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A O Hell: Manual Purgatory

Wherein Jerry (who’s real name is Raj or Apu or Ketan…as if we didn’t know) attempts to reach out and touch me from AOL’s service center (which happens to be in India — ironic for a company named AMERICA On Line, dontcha think?)

4:46:25 AM System Welcome Pearl …
4:46:25 AM System Connecting to server. Please wait…
4:46:25 AM System Connected to server. Please wait…

4:46:25 AM System It’s a great day to be a member of AOL; as you may have heard we have announced exciting new changes.
4:46:25 AM System For current paying members of AOL interested in the new free services option go to AOL Keyword: “Change Plan” where you can make changes yourself.
4:46:34 AM System You can also wait to chat to an agent about this. For all other inquiries, please wait for the next available chat agent. Thank you.
4:46:34 AM System TechLive JERRY has joined this session!
4:46:34 AM System Connected with TechLive JERRY
4:46:34 AM System
Hello, Pearl. Welcome to Live Technical Support. My name is Jerry.
4:46:41 AM You Hi, Jerry.
4:46:44 AM System Pearl stated the question or problem as: You dumped my emails.
4:46:44 AM System Are you signed on with the same computer that you need assistance with?
4:46:54 AM TechLive JERRY Welcome to Tech Live, Pearl. How can I make your online experience more enjoyable?
4:47:55 AM You Yes, I am on the same PC. And here is what happened:
4:48:36 AM You Last night I was online when AOL began telling me that I couldn’t presently access my email, to “try again later.”
4:48:54 AM You So I signed off with the intent of signing right back on again, thinking that might solve the problem.
4:49:15 AM TechLive JERRY ok…
4:49:18 AM You When I signed off, I got a message to go to my main acct. for an important message. So I did. Only to find a message to “pick a ‘NEW’ AOL service plan.”
4:49:51 AM You So I quickly did that (opting for the paid account) and then signed back onto this account to find that all of my inbox email (I had 16–some of which were very important) had vanished.
4:50:45 AM You So I came here, where Tech Live Matthew read from his manual and told me that “my problem” (not AOL’s, Jerry, but mine) was due to my “virtual art folder” or something like that. He then proceeded (again reading from the trusty manual) to give me instructions on how to clean up my storage space, with the promise that my email would then be restored. I followed his instructions to the letter.
4:51:51 AM You Well, guess what, Jerry? It didn’t fix the problem.
4:51:56 AM You So now what?
4:52:25 AM TechLive JERRY Don t worry, Pearl.
4:52:49 AM You I’m really trying not to worry, Jerry. I’m really trying here.
4:52:55 AM TechLive JERRY Let me see if I have this right. I understand you have lost your mail, after you changed your service plan. Is that correct?
4:53:06 AM You I imagine that is what caused it. That this confluence of events — the loss of my inbox emails & my being forced to change my AOL service agreement at AOL’s convenience rather than mine – seem directly related.
4:53:25 AM TechLive JERRY Don’t worry, since your mails are not lost.
4:54:05 AM TechLive JERRY We are having some Server problem so only you are not able to see your mails.
4:54:05 AM TechLive JERRY I apologize for the inconvenience.
4:55:25 AM TechLive JERRY Pearl, did you save the old mails on AOL or on your PC?
4:55:54 AM You Yes I did/do. It wiped all of that out.
4:56:35 AM TechLive JERRY Ok, you can check your emails on classic.webmail.aol.com.
4:57:25 AM TechLive JERRY I am sure you will find all your mails on that.
4:57:57 AM You I am at that URL right now. Nothing is there.
4:58:15 AM TechLive JERRY Ok. Thanks for the information.
4:59:35 AM TechLive JERRY Please hold while I find this information.
5:00:00 AM You The Classic AOL site is showing recently deleted emails, but all the tabbed options (New Mail, Old Mail, Sent Mail, and Mail on AOL) are completely empty.
5:01:55 AM TechLive JERRY Pearl, there is no recently deleted option on that web site. Can you try it once more? classic.webmail.aol.com.
5:03:38 AM You OK, I just did try it again just now and yes there is a recently deleted option…it is about midway down the page to the right …. and shows as a text link
5:05:25 AM TechLive JERRY I got it, Pearl.
5:06:45 AM TechLive JERRY Best I can do is to send a HOST problem report to the server which will take care of your issue.
5:07:02 AM You How long will this take, Jerry?
5:07:45 AM TechLive JERRY Our technicians are working on it, but I can’t tell you an exact time .
5:08:05 AM TechLive JERRY I apologize for the inconvenience.
5:08:36 AM You Well, I depend on you guys. I kept paying even when you came out with this new deal and expect things to work. I am, indeed, upset
5:09:25 AM TechLive JERRY I am sorry, Pearl. I am sure that when the server problem is fixed, your problem will be solved automatically.
5:10:16 AM You Are we talking hours, days, weeks?
5:11:15 AM TechLive JERRY I wont be able to tell you that, since these are updated at the server .
5:12:38 AM You Well, you guys sure dropped the ball on this one and I am very disappointed.
5:12:56 AM TechLive JERRY I apologize for the inconvenience.
5:13:02 AM You But, here I am, only a customer, at your mercy, as usual.
5:13:28 AM You Okay, Jerry, I guess I will just sit around and wait and worry.
5:13:30 AM You Thanks and goodbye.

