“You’ll have to get me on the mobile. It’s not a good phone – so don’t get your expectations too high.” I told my Dad.
The phone’s knackered you see. Has been since thursday when it began to issue strange-sounding beeps and bleeps.
Or … to be perfectly accurate about it the phone is fine. What is actually knackered, as the twelve year old engineer that Virgin Media sent round on Monday morning, still apparently hungover, patiently explained to me is:
“Your cable from the cabinet to here. It’s damaged.”
I was confused … but the wiring for the phone doesn’t go anywhere near the cabinet I thought, looking around the room; it comes in through the wall in the front room, and immediately to the phone’s base unit (It’s cordless)
For the uninitiated, a ‘Cabinet’ is a secure (at least in theory) piece of street furniture, which allows Virgin Media and their technicians, as well as those of other service providers, access to the cabling, junctions and switching for that particular street or area. Occasionally … No, thinking about it … often you see these green or grey cabinets open (left so by sloppy engineers, or prized open by the local hoodlums – who knows?) Funnily enough the one nearest us is currently in such a state; multi-coloured spaghetti and great dizzy Afros of intricate wiring billow happily from the inside.
Some idea of what they look like. A BT cabinet
So. Diagnosis: Damage to the service supply cable between ‘the Cabinet,’and our property
The Year 9 engineer gave us an estimate of waiting time for repair – about a month! What? I was astonished. I explained about the Parkinson’s and how it leaves me immobile numerous times, daily and that therefore, when fingers are too affected to use a mobile phone in emergency, I rely on a push-button pendant I wear around my neck, which links to a receiver and via an organisation known as ‘Careline’ allows you to raise the alarm in an emergency. It then organises appropriate help as the situation demands (For instance, they may at the user’s request phone their partner at work, asking them to go home as aid is required. Or another example, more serious. The user has a fall, leaving them injured and unable to reach medication, phone or front door. They alert ‘Careline’ who in turn call their partner, as well as additional contacts (also keyholders who could effect an entry should the partner be held up for any reason) and the emergency services should they br required.
Of course you never think you are going to need it … Till you do … And of course ‘Careline’ naturally, needs a telephone line.
Anyway, back to Monday morning and ‘The Boy Wonder’ has an idea. He will book a date for the repair to be done, but suggests phoning Virgin Media later in the day to put my case in order to hopefully gain an earlier slot. Rinky dinky, sounds like a Plan.
And off he goes in his gaudy Virgin Media Ice Cream van, the cushions tucked under his seat and wooden blocks tied to his boot soles allowing him to see (just) over the dashboard and operate the pedals.
Of course Tinchy bloody Stryder, doesn’t get back to me to confirm a date does he? Why? why? did I trust him? Why didn’t I see out my original plan? Tie and gag him then bung him under the stairs. Hold him to ransom: full line repair and compensation for inconvenience being the only things sufficient to secure his release. It would have been all done and dusted by now.
Bloody hell. here we go:
‘Weclome to Virgin Media. We now have 5 options for you. If you want to Top Up with a voucher: Press 1 … If you want to Top Up with a credit or debit card already registered with us: Press 2 … If you are moving house or need to alter your account details: Press 3 … If you have lost, forgotten or need a new PIN number: Press 4 … If you want to be fucked about with, forced to listen to ‘Phantom of the Opera’ and after ten minutes find yourself back at the main menu – where you started and no wiser: Press 5 …’
‘… or press zero to speak to a customer service advisor … ‘
Now that’s more like it. I’ve been here before and I’m no fool. Zero it is. Ten minutes later I find myself back at the main menu, having been fucked about with, forced to listen to ‘Phantom of the Opera’ and no wiser:
My condition does make it difficult to make myself understood sometimes, but I found that on this occasion (and subsequently) the call centre operatives, useless. Impatient, yet Anyway, the outcome of the call was the telephone assistant was able to move the engineer’s visit date a little further forward to November 14th: still three weeks away, although she did say she would put us on the waiting list should there be any cancellations. After a second call some days later an engineer visit date was brought forward to 1st November. Progress at last!
Now, here’s a first! You are cordially invited to finish the story yourself according to one of three scenarios:
1) The second engineer arrives and to my dismay performs the same battery of tests as his colleague, before announcing his diagnosis: Damage to service supply cable between ‘the Cabinet’ and our property. This nonsense goes on for weeks until out of the blue the cable is repaired and I am sent a wet apology by somebody in ‘Complaints’. I take the matter up with s current Consumer Affairs programme
2) It transpires it has all along been an elaborate ploy by Virgin Media to test the ‘Brand Loyalty’ of randomly selected customers. We triumph in the South Eastern regional competition, and meet Scotland and the Borders in the Grand Final, which we also convincingly win. Our prize is a fortnight in The Bahamas.
3) Our evidence is enough to put the gang behind bars for a long, long time, and we all live happily ever after.
© Andy Daly