Internet Troubles (The Last Story From Andalucia)

~Written when we didn’t have internet; forgotten about. This is the final story from Andalucia. Enjoy~

Last year it took nearly a month to get internet. Here we had the internet within 2 weeks. The Balearics get points for being more efficient than Andalucia.

But this post is not about getting internet. It’s about getting rid of it. It is, hopefully, the last horror story of Andalucia’s lack of efficiency. Although we do owe someone money in Andalucia so we’ll see how that plays out.

So I’m going to pose you a riddle:

How many people does it take to cancel the internet and get rid of the router?

3 weeks before we left we needed to cancel our internet. Our internet folks – Masmovil- technically own our (their) router (the magic box which makes internet) so we needed to return it to them.

So we went downstairs to talk to a man about some internet. Conveniently in the basement of our very own apartment was our very own internet provider. But while we were standing physically in their office the man (Person #1) said – don’t talk to me, call the national number. This was the very man who A) works for our internet provider (Masmovil) and B) who physically installed our internet. But, no, he wanted nothing to do with us. He wanted us to call someone else.

So we walked back upstairs and called someone up (Person #2) and said

“hey we’re moving can we transfer our internet to Mallorca?”

“Nope!”

“Well okay. Can we cancel it?”

“Yup!” She clacked away for a while  then said “it’s done.”

“Alright, what do we do with the router?”

“Someone [presumably the very man we had just spoken to] will come pick it up.” And we confirmed the date we would leave and she said he would come.

Mind you this conversation was in Spanish and was, obviously much longer than what I just wrote. But that was the gist of it. Sure there’s a chance we didn’t understand her but we repeated the date a few times and also confirmed it was, indeed cancelled.

We did this 3 weeks before we left. Then the day before we were supposed to leave we still had internet and we still had the router. This was the day they had confirmed someone would come.

Because of siesta (2-6) and our landlord checking the apartment we couldn’t deal with the problem until 7:28 pm. We took a photo of the blasted router to bring it downstairs to minimize confusion when talking about the internet versus the physical router. We also used Google Translate because find me an expat who hasn’t had to resort to it in a moment of tired bullshit. 

So we walk back downstairs to ask the other employee who works down there (Person #3). We say, “Hey, we’re leaving in literally 10 hours. I don’t think you guys are coming to uninstall our router.”

“Well, what time was your appointment?” Oh sweet pantry Jesus. We never had one. Person #2 had said someone would just come. That’s how things work in Andalucia “someone will come” and sure enough they do. No pasa nada – don’t worry about it. We had adapted too well. To be fair they had installed it without an appointment but there was an unwritten agreement that we had to schedule an appointment to get rid of it?!

“Well you needed to make an appointment. You’ll have to call the national line and schedule an emergency appointment to have it picked up. We’re open until 8:30 tonight.” She added helpfully. She wanted us to go upstairs to call someone to call her to tell her to come upstairs and come get our router??

“Well can’t we just bring it down and leave it with you?!”

“No. We couldn’t know it was yours.” What?!

So we scurried back upstairs to call the national number again.

This was a 20 minute phone call with a man (Person #4) who spoke far too quickly and got very upset with us for not speaking good enough Spanish. He was very roundabout asking us to explain and re explaining what we need/want. Turns out everyone’s confusion was because the internet wasn’t even cancelled.

So we re-cancel it again over the phone. Again. Then he gives us a number and says call that number. We repeated the number back to him to confirm we had written it down correctly (we had) then he hung up on us.

We tried calling the number but it wasn’t a phone number and we just lost all progress. It is now 8:00. The internet folks downstairs close in 30 minutes. And then, because this man had actually done his job: the internet suddenly cut off and we had no way of researching what to do next.

We had this mystery number (which we then assumed was a case number). But he had said to call someone. Completely lost in the dark we went back downstairs to the lady. She says “yeah that’s the case number. Call the guys.” “Which guys!?” “I dunno.” She went back to typing. I almost shouted at her. Through gritted teeth and a thick Andalucian accent “well can you find out for us?!”

She took pity on us and said she would call with us. But she didn’t know the number. So we just called the national number. Again. Only this time we were under her supervision. She took Chris’s phone (to use his minutes, very smart), put it on speaker phone and just put it on her desk. The three of us stared at it. It started playing some smooth jazz and reminded us that our phone call was very important to them.

We are on hold for 30 minutes. The sun literally set behind us, plunging the small office into darkness. We missed out on our plans to walk around and say goodbye to our hometown one last time. We were missing dinner. We were bummed.

The tinny jazz song plays endlessly. Violent fantasies of where that router could go begin brewing. Right to hell, is where that router could go.

