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The cable van stopped in front of Ayleen Klein’s apartment at 7:55am, five minutes before the scheduled appointment window. The repairman whistled happily up the walkway and punched the apartment number into the intercom. He held a jug of ice cold lemonade by his side.
“What’s this bullshit?” said Klein through the intercom. “You don’t work for the cable company. Those asshats don’t show up on time. What are you, some kind of weird sex criminal? Take your willy down the block, son. This house is a no burrito zone.”
“Good morning, Ms. Klein! I’m Kal Thomas, from your cable provider. I’m on time because we’re working hard to do a better job! We want you to be happy with our service! Would you care for some lemonade?”
“What are you, some kind of clever gang rapist?” said Klein. “To hell with your lemonade. Go find somebody else to run a train on, Kal. I’m too smart for this.”
It took nearly two hours to convince the customer that Thomas was indeed a repairman and not a business casual gangbanger attempting to case her house for a robbery. Four other neighbors also called the police on Thomas, incorrectly describing the short, pudgy Caucasian man from Iowa as “armed with nuclear fallout” and “built like a jihadist.”
Thomas was even patient and polite when police made him remove all his clothing to ensure there weren’t explosives hidden between his buttocks. This politeness made residents even more nervous. No one from the cable company could be this nice.
“Drown that weird catfishing piece of shit in the river!” screamed Todd Flarn, a bored senior citizen meandering around his front porch. “A real cable guy came to fix my router last month and he was a buttface! A TOTAL BUTTFACE! This guy’s a fraud! Beat the pretender with a rubber hose!”
Residents have reason to be skeptical. This is the first time in 24 years of the cable company’s existence that an employee has shown up for an appointment on time. Standard company procedure is to give a 3-5 hour time window, then completely disregard that window and show up unannounced the following morning at 7:15am. Once the repairman has spent a minimum of two hours standing around the customer’s basement vaping - just long enough to make them late for work - the repairman will then announce they don’t have the parts to do the job and go drink in their truck until lunch.
This week is actually the debut of the cable company’s plan to provide better service for customers. After years of being “total buttholes”, cable companies realized they’ll soon face actual competition from Google Fiber and cellphone providers. This new pledge to show up on time and not urinate all over the toilet seats in customers’ homes was expected to be met with great applause, but the improved behavior has mainly just made customers suspicious.
Thomas tried his best to control the angry mob.
“Can everyone please stop throwing their shoes at me?” said Thomas. “There’s a lot of them and they’re getting all mixed up. I don’t know which go with which and I don’t think you do either, so let’s just stop this madness. Wake up, people. We don’t need to do this. These are fine shoes. Some of them are very new or newish. I’m sorry for being on time. I didn’t realize that me being a piece of shit was so important to you.”
Residents in the neighborhood now believe Thomas works for the cable company, but they also believe the improved customer service is a hidden charge that will be sneakily added to their monthly bill as a complicated-looking tax.
Citizens criticized the repairman for being so careless with his behavior.
“On time? What the fuck is wrong with these clowns?” said Andrea Marcell, a customer who mistook her repairman for one of the local stoner kids who leave half-eaten roast beef sandwiches in her mailbox. “How dare they be on time! I was planning on at least a half day off work. I wanted to blame it on them for at least another two hours. These goddamn noobs need to show up late like a real repairman.”
Thomas knows he’s fighting an uphill battle, but believes he will end up on the right side of history when the apocalypse hits and we all become mere charred remains on God’s horridly cruel battlefield.
“I know you folks aren’t used to seeing cable repairmen who are punctual and friendly and not completely stoned when they arrive,” said Thomas, who is allegedly not a dick. “I can stop smiling if that makes you feel more comfortable. I can also respond to questions with abusive sarcasm. I’d prefer not to, but I want you to feel comfortable. I really just love fixing internets all day. I’m punctual and friendly. I’m exactly what you’ve been demanding all these years, so please stop throwing wet garbage at me. Dry garbage like plastic cups or used paper towels is fine.”