I am an island
March 25, 2008 6:54 AM   Subscribe

How will I let the Comcast guys in with no buzzer and no cell phone reception?

This is a ridiculously specific question. I moved into a new apartment a few weeks ago and am just getting around to getting my cable, phone and internet set up. The Comcast guys are coming on Thursday morning, between 8 and 11 (she says hopefully).

The problem is that the buzzers in my building work by going to your phone (when someone buzzes, the phone rings, you pick it up, let them in by pressing a button). Obviously I can't use that because I don't have a phone line yet.

Normally I would just have them call my cell when they're outside, but the cell reception in my apartment is spotty at best. Sometimes I get a bar or two, often I get the "no service" message.

If I knew what time they were coming, I could just wait outside, but given the fact that it's a window of 3+ hours and it's supposed to rain on Thursday, that's not a great option. There's also nowhere convenient to sit inside the front door - it's basically just a hallway.

Oh, and the apartment does not have a doorman or front office. There is a building manager, but he's not there all the time.

One idea I did think of was to go to a coffeeshop around the corner, where I do have cell reception, and leave a note for the the Comcast guys to call me when they get there. This is probably what I'll do if no better solution comes up, but I thought I'd throw it to the hive mind first.
posted by lunasol to Home & Garden (12 answers total)
Ask a tenant who is home during the day if Comcast can buzz them instead of you.
posted by iconomy at 7:03 AM on March 25, 2008

I was going to suggest what iconomy did as well. The other thing you can do is call the day of, and depending on the type of service you're employing, the dispatcher will contact the truck and they can give you an update and a more specific time window.
posted by cashman at 7:05 AM on March 25, 2008

I think your coffeeshop solution is probably the best one. You could try calling Comcast and have them put a note on the appointment schedule to call you when they are headed over, in the hope that you would get a few extra minutes' notice. But I'd still put a note on the door just in case.
posted by cabingirl at 7:06 AM on March 25, 2008

Are you sure the intercom system doesn't work if you don't have phone service yet? Maybe you should confirm that with your building manager - seems to me that would be a pretty common problem with new tenants, and kind of ridiculous to expect them to be able to buzz in the phone guy with no phone. I would check.

Otherwise the coffeeshop idea would be your best option.
posted by Koko at 7:06 AM on March 25, 2008

I would talk to the building manager. S/he probably has a cell phone that his/her buzzer goes to. Ask them if it's okay for Comcast to buzz their apt and they can buzz him in. Then, leave a not for Comcast: "Comcast for lunasol? Buzz 243!" or whatever.

Also, sucks that your cell phone reception sucks in the place where you're going to live. If I were you, I'd get on that. (Get a new phone, new service, something.) Otherwise, you'll be missing guests and parcels all the time.
posted by dobbs at 7:07 AM on March 25, 2008

Can you put tape over the front door latch and tell Comcast to knock on your apartment door?
posted by cmonkey at 7:07 AM on March 25, 2008

Can you put tape over the front door latch

This is a horrible thing for a new tenant to do and would immediately put you on my shitlist if you were moving into my building.

My pt above is that those buzzers to cell phone things work no matter where the manager is. IE, he or she doesn't have to be home. I've buzzed people into my place from the complete other side of town. I would think that, given the buzzer situation, this would actually be one of the manager's duties.
posted by dobbs at 7:09 AM on March 25, 2008

I love dobbs' idea and am sort of embarrassed I didn't think of it myself...

As for the ridiculousness of the buzzer situation - yeah, it sucks, but it's been the case in the last three buildings I've lived in - these old buildings have charm but not a lot of amenities...Usually it works to just have people call on your cell, but, well, not in this case.
posted by lunasol at 7:14 AM on March 25, 2008

Asking the super is the best choice.

But if the super can't help, you could tie an air horn to the door with a note on it reading:

"Apartment 22:
Comcast - 3 short blasts
Visitors - 1 long blast
Solicitors - silence"

As long as you can hear the air horn from your apartment, you should be fine.

If you have a window on the front of your building, you can rig up a bell-pull to the front door pretty easily using forks and spoons and a length of string. Since it would only be there for a few morning hours, it's unlikely the neighborhood kids would make a game of pulling it.
posted by breezeway at 7:30 AM on March 25, 2008 [1 favorite]

I've been in situations where the 3-hour window simply isn't viable due to work. Each time, I've explained that I can't just wait at my apartment and we compromise by their calling me when they're on the way. Sometimes it requires a few calls to get a different, more responsive rep, but it's always worked in the end
In this case, you can use a similar reason and wait at the coffee shop or somewhere close by where you get cell reception. When they finally call you that they're on the way, just wait at the front door.

And the air horn idea, as a neighbor, would peeve me.
posted by jmd82 at 7:51 AM on March 25, 2008

You could have them call a free voicemail-to-email service and then just check your email constantly.

Comcast around here calls when they're on their way over, not when they are standing on the front doorstep, so you'd have time to go hang out and wait for them.
posted by toomuchpete at 8:19 AM on March 25, 2008

What about asking a neighbor to use their phone? Leave a note asking them to ring the apartment adjacent to you. I've had four miserable occasions to use Comcast's in-person service: once they never showed at all, once they were 2 hours outside the window (e.g. 5 hour wait), once they were only one hour outside the window (e.g. 4 hour wait) and one time they came, very oddly, at 9 p.m. (the window had been that morning.

So, you're not going to want to sit at a coffee shop or out on your stoop all day.

And asking the neighbor is a great way to get to know your new neighbors- as a thank you, you could invite them over for a drink, or bring them a plate of cookies.
posted by arnicae at 10:09 AM on March 25, 2008

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