Irony of ironies
Now that I'm kind of "in" the security industry, I find myself pimping security systems to just about everyone I know. If I hear people complaining about a nanny, a tenant, or a roommate, I'm always chiming right in about cool video alerts you can get, tracking capabilities for when people came and left, being able to deny access if a bill isn't paid, etc. And at this point I feel like the system is worth it for the deterrent value if you have any kind of nice stuff - a lot of my friends are musicians and musical instruments get stolen and hocked all the time. "You should really get a security system," I'm saying, like, all the time. I've had to actually dial it back lately because people think I'm selling Amway or something. But I can lately see how people become less than enthused with their security companies. After my folks got broken into about five years back, my mother insisted on getting a security system. This was before I was in the industry, back when I was doing nothing but writing about music and the arts and other frivolous things like that, and so I thought that was probably a dumb idea. The guy just walked in their back door. I said to start with just locking the doors. But mom insisted, so they got a system from one of the large national companies (I'm not throwing stones here - everyone's got skeletons in the closets). Of course, they hardly use it. When the tech came to do a first year check-up, he found they hadn't changed the PIN from 1-2-3-4. And the system basically became a joke. Every time my parents go away now, my wife says, "how long until we get a call from the security company?" Because of course we're the enhanced call verification contact. Usually, it's about six hours. The battery in the smoke detector is low. One of the sensors in zone five seems to be bad. Etc. It's never "serious." But, as luck would have it, every time they actually arm the system, something seems to go haywire (despite the fact that batteries and sensor alarms should be independent of arm/disarm). But, lately, it's out of hand. The last three nights we've gotten a call around 10:30 p.m. Me: "Who could that be calling at this hour." The wife: "It's the stupid security company." Me: "Hello?" Stupid security company (to use my wife's lingo): "Hi, Mr. Piffle?" Me: "Pfeifle. Yeah?" SSC: "Hi. This is a very nice young woman speaking in a very friendly way from a big national security company. Anyway, we're getting a bad sensor reading at your parents' house. It's on the garage door, so it doesn't appear to be a big deal right now." Me: "But my parents must be home. Why didn't you call them?" SSC: "We've called both the home number and the cell numbers and we can't reach them. Do you know if they're out of town?" Me: "They're definitely home. Okay, but I'll tell them, thanks. No need to dispatch or anything. Ha." SSC: "Ha. Have a nice night." Me, dialing my parents' house... Dad: "Hello?" Me: "Dad, answer the goddamn phone when the security company calls for christ's sake." Dad: "Oh, God, they call like every night, we've just started ignoring it." Me: "Yeah. I know. Because then they call me." Dad: "Oh, yeah, I forgot about that. Were you asleep?" Me: "No, I wasn't asleep, but that doesn't mean I was hoping to spend a little time with the central station operator at 10:30 at night (though she did kind of have a cute voice). Why are you ignoring the calls, anyway? You're paying them to call you when something's wrong." Dad: "Oh, we're just going to cancel it. They call us every single night. Apparently the sensors never go bad in the day time, or the batteries never last more than three weeks. It's driving us crazy." Me: "So get them to fix it. That's their jobs." Dad: "We call them all the time and they never come. We don't know what to do. We're just going to cancel it." Me: "Whatever. Bye." (I generally resort to the way I spoke when I was a teenager whenever I'm around my parents. It keeps them young.) Do I just have bad luck? It can't be economical for a big national company to constantly be using operator time to call my parents about bad sensors, right? Does this have anything to do with big-nationalness, or is this just something that happens from time to time to every company?