Tuesday, July 2, 2013

The Chicago Way

I was sitting at the dining room table, banging through some business work when the internet failed.  A quiet bloom of “Unable to Update” windows spread across the screens.  I sighed, tapped a few reload keys; more windows.  This  was not good.

BT knocked on the door Friday to advise me that they were replacing the box around the copper wire in the front yard.  Will I lose the connection?  Nah, it’s just a box, nothing electrical. What could happen?

Of course, it did.

I’m in a pretty fragile mood at the moment, but I stuck my head out the front door.  “Problem?” I asked the man with the shovel, sitting in the big dark hole.  No Problem, he grinned.  “No connection!” I frowned.  I didn’t touch anything!

I asked him to call a supervisor while I rebooted routers and checked phones.  ‘Still nothing:  I went back outside.  The supervisor will call BT, he smiled and put the men back to digging.

I think that this is where European and US sensibilities differ.  I have enough irritation, enough experience with BT to know that this will go on for weeks.  American sensibility says that this gets solved now or it won’t get solved.

“Please stop all work now.  I want to talk with your supervisor.”  They looked incredulous but I stood my ground.  They got out of the hole, retreated to the truck, and started dialing.

“When I can get back to work, your men can get back to work,” I told the supervisor.  You may be delaying your long-planned service upgrade, he began: I handed the phone back to the work diggingcrew.  “No more digging in my yard.”

Everyone took a half-hour time-out while the supervisor drove-out, accompaied by the office manager.  He inspected the hole, then hit the phones; I made calls outside where I could get a mobile signal and keep an eye on things.  BT says its not their problem if our shovels didn’t nick the wire.  “It’s certainly not my problem: keep trying please.”  The neighbors arrived: one (10 months pregnant) glowered that her phone was off, while the other just glowered at the mess.  ‘Great team effort.

BT is on the way. “Many thanks, go ahead and dig while we all wait, but please stay until they get here?”  He nodded, made another call to BT.

A tech showed up within the hour.  He isolated the problem to a ten-foot stretch of cable between the hole and the house.  The workmen started digging a trench.  The neighbors beamed.

A bad crimp, the tech said, holding up a copper wire, and completely oxidized to black as well.  I bet this never worked well.

“Not in three years.”

It just took a little jerk to separate it entirely.  He stripped and crimped with gusto.  There we go, try it now.

The neighbors and I ran in for another reboot.  This time, blue lights glowed, web pages loaded, dial tones hummed.  Everyone shook hands and waved.

chicago wayAt the peak, I had a half dozen people on site, peering into the hole and solving the problem. 

Okay, I may have been the problem, but I didn’t cause it. 

And I did get it fixed.

The Chicago Way.

It almost made me feel a little better.


Jules said...


I should post a story about Burt...

David Hampton said...

'Always nice to get a 'win', isn't it :)