Sep 29, 2011

The thing that is most annoying...

We are all social beings. We seek other people for simple transactional purposes leave alone communication. One of the first things I had to do was to get the basics - telephone, internet, TV connection. So after finding out from neighbours and nearby store owners the numbers for the different utilities, I call them and get them to come to discuss their wares - pricing packages etc. There isnt much choice - either because the rep doesnt know and can't answer questions or there simply aren't too many options. But I do manage to get a rough idea of what the bill will be. The rep assures me that it wont exceed X amount. So we pick a package and set a date for installation. My son is waiting eagerly for the TV connection, so he can watch the World cup. I am waiting eagerly for the internet - so I can get on with my other search for things like furniture stores, music class etc.

The appointed day comes and goes - no one has called to say they are late or can't keep the appointment. It seems mundane now, but having been used to the punctuality and preciseness of things in the US, not having people show up, was quite jarring. I made some calls and these guys were not in the least bit apologetic! They simply give me an excuse that I can't penetrate and simply fix a different time. I decide to give them a chance. The next date comes and goes. The worst part is, you have to stick around at home waiting for these guys since they dont give you a good window of time. This time I am on short fuse. Remember, all along we've been getting by without these basic utilities. It is a bigger let down when you expect something to happen and it doesn't. So I call and give them a ear full. And they show up. Connection set up, TV, internet and phone all working. Everything is fine.

A month later, I get the bill and there is absolutely no correlation between what I asked and what's on the bill. I call them to get an explanation- I am on eternal hold and finally the person I get, simply raises a trouble ticket for a billing question!! No one bothers about the trouble ticket for days although I keep getting text messages to my cell phone with the trouble ticket number and that it is assigned to so and so etc. Then I realise - people here dont value their own words and most importantly, there is no penalty or incentives for (not) keeping appointments!

It is very frustrating even now. I dread having to deal with maintenance guys, furniture delivery fellows - anyone who has to show up at your doorstep for something. I am learning to lower my expectations and not plan things as well as we used to in the US.

So what is the silver lining on this cloud you ask? I stopped looking for it. Is that a good answer?

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