It’s who your friends are that count

s it turned out, I resisted the temptation to take to the streets chanting and singing, indulge in a truly vicious one-man riot, commit murder, or stick my middle finger up in the air at both Telkom and our PABX service provider.


However, I did heave a heavy sigh of resignation followed by several explicit profanities screamed out in the privacy of my own office as I waited for the problem of the failed telephone systems into our offices to be fixed (see last week’s Cabbages & Kings).
When our lines were finally restored just before closing last Friday after almost five days of being down, I had been through yet another lesson in life of how things work in South Africa.
A friend with a "friend of a friend" with a "friend" in the telecommunications industry got to hear of our plight and offered to help.
Without going into too much detail, I gather the friend’s friend of a friend contacted a friend with a friend "deep" inside Telkom. Within minutes of this "friendly" call one of the major faults that caused the complete collapse of our telephone system was fixed.
Not long after that, a smiling and extremely efficient technician from Telkom by the name of "Lucky" arrived at our offices to inspect our end of the connection. Within five minutes he pronounced that other than the fact that our PABX service provider had not connected up one of the main hunting group trunk lines, everything was back to normal.
Even with my moronic understanding of anything technical, I was able to work out that while the cause of the original fault was Telkom’s, our service provider was equally inefficient. And while these two so-called "customer-centric" organisations argued about who was to blame and who should take the lead in fixing the problem, we were left to suffer the consequences.
And the lesson in life of how things work in South Africa?
Don’t rely on routine "customer service" channels to address your telephone problems – call a "friend". Or a friend of a friend with friends in the right places. It’s who you know that gets things done.
Or, as a last resort, you can always hope that you get "Lucky".
– David Bryant