Some days the polar bear eats you…

Day in, day out Indone­sia tests you. It has it’s highs, and when they’re high they’re very, very high, and it has it’s lows most of which are to do with the shock­ing state of the nation’s crum­bling infra­struc­ture (includ­ing the edu­ca­tion sys­tem) or it’s night­mare bureau­cra­cy, which feels like the worst ele­ments of 19th Cen­tu­ry Dutch colo­nial admin­is­tra­tion over­laid with half a cen­tu­ry of incom­pe­tence and cor­rup­tion, until nobody real­ly knows what’s going on much of the time.

Or the shit­ty, the cus­tomer is always wrong ser­vice.

Most­ly though Indone­sia is pret­ty easy going and mud­dles along. Java in par­tic­u­lar always feels open and very gen­er­ous (prob­a­bly more so than Bali, where the smiles you see every­where can some­times hide some­thing thoughts rather less char­i­ta­ble).

And so it was yes­ter­day, when we went to the ISP to find out why we get cut off month in, month out regard­less of whether we’ve paid or not. And we, at my insis­tence went to see the own­er. And he re-defined the shit­ty, the cus­tomer is always wrong phi­los­o­phy.

So, Pak Her­ry, why do we, regard­less of whether we pay for your gross­ly over­priced and slow inter­net ser­vice, get cut off every month.

Because the mon­ey has not gone into our account.

But it hap­pens when I pay cash in your office. In fact for the 36 odd months I’ve been with you, it’s hap­pened 20 times and I’ve nev­er been late pay­ing – not once.

It is because of your bank.

It has noth­ing to do with our bank. It also hap­pens when I pay cash – please lis­ten care­ful­ly.

No, it doesn’t.

Yes, it does.

So you are say­ing I’m lying?

Mr Simon we are just try­ing to serve you the best we can.

No, you are not, you are now call­ing your long term reli­able pay­ing cus­tomer a liar and no num­ber of smarmy plat­i­tudes will change that.

You must open an account in our bank.

Par­don?

You must open an account with our bank because our bank has prob­lems with oth­er banks.

Par­don?

You must open an account with our bank because our bank has prob­lems with oth­er banks.

Why can’t you open an account at my bank since it’s yours that is caus­ing the prob­lem?

Mr Simon we are just try­ing to serve you the best we can. Please help us.

Good god. Brigid gets upset and tells Pak Her­ry that he’s essen­tial­ly a smarmy wanker. We move on.

Since you adver­tise 24 hr ser­vice, is it pos­si­ble to have some­one in your office after 6 pm and before 8 am? That is, since your feed often goes down overnight.

Mr Simon we are just try­ing to serve you the best we can. But no.

Why?

It costs too much. You must wait until morn­ing.

So the biggest inde­pen­dent ISP in Bali can’t afford one per­son to sit in the office overnight? I don’t believe you.

Mr Simon we are just try­ing to serve you the best we can. But no.

Why can’t my two con­nec­tions, at work and home, be on the same invoice?

Mr Simon, we can­not do that.

Why?

It would con­fuse my staff. Please help us.

Sure­ly it is a sim­ple mat­ter.

Mr Simon we are just try­ing to serve you the best we can. But no.

So I can­not get one invoice, because I’m wor­ried that we will, now that I will have two con­nec­tions, regard­less of whether they are up to date, be ran­dom­ly cut off every month — twice.

Mr Simon, I can­not promise you that you won’t but my staff are work­ing very hard to serve you as well as we can.

No, you’re not. You are a smarmy soul­less git, whose approach to busi­ness is to spend as lit­tle as pos­si­ble and see how much you can get away with.

Per­haps you can open an account at our bank?

New ISPs are launch­ing this year. But I’m thor­ough­ly sat­is­fied with ours, after all, they are just try­ing to serve me the best they can.

Share your thoughts