Well, not me, I’m sure. Some time ago I apologized to my readers for my inactivity on the blog, mainly as a result of my inability to connect to the internet. It had become such an inconvenience to drive into town to an internet cafe and stand and wait in line for a computer…at the rate of P20 per hour. Working for hours at a time at a local coffee shop using their wi-fi also was not going to work for me. Globe Telecom is my wireless internet provider and ever since Super Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) came and went (Nov ’13), I’ve had problems with receiving a signal at home. Even when I believed things were improving, I was simply being lulled into a falsehood. The relay tower that supposedly pushes the signal to where we live had some serious technical issues and Globe has been waiting for an engineer to diagnose and fix the tower. He also had to come from elsewhere, most likely Manila (as per what I was told during my several visits to the Globe office).
One day last week, after repeatedly spending P50 for each chance on a 24-hour load hoping I could obtain a signal, I went to the Globe office and handed the lady sales representative my Tattoo stick and asked her for a full refund. Of course, I knew this would never actually happen, but I demanded it out of frustration just to get their attention. In the Philippines, when you purchase something – anything – never expect to get a full refund. It’s rare if you actually get one but it mostly just doesn’t happen. Sometimes, depending on where the purchase was made, you might get a store credit, but even this is not the norm…at least not in Calbayog City. When you buy something here in the Philippines, you can certainly plan on owning it… Forever! Whether it works right or if it even works at all.
Anyway, when the Globe office sales lady asked me what was the problem (like they never remember a sore thumb like a white foreigner coming in to report a problem), I reminded her that I have made multiple trips into this office complaining about the absence of an internet signal. Not a weak signal….NO SIGNAL! I also reminded her that I keep getting the same response from them…”The problem is being fixed sir”. Now, here in the Philippines the term “being” is not defined as an extremely broad concept encompassing objective and subjective features of reality and existence. Nope. Nor, should it ever be considered a real-time event. It simply translates into “we know about the problem and we are in the process of fixing it.” Now then, we shall talk about the meaning of “in the process.” It also doesn’t mean what it implies and should be placed roughly into the same context as “out of stock” which doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s on order and on the next delivery truck. No. Out of stock means “If it’s not there on the shelf, we don’t have it. We don’t know if we ever carry that item nor do we know if we ever will.” Sometimes you can suffix all that with “I have no idea about that.” Period.
Back to the internet thingy. After delivering a lengthy dissertation about why I felt they should refund my money for a product they cannot service, the nice (and very patient) sales girl says “wait for a while sir” and she disappeared up the stairs and was gone for several minutes. She comes back and asks me for P50 pesos to reload my service for 24 hours. It was at this point that I knew as sure as the sunsets that I was making absolutely no headway here, nor was I ever going to. So I caved and complied with her request. She loaded my Tattoo’s sim card (good for 24 hours), punched what must have been a thousand keystrokes around the laptop for about 10 minutes, and says “There sir, you now have service!” Short of doing a Homer Simpson “D’OH” imitation, I explained to her that I have never had a problem with receiving a signal here in Calbayog City, it’s at my house up north that I cannot get the signal. She then says “now sir, it’s been fixed.” What? “Your signal at your house.”
All I could do then was surrender…take a long pause….and with a total look of confusion ask “when was it fixed?” and she responded “last February, sir.” Auughhhh!
So as it turns out, the barangay where I live has had a wireless signal since the middle of February, but it was never communicated to the affected customer base who could have enjoyed living with this simple little luxury. Even as the system was supposedly working (It was up but it was still down!), I (and others) have been randomly buying loads for nothing, for months, and there is no telling how much money was wasted…in Globe’s favor. I again left the Globe office disgusted, returned home with my Tattoo stick in hand, immediately plugged it into the USB slot on my laptop and BAM! I had a 4 bar 3G signal of the likes I’ve never seen before. I immediately took back everything bad I ever said about Globe on this date.
In summary, although we’ve purportedly had a signal since February, and many pesos have been spent in desperate attempts to log on, in reality, we have literally been living in a communications blackout all this time, all because somebody didn’t remember to hit the reset button….maybe?