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Men are from Mars, women are from Venus, and customer service exists only on an imaginary planet that has been swallowed up by a black hole. It all started with that look my husband gets in his eye every October. No, not the look that produced four children in five years.

The look I am referring to focuses every fiber of his being on NBA basketball. As part of his pre-Halloween tradition, my husband sneaks off to the local cable outlet to obtain a professional basketball sports package upgrade. With a sly grin on his face, he pretends as though he just received confirmation for a secret rendezvous with a home-wrecking mistress. The calendar reveals color coded circles highlighting key match ups. One of these days I expect him to proclaim that he spent a portion of the children’s college savings on Chicago Bulls season tickets. By the way, that will be the same day my divorce lawyer becomes his steady date to the game.

In any event, the snag in the program started when my husband received an unauthorized banner message on the NBA TV channel. Responding to an urgently initiated phone call, customer service alerted hubby that the NBA TV channel was no longer a part of the NBA League Pass sports upgrade. I overheard him politely interrogating the phone representative. “What programming genius would make the NBA TV channel separate from the NBA League Pass?” I figured the customer service liaison would offer up the additional channel at no charge as a concession for being a longtime paying customer of 13 years. Instead, I was shocked to hear my husband blast into the phone, “Cancel the cable … but keep the high speed Internet!”

My youngest son displayed confusion and concern on his face when he asked me if the Animal Planet channel would be going bye-bye.

Ladies and gentlemen, the “Have-It-Your-Way” days of Burger King have flown the coop. It seems that with utilities the customer represents an interruption and a nuisance for most of these businesses.

Please press “1” to be placed on hold for 17 minutes, please press “2” to leave a message that will not be returned, please press “3” to make a credit card payment, please press “4” to repeat these options in Espanol. I recommend pressing “0” to indicate how much money one should spend with companies that fall short of great customer service.

Let each consumer make a dedicated effort to support the enterprises that exhibit signs of extraordinary care. Evaluate each transaction and experience with the following thoughts in mind: Does the company seek to earn my trust by demonstrating respect and integrity? Does the firm make it easy and hassle free to shop, exchange, and return? Does the business have a product or service that is readily available or accessible? Does the organization exceed my expectations? Am I rewarded or recognized for my loyalty? If the answer to all of these questions is yes, please contact my husband’s cell phone at 1-800-NO-NBA-YET.

I’m here to say that despite the cancellation notice, the kids will still have their weekend marathons of jungle cats. My husband will get his NBA fix for the next six months, but this time it will be through a satellite provider, which was Round 2 of his battle. He still has that look in one eye and a tear in the other.

Please press “1” if you liked this column, please press “2” if you loved this column, and please press “3” to make a payment into my account. For all other inquiries, please remain on hold and the next available customer service agent will be with you shortly.