I am a born and bred New Yorker. From birth until I left home for college at 18 (and then every summer in between years), I have lived in the suburbs of Manhattan. We New Yorkers carry quite a reputation for being rude, angry, pushy, and many other adjectives that are not always flattering. While those can all be a bit of an exaggeration, New Yorkers are direct and are insistent when they expect something to do get done. After 8 years in Austin practicing ‘southern hospitality’ and my general disposition of being in a good mood, the following story may surprise some of you (heck I think I surprised myself!). But I guess 18 years is a long time, so to finish that title….you can’t take the New York out of this boy! 🙂
You won’t like me when I’m angry! This is what I felt like doing to the ‘good people’ of MyRepublic and OpenNet! Puny internet providers 🙂
Ok, so with that GIF I am starting you off at the end of this story, but let’s trek back to the beginning that was our Internet fiasco here in Singapore. To start at the beginning we have to go back about 3 weeks ago when we first signed up with the internet provider MyRepublic here in Singapore. This is a provider that provides a built in VPN (virtual private network) that allows us to watch our Netflix and Huluplus as well as our BBC shows (Luther and Sherlock anyone? good stuff!). When we signed up with them in the mall they said just sign up and we will get back to you to set up a time. Ok, great! We walked away that day feeling great (we also set up a second bank account AND got our cell phones that day, super productive!). We were on our way to finally being settled in. Life was good.
Fast forward a few days later and we still hadn’t heard back from MyRepublic so Ana decides to give them a call and check in. Well after a long conversation and them apparently forgetting we had signed up, they finally tell us they can get somebody out there to set up our Internet…in 2 weeks! Well you can imagine our frustration when we heard this, but we took a deep breath and spent the next two weeks spending long stints (as many as 5 and 6 hours!) at Starbucks getting things ready for the school year on our laptops. Inconvenient, annoying, but we stayed calm, got our work done and basically just slept in our house.
Fast forward two more weeks and it’s Internet day! I am posting on facebook about the excitement of joining the 21st century again. Ana is buzzing about with excitement as well. No more weekends spent at Starbucks! Finally able to catch up on our shows while continuing to do our school work from the comfort of our own couch. The nice installation man(he actually was great) calls and we buzz him up and eagerly meet him at the door. After a short hello he gets right to work. He starts putting in the wiring and plugging it into the box. Suddenly, his progress seems to stop as he plugs in something that looks like a monitor of some sort. I immediately got apprehensive sensing something was wrong. I asked him if everything was alright. He replies, “I have no signal.” To which I reply, “I know there is no signal that is why you are here isn’t it?!” Well at that point he goes into a long explanation of how it’s not actually MyRepublic that turns on the signal it’s actually a company called OpenNet, they just provide the hardware and that there is no way for us to get Internet that day. Ana looks devastated and I was in my own state of shock and dismay. We started to argue, but quickly realized this man was not responsible and actually came out on Sunday morning for nothing. It was at that point that our disappointment turned to determination to get this corrected and this is when the phone calls began. The following takes place between the days Sunday 8/11 and Thursday 8/15:
That Sunday evening: Ana calls to try and understand the mess. She basically asks how do you send a guy out without having been in contact with the other company to make sure they had done what they needed to do? The response was less than forthcoming.
Monday: I call MyRepublic during lunch time and ask them what the status was and what needs to be done to fix it. They said they needed to get in touch with OpenNet. I told them they had 2 weeks to do so. I calmly (I point this out to juxtapose my disposition in later phone calls) replied, “it’s okay I will give them a call and help move this along if I can.” That afternoon I called OpenNet to see what was going on and why hadn’t they turned on our signal. They didn’t seem to know what I was talking about, and at that point I realized I was dealing with a bit bureaucracy and incompetence on the part of either or both companies. I told them I would check in again tomorrow to see if the problem had been solved.
Tuesday: I once again called MyRepublic to see if they had been in contact with OpenNet. They now claimed they had (yay small victory), but that OpenNet told them there was a problem and they could not turn on our signal. I was incredulous! “What do you mean? What kind of problem?” I asked rather loudly into the phone. They got decidedly nervous by my more aggressive tone and told me they would call OpenNet and get back to me. To that I replied, “No, I will call OpenNet and get back to YOU.” Blood pressure starting to rise a bit, I called OpenNet now to see if I could get a straight answer from them. Of the two, OpenNet was WAY worse to call because they left you on hold FOREVER! So every time I finally got somebody to speak with I was already in a bad mood. The OpenNet person told me that there was “something blocking” their people from being able to turn on the signal. I inquired as to what that was and the person responded with “I am not sure, I will look it up and get back to you.” I shot back quickly, “No I will hold” the person reminded me that it might be awhile to which I said, “I am sure it won’t be any longer than I hold to talk to somebody in the first place!” I was put on hold and went back listening to that delightfully awful electronic/rap/pop something god awful that I was sadly getting all to familiar with. After what seemed like a lifetime, she finally came back on the line with “The boxes on your apartment complex are locked.” I said thank you and hung up. Then the thought immediately crossed my mind….. What?! That’s it?! We have a guard at our place 24/7 (completely unnecessary for Singapore but convenient for things like this). How could this be ANY kind of obstacle. Well after about a whole 20 minutes of work on our own Ana and I had the name and contact number of our building owner. He was super nice and said all they had to do was call him and they could come any time they want. ANY TIME!! How hard was that to figure out! Blood was starting to boil. At this point I told some of my Singapore friends about the headaches we were experiencing and we were told that you need to ‘bring out your teacher voice’. Well telling a New Yorker to get tough is just asking for trouble!
This is a good idea of what an angry teacher might look like!
Wednesday: I call MyRepublic and OpenNet in the morning. I give them all the information about the building owner and said just call this man, he will help you set everything up. They both said ok and we will call you back. I said, “No you will hear from ME this afternoon to make sure you have done your jobs.” Gauntlet thrown down, teacher voice used. I figure it all will be taken care of now since I was firm and I DID THEIR JOB FOR THEM! All they needed to do now was make a phone call and set up a time to turn it on! Well I called back that afternoon and when I asked them if it had been taken care of I basically got a response of complete confusion. Well that about finished any chance of me fixing this civilly. I exploded (and in a taxi sadly, poor driver, had to apologize upon our arrival to our destination). “What is the matter with your company? How incompetent can you all be? I DID YOUR JOB FOR YOU!! I gave you the info and the phone number! I am an expat working in an expat community, which is your biggest group of subscribers and I will drag you threw the mud on every blog, website and forum I can find! You have until the end of the week or I am going with another provider and scorching the earth around your company!” Ana just stared at me, probably part shocked and part turned on, not sure more of which tho 🙂 I don’t think in the 5+ years we have been together she has ever seen me lose my cool. I think she liked not being the crazy one for once.
No TV and no Internet make Dan a dull boy!!
Thursday: MyRepublic calls ANA. They tell her that OpenNet has ‘solved the problem’ and they want to come out tomorrow morning and put in the Internet! They are rushing and insistent of getting it in ASAP. Ana calmly explained that we are teachers and that was impossible to do it on a weekday morning. After a few more minutes they settled on Sunday afternoon. As they were getting ready to hang up the phone these were the last words they said to Ana, “Please tell your husband no need call back!” Translation: Please don’t allow your psychotic New Yorker husband to call and verbally abuse us anymore.
Well they came that Sunday and I am typing this a week later from our Internet that works like a charm. For the record, I HATE being mean. It gives me a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach. But sometimes I just can’t help but unleash a little bit of that New Yorker in me that screams to be let out for occasions just like this one 🙂
Until next time!