FLASHBACK: Adventures in home security

It is the last week of May in the year 2010.  I’ve been in my new house for a week.  When I was getting the utilities turned on, there was a deal to get an ADT security system installed, and I decided to take up that offer.  Little did I know that what should have been a simple install would turn into a comedy of errors I would never forget.

The contractor showed up at my house with his 2 younger brothers for what everyone expected to be a routine installation.  I decided to install the alarm system inside the closet by the front door so it was accessible, but hidden.  One of the younger brothers was tasked to drill a hole between the walls to the basement to run the system’s plug wires down.  Using the long flexible drill bit, he was trying to break through what he thought was the subfloor, but ended up being the wall outside the closet.  I suddenly noticed the drill bit had gone through my wall and I had a hole.  Not in my house but a week, and I already was putting holes in my walls.

They were extremely embarrassed, but I laughed it off (I probably would have done the same thing myself).  The corrected the track and eventually got the system powered.  Now all they had to do was get my service connected.  They called in, and found out that my account wasn’t ready to be set up – in fact, they never even setup my account.  After about an hour of being on the phone trying to figure out why no one ever setup my account, they finally got my account setup and tried to connect.  Fail.  Tried again.  Epic fail.  More calls to the corporate office – finally they asked what my zip code was.  When I told them, the service said they don’t offer service in my zip code!  None of us could believe it.  How could they sell me home security service if they don’t service my zip code?!?

Well, after talking with his supervisor, they had an alternate solution.  I could install a cell service with a local company that partnered with ADT who would act as a relay.  Would cost less than $5 extra per month.  At this point, I figured we got this far, may as well.  So the contractor and his brothers got to work installing the secondary cell service next to my security system.  About another hour later, and after several conversations of favorite TV shows and pizza to pass the time, they tried to get that service up and running.  After another 30 minutes on the phone, the contractor, almost not able to look me in the eye, told me that the service required a minimum of 3 bars to work, and I was barely getting 2.5 bars – not strong enough to connect.  By now I couldn’t help but laugh at this almost Shakespearean comedy unfolding before my eyes.

Determined to get my system working, the contractor walked the cell system all over my house, yard, and into the street where he finally got the 3 bars.  He even sent his brother up into my attic with no more than 2 bars up there.  Coming down, his brother’s belt hooked on the attic access way frame and pulled it down, so now I have a big hole in the ceiling to go along with my hole in the wall.

Eventually, the contractor gave up after nearly 8 hours of trying to get my service installed.  He had me tear up all the contracts, but then told me he did private security installations on the side.  He offered to come back and install a self-monitoring system for me at cost.  Since everything was ready to go, I took him up on that offer.

He and his brothers returned a week later and I finally got my new self-monitoring security system installed.  And to dine on after the installation, and as a peace offering, they brought one of my favorite pizzas – pepperoni and pineapple.

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