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Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Communication Breakdown

I was already grumpy to begin with, when I returned home from work yesterday. It had been a long and tedious day. Not that anything went wrong, but it was just a very long and very tedious day.

When I got home, I turned on the TV to listen to the news while I pealed the potatoes (Wiener Schnitzel on the menu). Alas, no sound, no vision. Or rather, a short message telling me that there’s something wrong with the digital signal and that I should call the cable company.

So I walk to the phone with a deep sigh. It was just one of those days. And it wasn’t going to get better, because the phone didn’t work either. It was working, because there was text on the display, but there was no signal. It started dawning on me what could be the problem, and I quickly ran upstairs to start up the computer and check my theory. And indeed, no access to the internet.

Luckily, we still have cell phones and for once its battery wasn’t empty on the wrong moment. So I called up the helpdesk of our provider (Telenet), pressed 2, then 1, then 3 and then waited for half an hour listening to a stupid tape claiming that an operator would help me in just a moment. Robo-woman also mentioned that I could find help by surfing to their webpage. You stupid recorded woman!

Finally I got a human voice on the line, and I explained my problems in detail. He made me run some tests, and then decides there’s nothing he can do. He’ll have to send over a technician.

Fine’, I say, ‘when can he come’.

He asks me if I want him to come in the morning or in the afternoon.

Neither’, I say. ‘My wife and I both have to work, you know.’

No problem, we’ll just rip you off for a mere 15 € and send someone over in the evening. I comply, what else can I do. In my mind I see my anorexic piggy bank wither and roll over on its side to die with a long, gurgling cry.

A bit later my wife returns home from the horse-riding centre, and she empties the mail box while I explain her what’s happened. ‘No television for two days’ I conclude.

Hold on’, she says as she finds a note left behind by a Telenet technician. It says: ‘Our technician presented himself at your door but there was no-one at home. So he cut your connection in your absence as you requested’.

Wait a minute, we never requested such a thing! With steam coming out of her ears, my wife (who’s a solicitor/lawyer for those of you who just tuned in) grabs the telephone and puts the poor woman on the other line before the verbal equivalent of a firing squad. Sensitive as I am I cower away to the kitchen.

So apparently, the couple from which we bought the house almost five months ago asked Telenet to cut their connection. We buy the house, register it, ask Telenet to install a modem, two phone lines and a digital recorder with TV connection, change our subscription and pay a year in advance for all these connections. And THEN Telenet sends over a technician to cut the line of people who don’t live there anymore, as is clearly indicated on the bell that the guy had to push in order to find out if we were at home or not. When I call the helpdesk, they didn’t know about this request, which means that they don’t work with a centralised database with all their customers information. I imagine they have this big board hanging on the wall with thousands of post-its. Once in a while someone takes a post-it and does what it says, without knowing if its still relevant.

I always thought something like this would happen, because although they have very high speed internet connections, if Telenet can make an administrative blunder the size of which would leave Kafka himself dumbfounded, they shall do so!

End of rant, please continue. Nothing more to see here people!

Posted by Bart at 8:10 PM
Categories: ICT - Inevitable Computer Troubles


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