Yesterday, I walked into TelOne to ask about the landline application I submitted some 3 months ago. 30 September 2011 to be exact. I need the landline for ADSL broadband internet. TelOne as you know is the state owned sole fixed line operator (and provider of ADSL services) in Zimbabwe. The operator decided on a monopoly of ADSL broadband internet and won’t let ISPs in on the ‘bulk’ ADSL. Their ADSL internet is reliable, quite the option too if, like me, you’re looking for some low cost internet.
So I walked up to the reception (at the main post office in Harare) and was told to go check with the people inside. In there I met a lady at a desk who told me to go further down the hall. Just “further down” nothing about which particular desk to go to.
I go further down, and out of couple of desks I eventually see one that has a small queue and seated behind the desk a lady talking to a customer. She’s pointing to and waving what appears to be an application form to the customer. The waving is the kind people do to emphasize a point the other party is choosing not to get. I figure this must be the right desk, so I join the queue.
My turn comes and I walk up to her desk. “I’d like to check when my landline will be installed” I say, showing her a scribbled paper with the reference number I got 3 months ago. She doesn’t look at it. She looks at me.
“Come next week Wednesday!” she instructs.
I look at her, somewhat confused at what that means. I’m figuring she’s going to say more so I just look at her and wait for the rest. She doesn’t say any more.
“Why? Why next week?” I finally ask, still blank.
“Didn’t I just say to come next week? Come next week Wednesday!” she retorts impatiently.
“Why should I come next week? You don’t want to check today? you have a backlog? someone’s on holiday? you don’t do service applications today? Why? I want to know why I should come next week!” I too am getting impatient.
Then she responds in that so-what-you-gon-do tone “you won’t leave until I show you a pile of papers. Is that it?”
Again I don’t know what she means here. “No. You don’t need to do that, just tell me why I should come next week!”
“We don’t have capacity! Is that what you want to hear?”
“Ok.” I resign and decide to go.
As I walk out I’m thinking maybe I should get her name and take this up with her superiors. Then I think I’ve loads of stuff to do, and the last thing I need is more stress working the bureaucratic food chain here.
Next week maybe. I’ll go again next week Wednesday.