I renewed my land line (phone) and broadband contract last week, and, as a consequence, it has now slowed to a snail's pace which is making 99% of all internetty stuff make me want to bash my head on the desk. In actual fact, I did bash my head on the desk yesterday when I called India, as it happened, to try and speed things up to oh, say, walking pace. A gentle plod would have done perfectly.
I did not choose to call India, I hasten to add. No. I have nothing against India at all, and I am quite sure it is a glorious place to visit when one chooses to, but I DO NOT want to be diverted to Indian call centres where I cannot understand a word that is said, everything is read (repetitively) from a crib sheet, questions cannot be answered and nothing gets sorted, except that my blood pressure has an outing to the stratosphere.
And I would rather it stayed here on earth.
The first call ended with me telling the young woman at the end of the phone that it was quite possible for her to run a speed test from her end, as it has been done many times before. She couldn't grasp the concept, or the fact that I had a perfectly good set of speed figures on the screen in front of me, which were diabolical. So I put the phone down and called again.
Hello - am I speaking to someone in India - yes. Thank you and good bye. Repeat 3 times. Then I called directory assistance here, and got a really English person on the end of the line. And explained the problem. Oh, I can't select a place - it will depend on who picks up the phone, she said, and put me through to India. Again.
So I had a brief and very much to the point conversation with someone who would "Help me to resolve this problem". Hmmm. Right. I told him the speed test figures, and he said - Oh that is very, very low. Yes. I knew that. BUT, he said, you need to do OUR speed test. So I dutifully did so. And I had hysterics when I saw the figures. They were half the one I had done. He was a little concerned.
He went away a while and came back and told me he would do some tests. Humdehum..... And back he came to tell me that the problem was in the copper wire and that my land line was not working.
What?? Hello? I am talking to you on the land line, I yelled. No, it is not working. (Insert much banging of head on desk.) I will put you through to the land line department.
"Hello Mrs L.... I am going to help you to resolve this problem"....sound familiar?? Back to page one of the flip chart. Excuse me, but what department am I talking to? Oh, this is the pppts (or some string of letters) department. Yes, but tell me in words, not letters, please BECAUSE I DON'T UNDERSTAND YOU.. Broadband help. NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO. I have been there for ages. I need land line help. Yes, but now we will do a speed test.
You could hear the screech in the next village. READ THE NOTES. The problem is in the copper wire off my property. "Yes. But now I will help you to resolve this problem." STOP RIGHT THERE. By now I was speaking very softly and slowly. "I am going to put you on hold for a while" I said "while I go and sharpen my pick axe, because I am going to need it to dig up the road".
He didn't get it. At all. But I think he may have got the message that an explosion which may or may not have damaged his health was imminent. And he said he would transfer me.
And joy or joys, the dulcet tones of George came over the airwaves. George, I yelled - you are English!!! Yep, he said - I am in Lancashire! At that point, I admit I nearly wept with delight. I did tell him I was about to slither through the wires to emerge his end to kiss his feet and that I would then slither back home through them afterwards. He laughed.
He took one look at the pages and pages of notes, and counted the calls - 8 of them (because the first man called me back 3 times when he accidentally disconnected the call) and said that they were unintelligible. I explained the problem. He told me a works order had been generated. He also told me he would have been in need of a stiff brandy had he had to endure the Indian calls. We discussed the need to employ out of work British people instead. And the call ended.
I wasted an afternoon of my LIFE trying to get help from India. I do believe my next contract will depend on where the call centres are located.
And the speed? Worse than ever. We are now under 2mb/s. But tomorrow is Monday and you had better believe that I will be calling back at dawn. There is the small matter of the new modem I was not supplied with, not to mention the discount I am expecting, or I will be following my son's suggestion and ditching my supplier and going with cable. New contract?? Hah. By law I have plenty of time to cancel.
So tell me - how exciting has your weekend been???????
(I apologise for the random and inconsistent use of inverted commas/direct speech - I was on a roll and started fixing it and nearly lost the will to live. )