Saturday, November 12, 2005

I tend to get pretty frustrated when baby boomers and their associates complain about the "dismal state of customer service this day in age", etc. But slap an adult diaper on me and call me aunt Sally, I think McAfee might have just single-handedly cured me of that particular facet of generational loyalty.

I got a virus a few weeks ago that's been a fucking *pleasure*, and, having finally managed to delete, well, most of it in a struggle that took many a night, we decided to invest in some updated virus protection.

(A quick aside: am I the only one who's convinced that, more likely than not, the big-named virus companies have entire departments devoted to creating new viruses that, it follows, only they will know how to get rid of, giving them the edge over the competition? It's not entirely unrealistic to suppose that, on top of not being any help at all in preventing against viruses, or getting rid of the one I currently have, McAfee may actually be to blame for infecting me. Those bastards.)

I bought virus scan (in a three-pack along with personal firewall and Quickclean) at wal*mart about a week ago, and since then have not been able to install it-- I can get as far as the End User License Agreement, but after that, it shuts itself off. I quickly learned that this problem extended to all setup.exe-based McAfee processes, which means I also could not use add/remove programs to delete an antiquated version of security center that came with my computer. (Now that I've told you that once, you'll probably remember it, right? Or, at least, it will sound familiar if I bring it up again later in the post? Good! Then you're officially overqualifed to work at McAfee Tech support.)

I'd have enough of trying to fix the problem myself, and was more than willing to go out and by something from a competitor, except that I can't return opened software to Wal* The first thing they do is screen you with a basic troubleshooter, which is practical, if totally useless. No, the problem is not that I put the CD in upside down, can we move on? The hoop they make you jump through is a forced screening from their "virtual agent", which is a glorified way of saying that they make you download some software which scans your computer third party virus software, unrelated problems, and probably any sensitive information they can blackmail you with should you decide to take action once you've gotten totally pissed off with their tech supporters, which will, not may, happen. After this, you get to the live support-- using the term "live" loosely. If you want the benefit of inflection, you can pay 2.95 a minute to have them confuse you on the phone (one hopes this comes with a happy ending, at that price) or you can continue on to Free Live Chat, which I did. Four times.

Now, working with the public every day, as I do, I like to think of myself as the kind of person who is patient with others while they're forced to deal with me. Congenial. Polite. And when I chatted with the first person, Stef W., I was fairly convinced that I was, in fact, very nice. Ditto through Andy K., even though he kept instructing me to re-download the program, even though the program was on a CD. Ditto through Cindy law, who sent me a novella-length list of instructions for removing any trace of McAfee from my registry, and instructed me, over and over again, to use add/remove programs, which I had already explained to her (and to andy, before her) was not working. (You remember though, don't you? Good. You get a raise.) It wasn't till the first two and a half hours worth of instructions and different instructions, and then the same instructions again didn't work, and I kept having to re-log on to the service (each and every time having to go through the troubleshooting and the virtual agent), give them my reference number from the last chat session, and wait "on hold" as they updated themselves with my rapidly growing case history, it wasn't until after all this did I begin to feel just a twinge of impatience. I got Andy a second time, who, after spending ten minutes reading my case history a second time, promptly transferred me to his supervisor, Anil. "Finally," I thought. "Someone with experience and authority. Now we're getting somewhere."

Oh, naive girl.

I won't drag this post on much longer-- I didn't enjoy doing it, you probably won't enjoy reading about it. I'd just like to finish this off with the end of my conversation with Anil, a piece I called "Linda's out of Motherfucking Patience, Motherfucking Anil."

Anil R.: Use the FreeScan utility.
Anil R.: Then uninstall SecurityCenter from the Add/Remove programs.
Anil R.: I am going to send you instructions to run free scan that will open in a new window on your screen.
Linda: I'm already in the free scan
Linda: but *I can't uninstall security center* through add/remove programs
Linda: it won't work
Anil R.: Delete the files I mentioned first and then uninstall it.
Linda: I did that.
Linda: and I still can't use the add/remove program thing to uninstall security center
Anil R.: Linda, stay online while you get an e-mail message.
Linda: okay.
Linda: pretty ironic that freescan is trying to get me to buy virus scan.
Anil R.: Check your e-mail account inbox and let me know if you have received any e-mail message?
Linda: I got it. The first thing it tells me to do is use add/remove programs, though. And we've already established that that's not gonna work.
Anil R.: Linda, follow the other steps listed in the e-mail message.
Anil R.: Then you can install VirusScan protection.
Linda: well, color me convinced.
Anil R.: The e-mail message contains steps to remove all the McAfee entries. However, you should not follow the steps mentioned for Add/Remove programs.
Anil R.: Do you have any additional questions or concerns I may assist you with today?
Linda: do I get another rootin', tootin' reference number? I'd hate to not have anything to remember the past three hours of my life by.
Anil R.: Your reference number for this chat session is 16206333.
Anil R.: I would like to ensure you’re satisfied with the support I offered. Is there anything else I may assist you with today?
Linda: not even if *you* paid *me*, Anil.

On second thought, it's entirely possible that it wasn't worth writing an entire post just to showcase an instance where I was rude to a tech support worker. Eh, c'est la vie.

On with it.