Saturday, May 28, 2011

The Best Game You Can Name

As I've mentioned before, the thing I miss the most from back home is hockey. After numerous attempts (in vein) to get the cable company that carries hockey installed I finally gave up. Then, one day, out of nowhere, a glimmer of hope appeared. A new cable operator called Skynindo that had the channel I was desperately searching for (In HD as well!). I called them up and they informed me that they could indeed have it installed in my home by the end of the week. This filled me with excitement as I was FINALLY going to be able to watch the NHL playoffs in the comfort of my own home. After some back and forth discussion with the sales rep, we agreed that the technician(s) would come on Saturday.

I made it a point to be home on that day and not preoccupied as technicians often show up without hammers or ladders and require assistance. As promised, the technician(s) showed up at 2 P.M. after asking for directions a couple of times. To my surprise, they were ready to go, complete with their own tools. They chose a spot to install the satellite and went to work. I was impressed by the spot they chose since I've had lots of trouble with the location of my other cable satellite.
As they went to work, I informed them that I would be inside if they needed anything. That was at 2:15 P.M. Over the next couple of hours, I looked outside every 20 minutes or so to make sure that they were OK. They seemed to be taking a very long time as previous satellite installations had taken as little as 15 minutes. I decided to leave them be as they seemed to know what they were doing.

They eventually re-appeared at 4:45 P.M. asking if I had a television that they could use. Confused, I asked for clarification. They said that they wanted to take a television up to the roof to test if the satellite was working properly. The only television I have is my 32 inch flat screen and I told them that there was no way that they were taking it up to the roof and that they would just have to run the cable down (as they would eventually have to anyways) to the television. They begrudgingly agreed. I didn't bother asking them how they planned on plugging the television in up on the roof.

After I showed them where the cable had to come into the house, they ran t
he cable and plugged it into the converter box. Step 1
complete, success! The next step was to connect the converter box to the television; easy, right? Not so much. After the 2 of them spent 20 minutes fumbling around, I decided to step in and help. The converter to television connection was a component cable, like the one used to connect a dvd player. When I stepped in to help, they were basically guessing where to plug the wires in. I tried to explain to them (without being patronizing) that the blue wire goes in the blue holes and that the green wire goes in the green holes etc. Each time it wouldn't work, they would disconnect a wire and try it in a different hole. (for example: blue wire in red hole? No! How about blue wire in white hole?) They were convinced that they would eventually get it right. I shooed them out of the way and connected it properly. After it was all colour coded and ready to rock, it still wasn't working. I informed them that it had to be the converter box or the satellite. They didn't listen, they started randomly trying the wires in different slots again.

By this point, I was losing my patience. I asked a friend (there were 5 friends sitting on my couch being entertained this whole debacle, especially since one of my friends pointed out that the one technician looked just like Chris Rock) how to say 'guess' in Bahasa. Again, I explained to the technician that he couldn't just guess where the wire went, that the colours HAD to match and that he could NOT just randomly try different holes. They only work in the hole that has the matching colour. This time, I seemed to get through to him. He replied with "Ooooooh gitu" (oh, like THAT) and went back out to the satellite and managed to get a signal. He got a semi decent signal and, in order to make it better, he decided to switch the blue and green wires. This resulted in a black & white picture with a green-ish tinge. "Udah, Mister!" (done) he cried triumphantly. I had to disappoint him by pointing out that the picture is supposed to be in colour (not to mention HD) and not black & white with a green tinge. Again, I switched the wires back to where they were supposed to be, making him watch and sent them back to the satellite. After a good 30 minutes of playing around, they managed to get a clear picture.

Just as they did, a hockey game appeared on my television which was met by a boisterous applause by the peanut gallery on the couch. That's the end of this ordeal, or so I thought. Not so much, I still had to sort out the bill. They had attempted to charge me for transport and vastly over charged me for the length of cable used (you pay by the meter). Luckily, I had my tape measure sitting on the table and went about measuring the cable. After 2 minutes of this, they gave up and agreed that it was probably 10 meters less than the 25 meters they had written down. It was even less than that but I couldn't be bothered. They were refusing to budge on the transport fee as their office was "Jauh" (far away). After threatening to call the sales manager, they begrudgingly removed the transport fee. Nobody else who had ever installed anything in my house had ever tried to charge me for transport and I'd be dammed if they were going to be the first. Finally, everything was settled. Not so much.

They told me that the balance of the bill (including that satellite that I had to buy) had to be paid in cash to them. These guys were sketchy looking on their best day and there was no way I was handing them a big wad of cash. After 3 or 4 phone calls, I got their boss to agree to let me deposit the money into his account the next day on the condition that I provided them with a photocopy of my passport. I told him that I didn't have a photocopy of my passport on me and that it was not the easiest thing to obtain on 6:30 P.M. on a Saturday night. He said to give my passport to the technicians and have them go find a place. NOT GONNA HAPPEN! Finally, I "remembered" that I did have a photocopy of my passport laying around in my room. I quickly changed the passport number on the contract I had filled out and gave them a photocopy of my old passport that expired in June 2009. They didn't notice and were happily on their way after spending a mere 5 hours at my house.

Tired and sweaty, I went inside and cracked a well deserved beer and watched the good ol' hockey game. Since that day, I have been fortunate enough to watch playoff hockey on a nightly basis and have managed to even get some of my British friends interested in it. Life is good despite the Detroit Red Wings losing a 7th game heartbreaker. As Stopmin Tom Connors says, it is "The best game you can name, that good ol' hockey game"

GO CANUCKS! Bring the Cup back to Canada!

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