There are many things to love about living in Italy: the great weather, the great food, the great people. But there comes a time, no matter where you live, where you have to phone Technical Support.
Don’t get me wrong, I hate phoning tech support in England. In English. But the prospect of having to do it in Italian filled me with dread: trying to explain to some PFY that no, despite the fact I don’t speak very good Italian, I’m not a moron but my Internet is down and its Your Fault.
Our Internet has mostly been pretty good. We’ve had the odd few drop outs. But then last week it went down and stayed down for 24 hours. The only thing that seemed to resurrect it, weirdly, was picking the phone up to get a dial tone (don’t ask me why, I hate technology).
So I bit the bullet and phoned Telecom Italia. After having first navigated the automated phone menu (not as easy as it sounds with limited Italian), I managed to get through to a real live human being. I explained the problem. He seemed to understand. And then, as always happens, the tech support guy realises that if he can fob you off he can get off the call quickly and not have to do any Real Work.
Ah, you connect via wireless, we don’t do PC support
Nice try. But I’m too wily to fall for your tricks. Somehow, I managed to explain that the problem was with the modem, not my PC. But I still couldn’t make him understand that the ADSL light was blinking. Eventually, he relented and switched to English to explain that the ADSL light was important – I explained: yes, it’s switching on and off. Blinking.
Aaaah, I understand. An engineer will look at it within 2 days.
Now, when I hear this in the UK, I know it’s a lie. At some point in the next week another PFY will see my ticket, ignore it, assume I’m some kind of internet moron and close it “User Too Clueless To Use Internet”. But in Italy? I had very little hope and was trying to figure out which of my colleagues I could persuade to deal with Telecom Italia on my behalf.
Then, unbelievable surprise: that evening I get a call from Telecom Italia asking if the problem is fixed. Unfortunately, we’d gone to an outdoor concert to get rained on (in Italy, go figure!) so couldn’t know either way. I explained to them we’d be back the following day so could they call back then.
So the following morning we return, to find a working Internets. Telecom Italia, good to their word, phone back – on a Sunday - to confirm all is working. With great pleasure I tell them that yes, the internet is working fine again. Then on Monday I get another call to once again confirm that yes, it really is still working.
Bloody hell. Has Italy discovered customer service? This is brilliant. Having been beaten into submission by years of abuse at the hands of UK ISPs, this excellent service has me utterly blown away.
And then today, once again, the internet is down and staying down. Not even picking up the phone seems to cure it (except, when I started writing this, it came up – whether it will stay up long enough for me to finish and post is another matter entirely).
So once again I do battle with Telecom Italia. This time though I get someone that obviously doesn’t much care for foreigners. Doesn’t really want to go to any effort to try and decipher my crap Italian. Despite me trying to explain that the light is “winking”, she keeps asking me: what are you trying to say? What, on this good earth, do you think I might be saying? Am I suggesting that the ADSL light is making a sexually suggestive gesture from across a crowded room? No. Am I suggesting that the ADSL light somehow secretly understands my inner thoughts and wishes to convey this without letting onto everyone else in the room? On balance, probably not. Perhaps the light is FLASHING. And no, not in a “expose your genitals” kind of way (yes, I’m, looking at you wordreference.com).
Eventually, I manage to make her understand that the light is neither constantly on nor constantly off but in the only possible third state that this light is capable of: an oscillation between said two states in a steady and repetitive manner indicative of a difficulty achieving some desired outcome.
Engineer will deal with you in two days. Thank you. Goodbye.
Well, we shall see. In England, I’d get all ranty about how they told me that last time and it’s once again gone down like a cheap whore. But given that trying to explain flashing lights is leading me into all sorts of sexually suggestive dead-ends, I think that might be pushing my Italian way beyond it’s limits.