I’ve been having trouble with my ISP, BSNL. Due to a billing snafu, they cut me off on Friday and I only got my internet turned back on today. Now I could imagine Deutche Telekom doing something this stupid because they have shown me many reasons to. (For the record, I never had any complaints about Nynex when I lived in New York) What makes BSNL special is not just that they manage to screw up bills or mangle timing for turning things back on (both BSNL and T-Online are good about turning things off; it is the on switch that vexes them). At least T-Online works when it is “on”. With BSNL, actually being able to use the net is hit or miss at any given time. I usually have to click “reload” three or four times to get any page to load.
So I got fed up with BSNL and started shopping for a new ISP. Reliance seems to be popular with my neighbors and they tell me that it is more reliable than BSNL, so I’m going to give them a try. I called their call center to tell them that I want to switch to them. I was impressed by the call center woman I got.
Sir, I need to check what service availability is in your area. What city do you live in?
What state is that in?
This question floored me. Bangalore is one of India’s major cities. This is like telling someone that you are in New York City and having them ask you what state. Actually, I’d understand that better. If I was in New York and talking to someone in a call center, it would probably be in Bangalore and they could be forgiven for not knowing what state New York City is in.
I had an irresistible urge to say “Punjab”.
It was not in my best interest to allow the woman to get too confused.
Sir what is your PIN?
What in the blazes is a PIN? Is this some government issued ID number? Some special local code?
Ma’am, what is a PIN?
Your PIN Sir?
Ma’am, I don’t know what a PIN is, but I can give you my postal code
I need to know your PIN Sir.
That conversation went nowhere. She told me that they would be contacting me within a week. And for the record, a PIN is what they call a postal code in India.