Tuesday, February 21, 2006

The Show Won't Go On

I am dreading going into work today. Not for the usual reasons. Well, a few are the usual but then there is a new one- a big knot of a bad feeling in my gut.

Friday was D-Day of sorts. I had been trying, rather unsuccessfully, to get cable/Dish into a venue for an upcoming event. TV is the crux of this event as it is a live telecast of the Oscars. Without TV, there is no event. It helps if you understand that bit right at the beginning.

We changed venues this year to a historic movie theater. It was going to be awesome. We would be able to save a lot of money, thus making more money from ticket sales, raffle/auction and the bar. People were excited. Finally, we could lower the ticket price so even broke college kids could go. I was oozing positivity from the get go.

For those of you who have ever experienced the nightmare that is dealing with Comcast (or Dish for that matter), you may understand my pain. They do not communicate with each other. They need an intervention! The people who install do not communicate with the phone operators and those people do not communicate with the higher ups. It is, truly, a well run company.

After many, many calls to Comcast, even after they said they would call me (liars), I was told that they could not install cable at the venue. Then I hear from the manager of the venue that the survey guy from Comcast had said they could drop a line there. What? That makes no sense. So I call back again and ask for all the details. Apparently they can drop a line but it will cost $39 per foot and the nearest drop spot is 1000 feet away. Do the math. $39,000.

Yes, you read that correctly. Thirty-nine thousand dollars.

Clearly, that is not within our budget.

So I call Dish. The guy who answers always seems to be just waking up from a nap. Groggy much? I explain the situation and the direness of it to which he says, "Sure, we can get you Dish. It will cost $375 for installation and equipment." Ok. Let's rock and roll. I need this. My event depends on it.

Apparently after a week of talking details with me, Groggy Guy inputs the address of the venue into some system and discovers that we can have all the channels save one. Oh yeah, you know what I am going to say next. Every channel EXCEPT ABC.

Of course, ABC is the only channel I need. For 5 hours. For one effing night. One! Five Hours!

To get ABC you apparently have to file a waiver with a local affiliate to get permission. That can take 45 days. My event is fifteen days away.

Through all this Dumpling has been my advisor. His job requires a thorough knowledge of such things and his geek inclination doesn't hurt. He was coming up with all sorts of various solutions, most of which I tried. I called a restaurant a couple of doors down from the venue to ask them about how they got TV in there. I considered illegally splitting the cable but that was vetoed pretty quick by the powers that be. I understand but it was one of our two final options and I was desperate. The last resort was to borrow someone's Dish who gets ABC, install it ourselves on the roof of the theater and hope to God it works.

We didn't have that kind of time. With two weeks to go until the event, it was imperative that we make a decision right then. I had to call off the volunteers handing out fliers all weekend in the movie theater lines. I had to get a press release out. I had to refund money and tell the staff. The crunch of time expedited the decision. I had a line on a couple of people who maybe would loan us their Dish equipment that maybe would work. I was willing to gamble that it would but it was a committee decision. After spending an entire work day on the phone trying to figure out a solution, we agreed to cancel the event.

I sat at my desk and cried.

I am very disappointed in myself even though I know in my heart I tried everything. We didn't secure the venue until December and then there was about two weeks lost to the holidays. I contacted Comcast early on for a survey but they are slow and, as I have said, poor communicators. It took Dish a week to figure out they couldn't get the ONE channel I need. Meanwhile, I had to get the publicity out. I never ever thought that cable wouldn't be an option. Blind optimism. What a bitch.

I think this knot comes from feeling like a failure and is exacerbated by the experiences I have had at my job. I don't believe that the people in power have faith in my abilities. I hate disappointing people almost as much as I hate failing. So today I get to go into work and reverse all the work I have done on this event. I probably will have to explain the situation 100 times to questioning people. I will have to reach into my deepest resolve and not personalize their disappointment or disbelief. I will have to try to not feel like a big loser.

Wish me luck.

24 comments:

Mikey said...

I used to have direct TV. I know what you are talking about the waiver. Oh yeah, as for comcast. They needed only to hook up two drop lines for our place. Charged us 14 dollars for each of the 6 lines in the house.(a one time fee) So I feel your pain. we already had the splitters.

sue said...

