When I got back from retreat last Sunday I found my broadband connection wasn't.
This started a daily (or twice or thrice daily) chat with BT Business Broadband helpdesk advisers, plus one or two detours to the 154 phoneline people.
The fault seems to be exactly what I experienced in April and May (yes, eight weeks) and I was hoping not to go through the struggles of last time when the fault was finally sorted on the fourth engineer visit to the house by adjusting some connection under the manhole near the house.
When you set out on the fault report odyssey, each individual on the phone is efficient and courteous - but the system .....
Anyway, after talking to about a dozen different BT adviser people over this week (and you need to allow 20-30 mins a pop), the engineer visited this morning and remembered that he'd been here in April. In fact it was he who improved the internal phone wiring near the computer. One of the difficulties is that I'm s-o-o-o-o far away from the exchange, at the edge of the viable extremity, that the connection is apparently always likely to be vulnerable and it would be more reliable if it was reduced to 0.5M instead of 1M. Anyway, he found that his modem worked 100% each time. So he was sure it must be a flaw in the old phone wiring in my house, or an unreliable modem.
I can't say it isn't - but the fact that broadband was working from June until 11 December, and this week has been working at night from about 10pm to at least 2am (quiet internet traffic times?), makes me wonder if we'll ever find the truth.
What does seem true, at least to me, is that the customer service systems in place, plus the fact that there are 3 separate companies involved, will inevitably ware the average person's nerves to a frazzle. So then it's an almighty challenge to be civil to the telephone helpdesk people who have to follow strict procedures, and are not able to change how it goes even if they want to. Do they get emotionally brutalised by emotionally exasperated customers?
(By the way, if you live in Newport Gwent and want a job, I see BT's advertising for helpdesk advisers for 'one of the world's leading communication providers'. I hope the agency name "Gumtree" isn't significant!)
I hope helpdesk advisers, with their thankless responsibility, enjoy their well-deserved and probably brief Christmas break.
[* I realise my friends might want to take issue over my claim to be sane in the first place]