Tuesday, March 11, 2008

problem solving 101

So, once robbed, the next mission is to get a new sim card (and phone.)


Can't really say that storming a Caymans bank or assassinating Robert Mugabe would be more difficult. It wouldn't.

Go to MTN shop in Rosebank. My phone has been stolen before; I know what to do.
Firstly, they opened the shop when they felt like it. Opening hours on a Saturday are 9:00am. I waited outside until 9:20, only to find the man who was to work there chilling outside, watching us customers wait for him outside the door with a semi-amused expression on his face.

Once inside, the service is bad. They're neither friendly or helpful. I buy a new sim, hand over my ID, yadda yadda. He ensures me that my number will be reactivated in 2 -24 hours.
These hours come and go. It would seem that the fucking retard didn't activate it at all.

He simply fucking didn't reactivate fucking anything. Or even at least queue it.

So, at a braai on Saturday night, I call MTN from another phone to say that it hasn't been done. “Oh no, it hasn't. You need to confirm in writing you need it done.”

Well THANKS for the fucking tip.

“Lady. Please, I'm begging you. On my knees. I had my shit stolen, what details do you need from me in order to activate this thing. Banking details?”

No. Turns out I need to submit them everything except maybe a blood sample. In writing, as it has to be signed, etc etc. Above that, she'll only get into work at again at 2:00pm the next day, which means I will have to undergo this process all over again in the morning and she'll only see my letter after that. No ways man. No ways.

I'm at a braai. So this is what happens:

I write a letter by hand on the carpet. Sign it. 3RM takes a picture on his phone of my ID and this letter. Stating I want a reactivation, with all the necessary codes, pins, PUKS, you fucking name it. He logs onto my Gmail on his phone, only to find that WAP web doesn't support FUCKING PHOTO ATTACHMENTS. Or any attachments in this email whatsoever. That's an issue. That's a big issue that the science fiction dudes need to sort out.
3RM also can't find an underscore for the email address on his phone, and eventually does, but we can't send these images. We try a few other things phone-wise, but mobile isn't going to help us today.

So. We set up a laptop – we find one. The hostesses. Unfortunately the laptop doesn't have bluetooth, nor does 3RM have a data cable for his phone on him. We can't transfer these pics from his phone to the laptop. Fuck. We find another laptop. (I do realise, ironically, that luck is on my side.) Pull out a camera and redo the whole picture taking of ID-and-letter process. Scramble in a drawer for a cable.

In the meantime, Eskom is doing its fucking thing, and the electricity is going on and off. But of course it is. So the Internet is intermittent and we need to start up every single time. Tensions are running high, but I will get this information to this MTN woman come hell or high water. Right now.

We load the camera pics to the laptop. This takes time and endless patience. All around me people are scoring, drinking and singing karaoke into SingSong. We plug laptop into ADSL - still intermittent given the electricity shortage – and I prepare the email.
I'm almost there.

Except the computer's “@” key function is not working. It's fucked. And I now have the documentation (3 megapixel jpgs – not bad quality at all), a sort-of-internet connection, and I can't work the fucking “@” key. So I find an “@” on my Gmail page somewhere and copy and paste the @ into the email address. Computer switching on and off. I will not give up. I am a mad woman.

Attach the files and send. It takes forever to send, but it finally goes through. Hurrah! I can have a mojita. I do.

Then I phone the MTN lady again to determine whether she received my email. After another long “press 0 if you wanna speak to another fucking operator” shpeel, and giving them ID numbers and pins and a fucking history of my life, they then say to me: “We've stopped your sim card as you asked.”

Nnnnnnno...I stopped it yesterday, I need you to REACTIVATE IT AGAIN LIKE I SAID IN MY WRITTEN LETTER

“Oh sorry, that's what I meant.” She says to me, while I'm trying to comprehend how this woman doesn't quite have it altogether and yet is a call centre operator. Not that we're surprised, mind you.

“So she reactivated your sim card on your first call, actually.”

Hold on a second. I didn't just need to write you a fucking letter, photograph it, with an ID, tolerate electricity going on and off, find a camera, laptop, another laptop, telephone, copy and paste @ signs after all?

“No you did.”

Ah. They told me 2-24 hours. Exactly what they told me at the shop/Idiot Baron.

So in conclusion:
1)I'm a Virgo through and through. If I need to sort something out, I will fucking do it. At any cost.
2)Technology is incredible. Except there are drawbacks – like WAP and email attachments. Just a suggestion – coders maybe work on this a bit, if you can create WAP to begin with, you need to fine tune the email attachment vibe on Gmail.
3)You can solve a problem if you consider all options; and
4)If you want something to happen and you don't accept anything less, you'll fucking make it happen. Even if the incompetent bureaucracies around us make it FUCKING difficult.

