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Your Call is very Important to Us

Believe that and you will believe anything! Nevertheless, press button 1 if you are male. Press button 2 if you are female and press button 3 if you have been waiting so long for a response from BTCL that you have forgotten why you are calling!

The BTCL really is very odd isn’t it? Even though its staff have nothing to do but drink tea and enjoy diphaphatha, it still insists that nothing can be done to rectify your non-functioning phone or internet until three working days have passed. If the cable has been cut, there will be a mandatory five-day delay.

Thus, the likelihood is that the BTCL will only get around to helping you when a week has passed with the first and after a two-week delay with the other. During those gap days, the BTCL is totally indifferent to the effect on your business, with your social life and with the annoyance of your relatives because you opted not to answer the phone when they needed help.

They know that this is a deliberate act on your part because they can hear the phone ringing. Unlike the people who are responsible for such matters in other countries, BTCL has been technically incapable of providing a jingle, which would inform callers that the phone is NOT working.

But with the fault reported and a 10-digit number awarded there follows the frequently desperate calls on cell phones for information about the nature of the fault which are likely to be met by either indifference, ignorance or the provision of woefully incorrect information.

Eventually when those at its admin centre do get around to communicating with their technicians in the field, the fault is usually rectified within a reasonable period of time and the BTCL’s miserable customers can now set about repairing their wrecked businesses and troubled personal relationships.

But it is then, when the customer is still in a state of euphoria in being once again in contact with the rest of the world that a BTCL field technician calls to ask if the phone/internet is working again? Of course, most of us then fall over ourselves to express gratitude and appreciation overlooking for the moment the bizarre way that the BTCL works.

When the landline/internet is down, it is totally indifferent. But the moment it knows that the fault is repaired and once again working, it rings to ask if it is working? This is straight forward schadenfreude - the enjoyment of pain.

If the BTCL was more willing to keep customer records it would know that over the last 20 years or so, I

have been far and away its most loyal, steadfast and persistent complainant. In fact, I doubt that a runner-up even comes close. Gobe Matenge was recently made an honorary Fellow of Barclays Bank because he had been the first native to open a bank account.

 In contrast, I get nothing! Not even a scroll signed by its upper dignitaries to confirm that over those years, I have made a few thousand complaints without even once obtaining a response! But enough of this folly.

BTCL is immune to complaints and its customer relations are as bad now as they were 20 years ago. But there are others whose woes are so much greater than ours. Spare a thought for the thousands, for instance, who have ruefully discovered that they now have to be finger-printed and photographed at the South African border.

My sources tell me that it now takes between two and three hours to get through the Tlokweng border. How did it happen that we were not better warned and advised to try the smaller borders for a quicker way through?

But talking of borders, we did recently get to the SSK terminal in Gaborone after a long break to find that the exterior is improved but that the interior is as characterless as ever and the loud speaker system still virtually inaudible.

Probably like the BTCL there is now little that can be done to make it even slightly more customer friendly. But the proprietors of the commercial newspapers ought to be concerned that this must be the one and only airport of a capital city in the world in which it is impossible to buy any sort of newspaper.

But away with the grumps, the concerns about dissipation, the machinations of politicians and the frequently ugly political scenarios, and rejoice. It is spring. And everywhere we look we see trees in marvelous, heartwarming flower.

This is such an extraordinarily beautiful country. And to think that I came here when the means of communication was by hand cranked telephone and telegrams and now I can now sit at home watching the flightpath on my mac of someone I had just seen off at SSK!

That is simply amazing. Lucky me for having experienced such an astonishing transition. Rejoice greatly. Indeed. To live through this extraordinary transition is an enormous privilege.

Etcetera II



Ke a phantsha

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