Land Line Blues

AE Staff Note: Charlie Chan is a long time Expat and friend of the site. He asked if he could write a column but said that it will not always be flattering to life in Angeles. We of course said yes…

So, here ya go. A different viewpoint on life in Angeles.


Just another day in Angeles…

Yes, we have lots of advantages living here.

Cheap rent, nice weather, girls, girls, girls…BUT, let me give you an idea of a normal day from a local’s perspective:

I awakened at 9 am by Digitel (after barhopping ’till 5am) telephone company collections asking why my bill of 900 pesos isn’t paid. I explain that the reason is I have a 10,000 peso credit limit, (which took about 4 months to convince them to give me), so I don’t have to run down to their office, in traffic, every 30 days, and since they don’t have business return payment envelopes, or online payments… etc…

The line is silent on the other end…

Then that dreaded, “For a moment sir…

Then the line goes dead.

Ok, I’m up now and upset. I call back to try and stop the madness.

Here’s how it goes when I try to reach yet another supervisor to get them to stop calling and READ the notes on my account:

Ring, Ring, Ring…

MABUHAY, thank you for calling Digitel (recording). Please enter your telephone number, followed by the hash key.”

I press in my phone number already knowing who I need to talk to, but to no surprise on my part the recording goes on.

Press one for this, press two for that, press 3 for weather in Reychavik Iceland, press 4 to order a gift basket, or press zero to SPEAK to someone.

<zero>

Ok, now I’m on hold listening to “The Look of Love” MUZAK for ten minutes. Finally, a live person says, “Hello Digitel Customer Service, may I help you?

Yes, may I speak to a supervisor please?” I say in a very calm voice not letting the raising blood pressure show just yet.

Sir, before we go any further may I have your telephone number please?

You realize that I had to ENTER that just to be connected to you right?

Long pause… “Sorry?

Chose your battles… “Never mind, its 89x-xxxx

For a moment sir…

Damn, “Look of Love” is over and now some thick accented Filipina singing a Chicago classic is on.

Ok sir, what was your number?

89x-xxxx” I say again.

89, what sir?

Choose your battles… “89x-xxxx

And may I know the name on the account?

Isn’t that in the record of the number I just gave you?

Yes sir, but may I know it?

Ok, it’s Charlie Chan.” I tell her, again very calmly.

Thank you sir and who is this please?

Who do you think this is?” I reply, a little less calm.

Ok, now may I know the problem?

I explain about being awakened and the credit limit and so on… “So now can I talk to a supervisor?” I ask.

Well Mr. Charlie…

I interrupt, “It’s Mr. Chan.

Long pause… “Well Mr. Chan, collections have their policy to call on overdue accounts and…

I cut her off, “Yes I know that, but did you READ the notes on my account?

No sir.

Yes I can tell, and NEITHER did the person in collections that woke me up this morning, so may I now please speak to a supervisor, or anyone that can get this handled for me?

For a moment sir…

Ok good, Celine Dion. I haven’t heard this song for about two hours when I was in the bars.

Sir, there is no supervisor on duty here today.

<CLICK>

Choose your battles.

Until next time,

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