Saturday, 28 July 2007

Please be patient, we have a technical problem. Nothing can go wrong, go wrong, go wrong…

For a while, Alien Wally and Mags shared a phone line with Darth Vader. His heavy breathing in the background made it nigh impossible to have a proper conversation with anyone. Vader may have a cool helmet, but he had to go.

Since Luke Skywalker wasn’t available, Alien Wally and Mags turned to BT for help. First thing on a Monday morning, an enthusiastic engineer turned up, fiddled, fiddled some more, fiddled like Nero did while Rome was burning, but for all his efforts, he was stumped. Kind of like Vader before he got his new bionic arms and legs.

Then, first thing on Tuesday morning, the phone made a funny little noise and died. As in dead. As in an ex phone. Nothing. Nada. Which meant that The Internet died as well. And, with minimal mobile phone signal in the flat (apart from the one corner of the kitchen where you have to stand perfectly still with your arm stuck out at an angle to act as an aerial), Alien Wally and Mags were essentially cut off from the world at large. When Alien Wally got to work and logged into BT’s fault site to see what had happened, he saw BT’s incredible response: “We have fixed your fault, but were unable to contact you.” Um, yes, indeed, BT – you fixed the noise on the line by disconnecting the phone. It is true that we have no noise, but that is because we have nothing at all. And since the phone line was dead, you could not contact us. Did this not give you a clue that something was wrong?

Apparently not. And so the week progressed, with a different engineer each day, undoing the work of the previous day’s engineer and trying something different. Not one of them knew how to reconnect the line, until Sunday’s engineer managed to restore it. But, Vader was back. He had once again risen from near death. And once again, BT proudly claimed to have fixed the fault. Um, yes, indeed again, BT – you fixed the problem of the disconnected line. Congratulations, you managed to fix what you broke. But we can’t hear your customer service rep when he phones to tell us this, because there is still noise on the line. And, yes, we would like you to reopen the fault report, please. Because, no, we aren’t prepared to accept this.

And so the next week progressed. Meeting more BT engineers, all again with no clue what to do. Jedi they were not. Until yesterday’s engineer, who remained faceless and nameless, doing what he needed to do in the exchange. A distant descendent of Luke Skywalker’s perhaps, vanquishing the last vestiges of Vader? Will he, like the other great cinema baddie, be back? Time will tell.

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