Someone finally answers (Person #5) our office helper friend explains she’s a representative of our phone company and is helping us. The other lady laughs and says that’s fine. I’ll transfer you to someone who can help faster and more efficiently. Hooray!

Turns out the faster more efficient lady is a steaming pile of garbage masquerading as a person (Person #6). She starts lecturing our helpful lady about

“how we can’t know you actually work for our company?” And “you’re a liar, you don’t really work for our company. Why are you really calling?!” “You’ll have to hang up and they can call me back.”

“Well they don’t speak Spanish very well. That’s why I’m calling.”

“Well they can call back!”

“Can’t I just hand the phone over to them? They’re sitting right here”

“No. They’ll have to call back.” Our nice lady argues with her and then, like anyone would, said “have a nice night.” And hung up on her. It’s nice to see that sarcastically saying “have a nice day” to someone rude is a universal human trait.

It is now 8:37. Our internet knight in shining armor is working overtime.

It’s time for real talk: I’ll leave it in my mailbox. I’ll leave it in a plastic bag on my doorknob. I’ll leave it in a plastic bag on your door knob. Nope. “We can’t know it’s yours.” Well can our landlord let someone in to uninstall it?” She says “No because we can’t know it’s yours.”  I might throw it out the window or just tape it to their door. I’ll run it over with a car. I’ll light it on fire. But they wouldn’t know it was ours.

“What happens if we don’t return the router?” We finally beg her. She won’t answer us. “No, really, what’s going to happen.” Give. Us. A. Price. I need to know how much it’s going to cost me. If there is an expensive fine like 300+ for not returning it, I’ll put more effort into this. But at this point we can’t do this anymore. They have made it physically impossible to return it.

“Just ship it?” Me physically handing it to her is met with “We can’t know it’s yours.” But somehow shipping it is suddenly okay? They were very adamant that we couldn’t uninstall it ourselves. Now it’s suddenly okay to uninstall it ourselves? Then ship it blindly?

We have unknowingly negotiated this by threatening to leave it behind. They’re suddenly willing to give us an option.

But it wouldn’t work anyway. The post office was closed and wouldn’t open early enough for us to ship it tonight or before our flight tomorrow morning.

“Well take it with you! And ship it when you get to Mallorca.” We can’t! We don’t have any space. We threw away half of everything we owned (again!) to make space for the stuff we do have packed. I only have 1 pair of pants and 5 t-shirts. That’s literally all I own. I’m not throwing another shirt away to make space for a router! We tell her we don’t have the space. She holds up her purse and mocks us, “You don’t have the space. It fits in a purse!” You’ve never moved abroad, lady, you don’t realize how precious space is. Plus it’s the same size and thickness as a phone book.

We go upstairs and she closes the office. We call the national number again. A different lady (Person #7) says ship it. Alright if you guys keep saying that then give us a damned address! You can’t just keep saying “ship it! Ship it!” and then leave it at that. She was really difficult to understand so we hung up and called again to a different, different lady (Person #8) who said “yeah, we’ll get you the information.” Then didn’t get it to us. And she hung up on us.

I ripped that thing from the wall and, defeated, put into a carry on bag.

The next day I was turning my phone off in the airplane – and who should text me but Masmovil – texting me the freaking address where we could ship it. I’m going to count this text message as a person (person #9).

3 Days later – desperately trying to move into our new apartment and live our new lives. They text again. And then again. Oh now suddenly they want it?! We went to the local post office where a very nice postal service worker (person #10) helped us just throw it in an overly sized box where it hopefully rattled and banged itself into pieces. We also forgot to include, like, three cords. F you Masmovil. F you.

What have we learned?

  • If something is easy (one phone call and she says “it’s cancelled someone will come pick it up”) it’s a lie. It wasn’t cancelled and no one came.
  • You can uninstall something by ripping it from a wall violently.
  • Internet routers cannot go in a checked bag since they are electronic like a computer.
  • Internet routers can be shipped in an empty box with no packaging to protect them. No one texted or called to complain about pieces of router everywhere. So we’re in the clear. Also those cords we forgot to are ours now.
  • Masmovil sucks.

Ultimately we learned it takes 10 people to uninstall the internet. But that wasn’t counting Chris’s and myself’s valiant efforts so hell, it takes 12. Twelve people.

Bonus Story

We got a new internet provider (we will never work with MasMovil again ever). Jazztell is our new provider and they actually worked with Masmovil to cancel everything and transfer our numbers. Yay! The day we switched from MasMovil to Jazztell we got a call from … drumroll … 7 SEVEN people from Masmovil begging us not to change, offering us some “better” rates and then actually harassing us.


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