manner.
    Thank you so much for sharing this with us.

  2. Susan, point well taken. But let’s also give you integrity credit, because you immediately did all you can to make things right — including this blog post.

    Even when we know better, people can assume the worst. I think it speaks volumes about you how you responded after making the mistake. IMHO, that way of caring and automatic integrity was so Susan!

    With love,


  3. Kelly Skrimstad says:

    Dearest Susan, Yes, this a great lesson in not assuming the worst, and yes, also for taking responsibility for your premature judgement and actions taken in response to just how little this corporation cared for you. I know yours and Ron’s egos are strong enough to handle my bringing up the insight I found strongest within your shared experience … That we so greatly exagerate the “badness” of something so trivial as having to watch a baseball game without fast forwarding through the commercials! Please do nat take offense, as you know there are no two people who I love and admire more than you and Ron, but I am here to tell you that it CAN be done, and even with out misery. At this time of Thanksgiving, especially, it’s a story like this that so poiniently illiustrates the level of luxury we truly come to expect in our every day lives. Of course you had every right to expect perfect service from Direct TV, as you were paying for it, right? However, (add a spon full of sugar, as needed, :^) as you consider just how much less painful the entire experience would have been, had you taken a step back and considered that in your life (of course, filled with many challenges, but also filled with many, many blessings) the REAL badness in this situation was actually created by yourselves.

    I point this out, not as a know it all, but as a fellow student in this same school.

    Playfully speaking.



  4. Lisa Monette says:

    I was missing my man…He wanted space alone….I couldnt stand not to finally hear his voice after 5 days so I went to call my boyfriend who is up north on a spitual retreat. His phone answered by accident and i heard him say to a woman at 8:45 in the morning “what do you want to do today?” Becuase of past events in my life i assumed the worst…i got upset….I come to find out he was at a beautiful new couple he had met at the retreat who invited him into his home instead of a cold hotel while they were in the seminar together……I too learned a lesson that my imigination conversation makes up things. We had a wonderful loved filled talk after and this brought us closer!

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