Liuzhou Laowai

Random thoughts on life in Liuzhou, Guangxi, China

China NoCom

This could all have turned out very differently. I was having visions of spending time at the keyboard lambasting all and sundry for their corporate incompetence, tax avoidance, general annoyance etc. I would have worked the orange imbecile in somehow, too. A total breakdown in civilisation etc.

I had to move house. Always a load of not fun. I found a place to go to very quickly and it is not only nicer and more convenient for my dissolute lifestyle, but it managed to be cheaper than the old place. Guanxi.

I actually moved at the end of April, but twenty years accumulation of this and that takes a long time to unpack. I knew that if I got the internet reconnected at the new place (I had ceremonially, literally cut the cables at the previous place), I would ignore the fact that my entire life was somewhere in one of those many unmarked boxes and spend my time reading stuff on the internet in which I am not the least bit interested. You know, life as usual.

China Telecom – San Zhong Road Branch

Finally, on May 5th, I hauled myself round the corner to the local office of China Telecom to arranged for my account to be moved from a to b. The young woman serving me spent ages mucking about with her computer and it was only after an hour when she suddenly produced a SIM card and demanded my cell phone that I realised that she had completely missed the point and was attempting to fit me up with a new cellphone internet service which I neither needed nor wanted. This despite me having said that I wanted to move the account and even supplying her a copy of my agreement.

That out of the way, she started all over again and just as I was thinking that I should have brought a packed lunch and perhaps dinner, too, she demanded my ID Card number. Why can’t Chinese people work out that non-Chinese are unlikely to have Chinese ID cards?

But no problem. I had been sensible enough to take my passport. She went off banging her keyboard yet again and discovered (big surprise) that her computer wouldn’t accept my passport number (not enough digits). She consulted colleagues; she tried again in case the computer had changed its mind. Finally someone wiser (her boss?) suggested that perhaps they couldn’t accept passports, but that the head office downtown could. I should piss off there and never darken their door again.

To be fair, they were quite apologetic and even wrote  a note explaining the problem for me to show the staff at HQ. But I had wasted two hours.

I took myself off to Longcheng Road and the Telecom HQ opposite the square, climbed to the third floor and grabbed myself a ticket for the queueing system. My number came up quicker than I anticipated because it was lunchtime and the people in front of me had all given up and gone for their noodles.

Liuzhou China Telecom HQ

Another young women went direct to the heart of the problem, tapped away on her computer, entered the passport number without problems and relieved me of ¥100 transfer fee. I took the opportunity to also pay for a further year’s service as I knew it was due at the end of the month anyway.

“The engineer will call you tomorrow (Saturday) to arrange installation,” I was told.

Of course, no one called the next day. Late on Sunday I received a text message (Chinese)  informing me that they could not install internet service in my new place as there were no free ports.

To my astonishment this was followed up by an English translation, of sorts.

I went ballistic.

“China Telecom can’t provide telecom? Are you serious? What line of business are you in, then? Time wasting?

CT’s main slogan is the semi-literate and totally illogical “Customer First,  Service Foremost”. I reminded them of this and asked how they thought it applied to the situation now.

This just provoked a repetition of the original message.

Various telephone calls were made but it was clear I was getting nowhere. Until on Monday morning I was told that I could wait until they install some new ports, but that wouldn’t happen for at least a month.

The problem was that I couldn’t even decamp to an alternative provider as they share the ports and I would have the same problem.

Then, to my amazement at 5:37 pm I received this.

A call to make sure they hadn’t made an error assured me that someone had suddenly, unexpectedly cancelled their internet service freeing up a port for me! FAKE NEWS!

Or one hell of a coincidence. Face-saving nonsense more like.

On the Wednesday, she reconfirmed

On Thursday, I waited in all day and of course nothing happened. At 3:30 pm, I contacted my mystery correspondent again and told her no one had come.

At around 5 pm a young man turned up and did the business. I’m back in internet land.

I have my theories as to what really happened, but have no evidence. I’m sure however that if I hadn’t kicked up hell, I would still be sitting here staring at a blank screen.

The mystery staff member has been back in contact to thank me(!) for my patience and her chance to practice English. I’ll be holding on to her number. Thanks whoever you are.

P.S. Of course I had internet access via cell phone throughout so wasn’t totally cut off. However, I can’t sensibly work on my cell phone.

. This entry was posted on Saturday, May 13th, 2017 at 8:17 pm and is filed under Computer Stuff, Internet Stuff, Stupidity. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

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