There are a lot of really strong contenders for the title of worst company in America. Walmart, Bank of America, Ticketmaster and Carnival Cruise Lines have all consistently delivered exquisitely horrible experiences to the American consumer, and their contributions to the national anxiety level must not be underestimated. But there is one firm that truly stands out — a company so horrendous the very mention of its name causes body tremors and facial constrictions. I refer, ladies and gentlemen, to Comcast, which seems to take as its motto, If you do a thing, do it as badly as possible.
According to Comsumerist's annual reader poll to nominate the Worst Companies In America, Comcast is the best at being the worst. The cable company has won the Golden Poo award for the second time, excelling in awfulness in an industry dominated by companies that treat their customers to a never-ending pile of crap.
In a recent article, "Three Possible Reasons That Everyone Hates Comast," Gene Marks cites the monopolistic hugeness of the company, the helplessness of customers caught in the jaws of the behemoth, and customer service representatives whose typical profile is "a podunk from God-knows-where humiliatingly walk[s] you through a condescending set of instructions from 2006 starting with 'please disconnect your router, wait 3 minutes, then reconnect.'"
Just listen to the now-famous recording of customer Ryan Block attempting to disconnect his service, only to encounter a refugee from a Kafka novel on the other end of the line whose marching orders apparently include attempting to slowly drive Block out of his mind by the tried-and-true methods of badgering, obstinacy and circular argument.
The horror of Comcast has produced a whole genre of corporate backlash, from the aptly named comcastmustdie.com, a website dedicated to exposing "a vast, greedy, blundering, tone-deaf corporate colossus," to the I Hate Comcast Facebook page. From the mountains to the prairies, Americans have been documenting the wonder of their hellish experiences and the depth of their hate.
Never a firm to rest on its laurels, Comcast has sought to amplify its atrociousness by announcing a proposed merger in February 2014 with Time Warner Cable, a rival in the corporate-sadist category. The companies are hoping to combine their strengths in bad service, shady business practices and customer predation to create a television and Internet monstrosity such as the world has never seen. If the deal goes through, Comcast will capture a third of the cable and satellite market and half of the bundled video/Internet market in its tentacles, allowing it to take its loathsomeness to new and unimagined heights.
Please disconnect your company, wait 3 minutes, and go to hell.