Comcast has already established itself as the hilarious bad boy of broadcasting and cable monopolies through japes like roguishly throttling your bandwidth, or impishly constructing a frustrating customer service system that functions like a reverse prank phone call. For its latest bit, Comcast has adopted the sort of sly ribaldry beloved of Chaucer, Rabelais, and seventh-graders, changing the name of a customer to “Asshole Brown.” The name on the account was actually Ricardo Brown—that’s what makes it funny! Also, the fact that the Browns were having financial difficulties and needed to cancel their subscription—apparently without even a moment’s thought for how much Comcast still wanted to take money from them.
As blogger Christopher Elliott reported, the Browns’ assholish attempts to just up and leave Comcast without so much as first agreeing to a new contract were countered by a retention specialist. That specialist reminded the Browns of all the zaniness they’d be missing by staging one of Comcast’s famed door-slamming farces of miscommunication, uproarious slow burns, and insistences that they instead sign a new two-year agreement for funzies. But the mirthless Browns politely resisted, so Comcast attempted to break the dour mood by working a little blue, sending them a bill addressed to “Asshole Brown.” Hey, lighten up, asshole! If we can’t laugh at a business’ complete disdain for its customers, what can we laugh at?
Lisa Brown says she repeatedly tried to contact Comcast, both locally and nationally, trying to get the company to please stop calling her an asshole. But obviously, Comcast realizes commitment is the key to successful comedy. Instead, it only relented after being publicly shamed, as is so often the case in this age of moral watchdogs imposing their puritanical sensibilities on comedians, and customers insisting that maybe their already-terrible cable companies shouldn’t also explicitly call them assholes. As such, Comcast apologized to the Browns, and gave them a full refund for two years of service.
Charlie Herrin, Comcast’s recently installed Senior Vice President of Customer Service and Other Good Times, followed up with an apology on the company’s site today alluding to “a recent situation with a customer in Spokane,” saying the employee responsible “will no longer be working on behalf of Comcast,” and vowing it’s “looking at a number of technical solutions that would prevent it from happening moving forward”—possibly staffing its phone lines with actual cold, unfeeling robots, who have no capacity for laughter. And henceforth, Comcast has renewed its pledge to refrain from insulting its customers, at least in the “Name” field on its bills.