2 min read

A reflection on the peril of raised expectations as I wait for my Verizon repairman

My FIOS home internet stopped working on Thursday. That’s a minor inconvenience. I look up the service phone number and call — my expectations are low.


I spend an hour and a half on the phone with them (mostly on hold). They can’t resolve my issue, but in a moment of kindness, the rep promises to call me right back with a more experienced technician on the phone (“keep the line open”). 2 hours later, no call. I’m frustrated at dashed expectations and broken promises.

I call back in. We start from scratch. After an hour, they decide I need to schedule a house visit from a technician. Am I available between 11–3, 12–4, or 1–5 on Friday? No, no I am not. I have a day job, and while I am #blessed to be able to work from home, I have broken #FIOS so cannot do work from home.

I am available from 11–3 on Saturday. We enter our stories intermission with 4 hours phone time (mostly on hold), 4 unreasonably wide suggested service windows, 1 broken promise, and a healthy serving of resigned frustration at a broken system.


Time has past, and mental wounds healed. I wake up early, ready to enjoy my day. My phone rings at 8:20 AM: it’s my technician, calling to let me know he should be here by 10:30am, but will call to give me 15 minutes notice. My expectations are low for that commitment, but maybe he will be here at the beginning of the 11–3 window!

At 11:30am my phone rings, my turn is come! “I will be there around 2pm — I will call and give you 15 minutes heads up.” I wait and I wonder — why promise a call back that won’t come? Why suggest an earlier arrival that won’t happen? Why raise my expectations to dash them?

Do they realize that keeping promises delights clients, while breaking them deepens the frustration? Is Verizon in the business of raising our hopes slightly and then dashing those hopes as a nationwide service to build character and combat the softening from first world problems?

I feel terrible complaining, because I am merely without internet. This will not kill me. But can I complain about the casual corporate ghosting? I started with low expectations and no complaints — all things break; can’t I blame Verizon for raising them without following through? Two promises for things I didn’t dare expect (a call back and an early arrival) that were broken — it feels reasonable to expect that they only make promises they can keep, since They sure don’t promise to to do much at the outset (11am–3pm).

I don’t have any answers, but I have two more hours (at least) to think these thoughts and rationalize my frustration while I wait.