Oh, FYI, the phone was reactivated about 8 hours later, Sunday morning.


Anonymous said...

Cellphone operators are the appointed agents of Chaos. This is why I'm a closet Luddite.

SATAN (aka Nick) said...

Peas you deserve a medal and lots of tequila...

SO sorry about your experience, the bastards will go to hell and then they will pay!!!

Peas on Toast said...

Kyk - Now if I had a landline at home, or at the office, I probably wouldn't have bovvered with this whole "reconnect me to my number" thing.

Ah Satan my old friend! I do believe I deserve some tequila, most definitely. And I am waiting for an opportune moment. You know, when I don't jump whenever someone comes up behind me or walks into my space. Tequila might make me do summing stupid. :)

SATAN (aka Nick) said...

that is the spirit... (punny -sorry)

Revolving Credit said...

I think their offices are in Maud Street, Sandton - It have have been easier to just go there and staple your letter to her forehead!

Peas on Toast said...

Satan - very funny, Satan. :)

Rev - Yeah perhaps, but at 9:00pm I'm not so sure. Although if the laptop had failed, I would've driven there. Oh I would've. Either way, that sim card was gonna work. I don't care how, but it was GOING TO HAPPEN.

Jam said...

I had this too. They told me the sim would be activated in 2-24 hours. 25 hours later it was inactive. I take the sim card back. They tell me the sim card is faulty. And I then have to get another one, and wait yet another 24 hours.
I hate them. In fact, I just generally hate the service in South Africa at the moment. Does anyone know what good service is anymore???

Peas on Toast said...

Jam - oh my God, I would've had a thrombosis. Service is something you have to seriously pay for, that's what I have found. It doesn't come hand in hand if you need something from them that's only worth R150. There's no such thing as, "hey why don't I make this day great for my customer by explaining exactly what I need from her right now." And even a smile, or even doing it properly the first time. Nobody seems to care. It's really really depressing.

Sheena Gates said...

holy shitballs. That sux a bit.

Shame man. Fuckers, hope their willies fall off.

Sheena Gates said...

demmet. need follow up comment block ticked thingie.

Sheena Gates said...

ps: just to be 3rd time lucky, am back for good, well - a while at least. missed you man!

Peas on Toast said...

Sheen - welcome back girl! There's been a serious void around here and I've missed you too. Hope their willies do fall off. And with any luck, they will :)

KaB said...

Humpf...crock of shit that lot! I would've completely lost it with the shop dude...I can't stand bad service like that at all! And the call centre idiots...well hells bells...that's what you get with morons working behind the comp box!

You have a phone now...breathe & smile!

Alya said...

Oh God! What kind of a telecom company is this?? They have better ones in underdeveloped countries!

Btw whats braai?

Peas on Toast said...

Kab - you're absolutely right - I'm breathing and feeling apathetically thankful for the fact that I have a phone now and things can revert back to normal. Let's hope :)

Peas on Toast said...

Alya - where you from m'dear? A braai is a South African barbeque. :)

Yes, and you could get better service in Chad or the Sudan, I am convinced. I'd probably get a smile with the service too.

acidicice said...

In their defence, security on SIM swaps has been increased to the maximum following all the SIM swap/Fisching fraud that was happening. What I don't understand is why the stores can't process the SIM swap for you right there, why do they have to send it to some 'head office' division to process it HOURS (sometimes days) later?

Logic in a bottle. I'd be a gazillionaire.

Peas on Toast said...

acidicice - I believe so, they told me the same thing. But I;d also told them everything about myself over the phone, barring maybe how I came out of my mother's birth canal. Bank details, ID number, address, reference number, other contact numbers - so much information over the phone that didn't matter at the end of the day. Anyway, yes you're right - if only it didn't need to go through head office, and then things might go way more efficiently!

Immi said...

you should so complain on Hello Peter. i've complained about mtn there before and got a nice little apology phone call from them.

never had a phone stolen, but last year i destroyed 4 cellphones (just got no luck with the buggers) and got my sim card lodged in a dashboard...

Peas on Toast said...

Immi - I thought about that, but does hellopeter mean they'll change their attitude from "the customer is ruining my day" to "the customer is king?" I could give it a bash I guess - but more importantly, how did you get your sim lodged into a dashboard?

Immi said...

haha was trying to put it in the cubbi just above the radio when my friend went over a bump. it just slipped in between the radio and dashboard. was one of those too weir/funny to be true moments.

it's still living there happily...

Peas on Toast said...

No. Ways! :)