When AOL executive and Comcast customer Ryan Block recently tried to cancel his internet service, he ended up in a near-yelling match with a customer service representative who spent 18 minutes trying to talk him out of it.

Rep: I’m just trying to figure out here what it is about Comcast service that you’re not liking.
Block: This phone call is actually a really amazing representative example of why I don’t want to stay with Comcast. Can you please cancel our service?
Rep: Okay, but I’m trying to help you.
Block: The way you can help me is by disconnecting my service.
Rep: But how is that helping you? How is that helping you? Explain to me how that is helping you.
Block: Because that’s what I want.
Rep: Okay, so why is that what you want?

Block posted a recording of the call online, where it has been listened to more than 5 million times. During the ensuing media frenzy, The Verge put out a call and sought out current and former Comcast employees, hoping to shed light on the inner workings of the largest broadcasting and cable company in the country. More than 100 employees responded, including one who works in the same call center as the rep in Block’s recording.

These employees told us the same stories over and over again: customer service has been replaced by an obsession with sales, technicians are understaffed and tech support is poorly trained, and the massive company is hobbled by internal fragmentation.

The Verge will be publishing excerpts from these interviews over the next few weeks ahead of the company’s proposed merger with fellow cable behemoth Time Warner Cable. (If you work for Comcast and you’d like to contribute, email us atcomcast@theverge.com.) This first installment focuses on Comcast’s relentless pursuit of ever-greater sales.