So, since we moved from Parramatta to Mangrove Mountain, we haven’t had a home phone. Our friend, neighbour & landlord has been gracious enough to let us use his wireless so that we are not completely cut off from the world (we’re far enough off the main drag that mobile service is non-existent here on the farm), and we’ve been trying valiantly to get a home telephone service connected for the last two months. I really did think, after trying two providers and being quoted any number of outrageously different prices mid-process, that we’d gotten somewhere last week when a technician came to the house and checked out the existing infrastructure.
As he left, he said “It should all be good to go, but there’s a network infrastructure problem and Telstra haven’t allowed enough copper at the exchange for me to get you connected. It’s their fault, won’t cost you anything but it’ll be a couple of days I imagine.”
The following day, someone from Telstra’s service centre in Kolkata or Lahore or Kathmandu or wherever called me to confirm that my order number ######34 was scheduled for completion within three working days. “That’s fine,” I said. Did I want to have a temporary service made available for me in the meantime? Pretty sure that was a trick question, because if they can’t connect a telephone service due to lack of infrastructure then …well, you know. In order to not complicate things, I declined the temporary service. “No, I can wait another three days, if you’re sure that’s all it will be.”
Today being the third day, and with no phone connection completed and no contact from Telstra to advise of a delay, I ventured into the scary world of real-time helpline chat.
After a substantial wait to get through to anybody, during which time I flicked the job to Tara because I had other things to do, Tara finally managed to learn that
a) there was a hold put on our order for an unspecified reason
b) we need to speak to Nadeem, our account manager to resolve the matter
c) Nadeem can be contacted on the 24 hour service line 1800 blah blah blah, press zero at the prompt.
Borrowing our neighbour’s phone allowed us to quickly ascertain that the 24 hour service line is unattended after 6pm, and we should leave a message including the best return number to call us on. As you may expect, I found that to be a less than satisfactory outcome, so back to live chat I go. After lengthy delays in connection, then lengthy delays while account information is verified, and then explaining the enquiry (again) and then lengthy delays while the operator (M) tried to resolve my issue, he was able to come up with the following information:
a) there was a hold put on our order for an unspecified reason
b) we need to speak to Nadeem
c) Nadeem can be contacted on the 24 hour service line….
At this point, I did not admit to M that I already tried this number. I simply said “How should I do that without a phone?”. More lengthy delays followed while M attempted to make the call on my behalf, only to find that the number is unattended after 6pm. Could I call back tomorrow after 8am? Forgetful types, these Telstra folk, but I was gracious enough to remind M that I still didn’t have a telephone and would be unlikely to get one between now and tomorrow morning. So M, bless his heart, has undertaken to have all the answers I require by 4pm tomorrow on email. I was so pleased with this outcome, I offered to save M the trouble of emailing me first, and asked for his email address so I could initiate things tomorrow, but it turns out he doesn’t have email. I shouldn’t worry though, because he will make sure his supervisor coordinates to have an email sent to me. Hmmm. “OK,” I tell M “I’m sure you will not let me down, because you don’t want me to contact the Telecommunications Ombudsman anymore than I want to do it,” and then we wished each other a pleasant evening.

Now, as fascinating as this story is by itself, there’s more to tonight’s blog than just me snarking about Telstra. All those lengthy delays while you’re on chat mean you have to find SOMETHING to do. You can’t leave the screen. There’s only so many Grumpy Cats you can post on Facebook. So, what else might you do online while you’re on hold to Live Chat?

You could go to my wife Tara’s blog: Cruelty Free Recipes – Cooking With a Conscience for the best in vegan recipes.

If you’re into eating responsibly, and you’re on Facebook, you might also go to The Clean Eating Exchange where the delightful Alicia posts clean eating recipes, tips, stories, and education for those wishing to lead a happy and healthy lifestyle.

Comic book nerds like me will get a kick out of a couple of sites I go to almost daily. The first is Tony Isabella’s Bloggy Thing. Tony, of course, is a four decade veteran of the comic industry who has pissed off enough people that he doesn’t have to watch what he says, as he shares opinions, reviews and anecdotes from his rich career.
The second comic-related site I visit nearly every day is Super-Team Family: The Lost Issues, which is run by a fella called Ross. Six days a week, Ross serves up a fantasy combination cover, of highest quality, that he has made himself from existing artwork. Ever wondered what it would look like if Popeye met Superman? Or if Spider-Man teamed up with the crew from Star Trek? You’d probably find it here, and if not just send Ross a request.

Scandinavia & the World doesn’t post new stuff nearly so frequently, but I always enjoy her view on things.

My friend Kylie posts occasionally at The Amberjacks, because she’s a published author and it’s a blog for writers, by writers.

My other friend Kenn posts far too often for everyone’s good on his tumblr account Mr. Inappropriate. It’s not for the faint-hearted, although the weak-minded should get a kick out of it.

Apart from comics, my other ubernerdy interest is board games. I play online at BSW (download the game client after you register your username; mine is ‘crash9000’).

Annnnnd apart from being a (cool & heaps sexy) nerd, my other big interest is animal fostering, through Porsche’s Rescue. If you’re looking for a pet, or even better a companion animal, you could do worse than adopt from a rescue.

Got any sites you’d like to spread the word about it? The comments section is thataway (if I knew how to post a down-arrow, I would).

Cheers, Darryn

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