Wednesday, October 3, 2007
The truth is that when I got up this morning I was convinced today was Thursday. This week is just dragging along at a snail's pace, mostly due to our first casualties of the school year. Vio has been home with a fever for the past two days, and now it's Carmen's turn. You would think that with a fever they would be content with lying around watching TV, but no. When Vio got tired of watching cartoons, after about fifteen minutes, she started begging to play on the computer. That in itself wouldn't be a problem, except for the fact that our internet connection was down (yet again) most of Monday. I have been calling the provider since the past Spring to complain that our connection is iffy at best, and non-existent at worst, and they have sent someone over several times to have a look. I say "have a look", because that's all they do; they look, and they look, and they say "The configuration is fine, our signal is fine, so your cable has probably rotted - there's a lot of humidity here, you know." Yeah, I know. It's all very strange, since we are not the only ones in the neighborhood that are having internet problems. So, our rotten cable is screwing up internet for our friends who live 20 houses down? Boy, that is some powerful cable...or maybe it's spreading-rot, a highly dangerous variety of rot. Of course the spreading-rot has spread to our friends' cable but has not affected the company's cable that lies between our houses...maybe it's jumping-rot, which, as we all know, is a rare and especially deadly type of rot (kind of like the Ebola of rots). Our TV works fine too, and supposedly the internet and the TV signal share the same cable...suspicious. Maybe only the half that the internet signal travels down is rotten. Yeah, that must be it, your classic case of half-rot, and as you know, half-rot is what half-rot does. The company's suggestion, change the cable. Our dialogue went something like this:
Me: How much will that cost?
Them: Oh, we don't really know, it depends on how long it takes.
Me: Well, how long might it take?
Them: We can't say, it depends on how easy it is to get to the cable. The hourly rate is 32 euros, and the cable costs peanuts, so if we take three hours it'll cost you around 100 euros (plus taxes, plus the call-out charge, plus the scratching one's ass as one looks at the cable charge...you get the picture).
Me: Thanks, I could have figured that out myself...So, if I decide to have the cable replaced, will that fix the problem?
Them: Well, we can't guarantee anything...
After 10 minutes of "work" to tell us our cable is hypothetically faulty, we were sent a bill for 30 minutes of service. I never signed anything while they were here, so I'm wondering how the company knows the guy was even here. When I called to complain, the girl who attended my call simply said, "It's your option to pay or not, and it's our option to come over or not, the next time you have a problem." Ah, to pay or not to pay, that is the question. Actually, it's not even a question; we can't switch to another provider, so they've basically got us by our (metaphorical) balls. Well, we could switch, but this is a subsidized program that costs us 50 euros a year. If we switch, we'll be paying more like 50 euros a month, and from what I've heard, the service other providers give isn't much better. Okay, I know we only pay 50 euros a year, so I shouldn't complain so much. But if you think of the several thousand people who are paying the same (along with a substancial government subsidy), the company is getting a pretty penny (well, a pretty euro cent, in any case) for lousy service (plus all the rotten cables they change along the way). So, we're holding out with our rotten cable, complaining to the town hall, and paying the bill. And, since the service is back up for now, I'm taking advantage to write this post, and then I'm off to tend the sick once more. In the meantime, you should check out The Frog Bog, since the fabulously funny Frogster has recently done an exclusive interview with David Beckham's Left Foot, at my request. Yes, he does requests! So get over there, request away, and see just how far he'll go.