I am exhausted. And it’s not because of I’ve run a marathon or because of work or the kids or the accountant who’s constantly reminding me of my overdue tax returns, it’s because I’m trying to have a phone connected in an apartment for a new a new tenant who has just moved in.
I’d really love to spare you a story that is so boring and mind-numbing but what I have been through in trying to get a connection has almost been enough to put me in an institution and I believe purging the story will be almost therapeutic.
It all started innocently enough because I assumed that in the 21st century, having a phone connected would be a simple task – silly me.
This is how it unraveled.
The tenant moved into the property. Noticed the phone point was damaged. Asked me to have it repaired. I called the electrician. He came to the property and repaired it but advised the line was dead. He told me I needed to call Telstra because he believed the line was cut somewhere between the street and the property. I phoned Telstra and asked for a technician to come to the property. They told me a technician would be there the next day and that if he needed access he would text to advise.
No text message was received.
At the end of the day however, a ‘no reply’ text message did come through that said, ‘A technician was unable to gain site access today. If your service is still faulty please call your fault centre’. (On the ‘no reply’ number that hasn’t been supplied).
At the same time I received a text from the increasingly hostile tenant demanding the issue with the phone immediately be remedied because it is causing him to lose business. (I have no idea how that can be the case seeing he is a tradesman working for an employer but anyway!)
I phoned Telstra and was put through to an off-shore non-English speaking person who asked me to spell my name three times. Once we had that sorted I asked her why the technician had said he needed access when the advice I had been given was that the problem was between the street and the property.
The woman didn’t answer that question but instead stated that a technician should never have been sent to the property because due to privacy laws no technician could be called out until the last used phone number at the property had been verified. As I was unable to verify the last known phone number at the property, Telstra would not be able to fix the line.
I said, ‘There was a line installed 15 years ago. Not all tenants have used it. Some don’t want a fixed line, they just use their mobile. But now there is a tenant who wants a fixed line. Would you like me to make up a number so that then you can come down and flick the switch?’
She then told me that she understood my problem but that there was no way she could solve it.
I said, ‘Put me through to someone else’.
Thirteen minutes later I ended up in the business sector. ‘What am I doing here?’ I asked.
‘The last known phone number was a business number so you need to speak with the business department’.
‘I have a residential tenant in a residential area who is having kittens. Are you able to get the phone on?’
‘Sure. Can you give me the phone number?’
‘There isn’t a phone number because the phone isn’t connected’.
‘I’m very sorry Ma’am but we can’t connect a phone without a number’.
I swear to God this went on for 50 minutes. After speaking with three foreigners who all asked me to spell my name and who all asked me the address of the property and who all asked me to provide the last known number at the property, I was tipped over the edge and demanded to speak with someone within Australia. That woman looked up the property on the computer and said she could see that two lines had been previously installed at the property so this whole issue could be simply resolved by the tenant phoning to ask to have the line connected – just a flick of the switch at the exchange. This would cost him the total sum of $49.00. If after that the phone was not working, he could then phone the faults department and have the line fixed for free.
‘Thank you’, I said in a very relieved tone. I phoned the tenant and gave him this news. I went home from work nursing my tension headache and called into the local supermarket and bought ingredients to make Laksa for dinner – something very comforting after wasting so much time on the phone to Telstra.
However, once I had that Laksa paste and coconut milk in my trolley my mobile rang. It was the tenant. He said he had been on the phone to Telstra who had advised that there was no evidence of any line ever being provided at the property and as such the landlord would need to pay a fee of $300.00 to have the phone connected. I was reeling. This was in complete conflict with what I had been told at the end of my 50 minute conversation with Telstra.
We are back at Square One. The tenant doesn’t believe he needs to pay for a line that has never before been connected. The landlord doesn’t believe he needs to pay for a line he has previously paid for. The phone line remains dead.
Expletives work well in times such as this.
As does Laksa. It’s great comfort food. Warm food in a bowl is very comforting especially when washed down with wine. Wine and Telstra go hand in hand!
Degree of Difficulty: 2/5
Cost: This is a very affordable family meal.
- 2 tbs sunflower oil
- 500g chicken thigh fillets, sliced
- 1/3 cup (100G) laksa paste
- 1 1/2 cups (375ml) chicken stock
- 1 cup (250ml) coconut milk
- 2 kaffir lime leaves, very finely shredded
- 1 tbspn grated palm sugar
- 1 tbspn fish sauce
- 1-2 tbspns lime juice
- 4 free-range eggs
- 200gm dried vermicelli rice noodles
- 2 cups bean sprouts, trimmed
- 1/2 cup Thai basil leaves
- 1/2 cup coriander leaves
Heat oil in a wok over medium-high heat. Season chicken, then stir-fry, in batches, for 3-4 minutes until just golden. Add laksa paste and stir-fry for 1 minute until fragrant. Add stock, coconut, milk, kaffir lime and 1/2 cup water. Bring to the boil, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 10 minutes until chicken is cooked. Stir in sugar, fish sauce and lime juice to taste.
Meanwhile, place eggs in a saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to the boil over high heat and cook for 5-7 minutes until hard-boiled. Rinse under cold water, then peel, halve and set aside.
Cook the noodles according to packet instructions, then drain and divide among serving bowls. Ladle over laksa and top with the bean sprouts, Thai basil, coriander, eggs and chilli.
This recipe has been adapted from Taste.