So if you’ve sent me email to which I’ve not responded, now you know why. Either re-send the original or sit around and wait and worry with me. Misery does love company, after all.

And if you are wondering why I keep AOL? Since I do have MSN and use FoxFire for browsing most of the time? Mostly because Hannibal Lector greets me when I sign on (Clarise, is that you?), alerts me of mail (Hey! You’ve got mail. Goody, goody.) and always tells me goodbye (Bysie, bysie. See you around.). And I just can’t stand to let him go.

8 Responses to “A O Hell: Manual Purgatory”

  1. booklover Says:

    Is this what our lives are coming to? It would be funnier if it weren’t so sad. There is no technology to mechanize good customer service.

  2. SlutMunch Says:

    It’s a shame that our tech support has been outsourced. Another reason why the US is rapidly become a third world technology leader where it was once on the top.

    I do believe that the companies hiring cheap labor abroad will wake up one day to find that their decisions have given way to these these third world cheap labor sources suddenly in control. America is looking at trouble down the road, let me tell ya!

    Thank you Angela, for this exhibit of the problem. People like yourself, that step up to the plate and just refuse to take it should be commended and emulated.

    I am truly sorry about your experience, but quite pleased that you have shared it

  3. Brian Says:

    How depressingly typical. An otherwise intelligent woman stays in an abusive relationship because she just can’t let a man go.

    Be strong, Angela, be strong.

  4. Gracie Says:

    You know what I call that ‘service’ you use: A O Hell :p

    I’ve been round and round with them, then msn, and then I just left all those ‘membership’ sites. They more gizmos they have to ‘keep you tied to them’ and not the Internet at large, the more problems they seem to have. Same with the so-called customer service.

    Not that what I have, cable, is perfect. But I call and get a local human who speaks not only English as a first (perhaps only) laguage, but understands my lingo.

    I know, I should be saying something nice. But I can’t think of anything besides “I love you. 🙂

  5. hot java Says:

    So not only are we farming out manufacturing, chip and computer fabrication, but also customer service….this drives me crazy too. Bombay Bob harrasses me for not paying my Citicard bill, Delhi Dave wants to sell me a new Verizon plan and Calcutta Katie trouble shoots my software. Extrapolating division of labor to its logical end point we have no one doing nothing(don’t you love double negatives?).

  6. Dear Madame Says:

    OMG!! Reading it I wanted to choke something!! YOu ever get it fixed?

  7. Prakrit Kamasutramurtri Says:


    Dear Pearl:


    It gladdens my heart, here in Mumbai, to learn that your AOL Email system has at last returned to its normal state of happy repair.

    In your posting to ZenFetish, however, I sense smally that there remains of bitterness and dissatisfaction with AOL and with my own most sincere efforts to assist you with your unfortunate problem. Know well, that at all times, I strenuously expended myself to my utmost to relieve you of your most perplexing difficulty.

    Sadly, Brahma was not amenable to the resolution of your misfortune on this occasion. Such is karma. I wished you to be cognizant that I am now burning incense and have offered sweets and flowers at the Temple of Kali in hopes of atonement.

    Please take a moment to give me a good report when further communicating with my superiors.


    Prakrit Kamasutramutri (“Jerry”)
    Your AOL-Customer Service Representative in Mumbai

    P.S. I apologize for the inconvenience

  8. ZenFetish » Blog Archive » Savants, Shoppers and Poetry Says:

    […] Oh, and did you see the response to A O Hell posted by a certain Savant who is pretty darn creative and down right hillarious? That, too, is below. […]

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