Wednesday, December 9, 2009

So then I ...

It all started yesterday. I went to the bank to by some foreign exchange for our Christmas holiday to Singapore and Malaysia. But the customer service agent informed me, in the commonly used PNG whisper (most people are modest and speak somewhere between very quietly and half a notch above silent) that they don’t sell those currencies. No problem  I thought (no really), I’ll just check up on the progress of my application for the new online banking service. The new service replaces a current service that we use, but requires a new form to be completed with all the same information that was provided for the old service. The agent whispered his apologies and sent an email off to the department responsible to find out the cause of the delay.

So then I went to Telikom PNG to pay for a year’s subscription to wireless internet, without which I am limited to 28kb dial-up in the office (remember that?). Sadly the pricing has not been finalised yet so I was unsuccessful, they are not selling it yet. The service was launched in June 09 for a monthly fee, but the monthly fee has never been charged. The other day, without any notice, it all stopped working because they have decided to put it on pre-paid or an annual no-limits account. Or so I was told by a friend who had spend half a day in Telikom’s office finding out. Well, the annual option is not available yet so now the only choice is pre-paid on a Kina by Kina basis!

So then I went back to the office and shortly after got a call to say that the online banking application had been lost and could I please go back to the branch and fill in another form (with the same details that they already have on my ‘old’ online service and my two current accounts).
So then I tried to do some work.. but that’s another story involving broken air-conditioning and an afternoon of driving back and forth across town. This is not a blog about work.
So the next day I went back to Telikom to buy the pre-paid card. Sorry the cash desk is closed but you can buy them across the road at the B-Mobile store.

So then I went to B-Mobile and they said. We don’t sell them, we only sell our own products (sounds reasonable, but why do Telikom think different?). You can buy Riat Pre-Paid at Stop and Shop (the nearby supermarket), off I set to Stop and Shop which had the A/C broken down and should have been called stop and sweat.

So then I asked for 50 Kina Rait pre-paid. The guy went out the back to find the cards and came back announcing that they didn’t have any, sorry. I was about to leave, well you would wouldn’t you, when another sales clerk offered two 20’s and a 10 – inconvenient, but acceptable. I’ll take it!

So then they spent 5 minutes locating the cards and ringing up the sale. Success, I had finally achieved something.

So then I went to the Bank, remember the Bank, duplicator of information? Whilst waiting to fill the form, which was to be done with the agent and in front of the computer into which he typed all the information  as I filled the form, I read the pre-paid card only to find out that they had given me B-Mobile instead of Rait (Telikom brand name). By this time I was already late for a meeting with a few worthies at the Department of Finance, but I had to go back to Stop and Sweat whilst the people that sold me the wrong cards were still there or I would never see my money again as I had no receipt.

So then I went to Stop and Sweat. They smiled in recognition at my approach and said You asked for Rait pre-paid, Sorry, we gave you the wrong thing.

So then I spent the next 10 minutes stopped and sweating whilst they located the correct place on the till roll, the manager and a couple of other unidentified staff to observe whilst my 50 Kina was refunded. The rest of the growing queue looked on in patient, long suffering silence; not new to any of them I’m sure. Eventually, once I had lost about half a kilo in body weight from the sweating (though the stopping was no extra effort I admit) my money was returned and I started again. This time I did end up with pre-paid, though for some reason only K40 in the form of two K20 cards.

So then I returned to the office and set about following the instruction on the pre-paid card. Call 1255 and follow the prompts. Ok here we go. 1255. It is blocked from our internal phones. I can’t call it from the mobile because it is a competitors service. The final option I can currently think of is the phone at home. Well, the phone at home you may recall, only worked for a week and two calls before failing. After nearly 2 months it was fixed; however it only lasted a couple of weeks before failing again at which point we gave up with it.
So then I went back to dial-up where for the moment I remain!

This, just for context,  accompanies another, parallel and in many ways similar chain of near-misses that together constitute my working life …