So I finally gave in and ordered a new iPhone from Amazon on 24 August. When it hadn't arrived after about 10 days I just put it down to ... well, whatever the excuse is at the moment, really. Not to worry, though, as my current phone still works, albeit in a somewhat temperamental manner when I'm out and about. But the other day I thought it really was taking a long time so I looked up my order on Amazon France and saw that it had been "delivered on 26 August"! Well not a bit of it! I haven't seen hide nor hair of that thing and since it was being transported by Chronopost (meaning it had to be signed for), I contacted Amazon by email to ask what gives. To be fair, they have always been very efficient, and they got back to me immediately saying they would put a trace on it, even though they "expected it to be delivered in the next 48 hours, but in any case they would get back to me by 3 September at the latest". When that didn't happen I waited a bit longer and contacted them again, but this time by phone. After a few goes back and forth with the young woman I asked why it was so difficult to trace something that had to be signed for and she couldn't answer me. Anyway, she told me she would have to contact her supervisor and we made arrangements for someone to call me at 10 a.m. last Monday - and you guessed it, nobody called! Again I have to say that this is most unusual for Amazon as on the rare occasion I have had a problem, they have always resolved it very quickly!
So yesterday I got p...ssed off and sent yet another email giving a résumé of the situation and asking when I was going to get my money back (€700 if you're interested). Well I finally got an email from the young woman I spoke to on the phone and she said she had issued a reimbursement order and to give it between five and seven days! Just on the off-chance I tried checking my credit card on my phone but so far, nothing yet. Trouble is, checking my credit card on my phone only works once every couple of times at the moment. Ditto trying to update my French banking app to incorporate a new security code that they are insisting on. Every time I try to do this I get a message telling me "this service is currently unavailable", so today I received a letter from them giving me a second code that I will have to input any time I want to make a purchase online. On a side note, I would be absolutely delighted if Amazon reimbursed me and then my phone finally showed up because on the couple of occasions I've had this happen and contacted them to find out how to return the item when it subsequently showed up, they've told me to keep it!!! Somehow I don't see that happening though, do you! I also have another large package which is waaayyy delayed too (two compendiums of the complete works of Gary Larsen. I have one myself and wanted to get one each for my sons for Christmas since they love mine). Well these haven't turned up yet either (although order tracking confirms "the plane has landed" - though where, I have no idea!). So now I'm wondering if these delays are due to the pandemic, a labour shortage or the global economic situation - who knows!
Then last week I received my new wifi box since my old one must be about 15 years old and is also on its last legs. Well I messed around with that thing for ages and couldn't get it to work, which again is odd because I had no problem setting the first one up. So in the end I asked my neighbour for help and he realized that the sim card codes I was trying to input were for my telephone and not for the wifi box. Just FYI, if you are ever told to insert a sim card into a wifi box (or into anything really) where you have to push it out of its plastic support, for goodness sakes don't throw that little piece of plastic away because that is where your codes and passwords are, in tiny, tiny letters on the back! I didn't know that but thankfully hadn't thrown it away and he was able to get it up and running! Just as a test, he called his wife using my home phone (which was now running off the new wifi) and everything seemed hunky dory - well that is until about 30 minutes later when I realized that my home phone no longer worked!
Well I've tried everything to get it to work and even ran down to a little shop in town (where André bought a whole bunch of stuff for his apartment) and explained my problem to them. The guy took his time and explained to me exactly where the cables should be hooked up and when I asked to buy a specific cable to do the hook up he just handed one over and told me to take it home and try it out - and come back tomorrow to pay for it if it worked! And he doesn't even know me (even though I've shopped there a few times). I have to admit I was a bit surprised at that. I mean, why should they trust me to come back and pay the next day? Oddly enough, about 15 years ago my husband and I were looking at furniture in a town about 30 minutes from here when we spotted a couple of paintings that we liked that were done by art students, but couldn't decide which one we preferred - so the guy told us to take them both home to get a better look at them and then come back later and settle up with him!!! Seriously, how great is it that there are still such trusting people around!
In the end I found my own cable to hook up the phone and the wifi box but yet again, my phone worked for one call and then nada! In any case I ran back into town today to take their cable back and the guy said they might well be working on a problem on the line so to give my phone carrier a call back. And that was when I got a text message from my carrier saying they were indeed working on the line and would let me know in a couple of days when everything was up and running again!
So the upshot is that I no longer have a working home phone but you know what - I'm not sure I mind because I'm no longer getting the telemarketing calls! How cool is that! I guess the only downside to doing away with it all together is that I don't like handing out my mobile number to all and sundry so I usually give out my home number and tell people to start leaving a message when the answering machine kicks in! We'll see what happens, I guess, but in the meantime it's really not such a hardship to do without it (again, first world problems right)! That being said, while getting rid of the telemarketers is a definite plus, I'm still getting the occasional email from someone wanting to put millions of $$$$$ into my bank account. Actually I got one yesterday from Dr. Fatima XXXX who had "a bank account with $10 million in it and she didn't know what to do with it" - so I went ahead and told her exactly what to do with it! Do you think that might be why they keep coming back?
But this got me thinking, if my wifi starts playing up (it's very slow in the evenings right now), my mobile phone hasn't arrived, and my home phone isn't working, how vulnerable are we if our access to these things gets completely cut for whatever reason? More and more today they are closing bank branches (they haven't used cheques in Switzerland since 2003) and pretty much everything has to be done online now. So if "they" cut off our access to these things where would that leave us? It's the ultimate control, really, isn't it!
Last year I was reading about the wildfires (in California, I think) and one lady said that she had painted her phone number onto her horses' hooves in nail polish before setting them free to get away, (she knew that if she painted it onto their flanks if they got singed or burned it would disappear), and she was also saying that she was going to get her hands on as much cash as she could in case "everything went down". I must admit I had never thought about this but of course if the banking system went down for whatever reason (hurricane, earthquake, flooding, revolution!) we'd all be screwed for getting cash wouldn't we. I also remember seeing a man in Sicily at the beginning of the pandemic trying to buy food for his family but because he had no access to cash and his card wouldn't work, they refused him! I don't really know where I'm going with all this, but I guess my struggling to get everything back up and running here at the moment brought home to me how much we are at the mercy of the online system and, potentially, the powers-that-be!
And finally, I started watching The Queen's Gambit the other night because I'd heard it was good. Well I'm on episode four (of seven) and yet again, so far, it's just not doing it for me. I've sat through three hours more or less watching people play chess so I'm hoping things improve in the remaining episodes because it's a bit like watching paint dry at the moment. Or maybe it's just me being difficult. I loved Downton Abbey, The Sopranos and Dr. Foster. Grace and Frankie was ok, The Kominsky Method was frankly painful, and here I am again half falling asleep watching a programme about playing chess and fixating on how wide set the main actress's eyes are! Maybe I'm just too hard to please, but if you have any suggestions for something a bit more stimulating feel free to let me know!