Ever since Best Buy bought Speakeasy, I’d been meaning to switch to Comcast — I figured that as long as I’m paying the man and his likely bad politics, I might as well pay less for hopefully faster internet. So last night, I finally got around to pulling the trigger, though not without some difficulties.
I started by selecting the plan and promo I wanted: 8mbps  at $43 a month for 6 months, going up to $52.95 afterwards, as described in this screenshot, here:
So I whip through the forms, only to arrive at a step that declares that I must chat what with a live customer service rep to confirm my order. Oh boy. Things start to go poorly when she asks what I was trying to sign up for:
Michelle.18651 Can you please verify the services that you are requesting today?
guest_ Um.. comcast internet, 8mbps plan; purchasing a modem, and self installation kit?
Michelle.18651 I do apologize, unfortunately I am not able to locate this promotion in my data base. I understand the this promotion is offered through the website, unfortunately it has not been added to my system as of yet. Please contact your local office or chat back at a later time to get this offer.
Assuming I was talking to a robot, I attempted to clarify, throwing out some of the info I assumed was confusing it:
guest_ I’m trying to sign up for the 8mbps internet plan.
Michelle.18651 Yes, I see that. For $43.00. I do not have the offer in my database.
Less convinced that I’m chatting with a robot now, but no less satisfied, I point out that it’s not like I had made up my own offer and typed it into their website:
guest_ Um. I clicked on it from the comcast.com website?
Michelle.18651 I understand that as well, unfortunately the website will allow you to choose any option from the website. They are not available through online chat.
Michelle.18651 The website is not designed for interactive use. You as the customer are able to choose any option on the website and then you are transferred to an online representative. We are here to process all the information that you provide and verify whether you are eligble for the offers provided on the website. The website does not determine whether or not you are eligble for these offers. I apologize for any inconvenience that this has caused you.
(Emphasis mine. And if it’s not designed for interactive use, then why do you have a form on it??) And then this was the final nail in the coffin, leaving me embarrassed to even remotely have anything to do with the internet:
Michelle.18651 The website also does not know whether these offers are available in all area.
guest_ Then why did it have me fill out my address before it let me do anything?
At this point, I “hung up” and just called Comcast, quickly describing which plan and promo I wanted and briefly ranted about the online chat; he paid enough attention to reassure me that “I’ll double check that that promo is available in your area,” put me on hold, and came back to confirm that yes, it was. The only snafu was that apparently they’re not allowed to ship the self install kit and cable modem to me in San Francisco and I have to go pick it up on Saturday.
Total time spent dealing with the “live chat” situation? Upwards of 20 minutes. Total time spent on the phone, including the hold time while he confirmed the promo? Less than 5 (surely aided by the fact that I’m already a Comcast customer so no credit or address information needed to be relayed).
 For the record, I’m planning testing the performance of this plan and downgrading if it’s not up to snuff; I’ll let you know how that goes.