Oh, hon... I'm so sorry. yes, we have Dish and have had our go-rounds with them, but it was only on a personal basis, not something that was so important. I feel for ya... hope things improve SOON. {{{hugs}}}

Gary LaPointe said...

That's awful! Sorry that it didn't work out. You'd think something like that would be a simple process these days...

Gary http://garysaid.com/

Kevin said...

A live telecast of the Oscars? What do you do again?

Sorry it didn't work out. It might still. Some kind of divine intervention may still play itself out.

Aimee said...

Aww, man... I've been cursing Comcast all morning because of my intermittent phone and internet service. It never dawned on me that they could be an even bigger pain in the A on the other coast. I'm so sorry to hear all your efforts have been dashed. (Damn them!) Hopefully blog love will lift your spirits a bit. xo

Kilt Trip said...

(pats shoulder, passes tissue and beers)

goldmoon said...

Good luck, Siz!! I'm sure you'll do fine although the situation sucks.

Will said...

Siz is the best!
DG rocks!

Mr_Rodacre said...

A lot of this could be helped too if the ABC affiliate in SF actually had a transmitter this side of the hill. But it all costs money...

I still think you shoulda called KGO in exasperation and see if there was anything that they could have done. =)

My boss suggested maybe you listen to the Oscars on the radio or internet and then re-enact what was going on onstage. And then I was thinking that COULD be cool! What if everyone who came in was given the name of a nominee and when they "won" they had to come up and give a speech and won a door prize?!?

I know it's proabably not gonna happen now - but still I think it could be cool.

Rabbit said...

Isn't technology wonderful?

Gary said...

Good luck and don't feel bad. At least you know that you tried hard and none of this is your fault. If your job could be done right all the time, then they wouldn't need someone as talented as you.

Neil said...

Jesus, something that sounds like it would be the easiest part of the whole affair is made a pain in the ass by the monopolies of the cable and digtial companies.

Jenny said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Jenny said...

i'm sorry siz...

*i* know you are a rockstar at your job. your friends and family know too...and even your co-workers :).

this is just one of many *signs* -i think- about shifts and changes

you are never a failure in your loved ones books :)

alissa said...

Oh Sizz, that's horrible. It's totally not your fault though. I know how disappointing it can be when a plan fails. Hang in there.

Thinking of mimosas on the wharf....

Bill said...

Perhaps you should view this as a kind of blessing. To my thinking, TV is essentially a way of paying someone a lot of money so someone else can sell me crap I don't need.

Even the Oscars, much as I like movies and the festive atmosphere, is basically a sales pitch.

Why should we pay money so someone else can sell us their products? Seems to me they should be paying us to listen to them.

(Soapbox now vacated. Sorry you got screwed around by those bozos.)

ocg said...

Sizz!!!

No!!!

We HAVE to make this happen... :(

you have the dress and everything...

What if you got another venue to host the event... might not be as cool as an old movie theatre... but what about a restaurant with a banquet room? Someone with a large house? A youth center? ANYTHING!!!

:(

I am sooooo sad for you, I want to cry...

Mrs. Ca said...

So sorry to hear about that! I think you should go down to the cable and dish companies and bash in some heads, because really, is it that difficult to run cable to a building? I HATE our local cable company with a passion that burns deep inside because of all the crap we have had to deal with from them.

Bre said...

That's the worst! I know you feel absolutely miserable, and I've certainly been in the middle of huge products only to have something so seemingly small blow everything up in my face - it's not a good feeling.

BUT

You did everything you could to make the event work! You can't magically change the cost of things or fix how the satellite system works (even as stupid as it seems).

You didn't fail. There is still time before the event, and something can be worked out. Since you gave it everything you had and explored every option - you are most certainly not a failure!

gorillabuns said...

i can't remember who coined the phrase above, but maybe this is a sign of changes to come. good changes. you shouldn't feel bad about circumstances out of your control. the higher ups should realize this too!

Amanda said...

I'm sorry..

Moonchild said...

oooh take photos of the historic theatre...inside and out for me please. i'm all about old theatre haunts and the ghosts that come along.

Kerry said...

Can they make it any harder!

Claire said...

What can I say? Dude, that sucks.