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Fairly Useless

I know I said that this post would be a positive one about something good, but that will have to wait because I am feeling negative again! (gee, that doesn’t happen much, does it). So here’s my negative rant, again…

My personal issue is with internet services in New Zealand. I use Telecom, Vodafone, and Orcon (three of the major providers here) for various services and I’ve got to say they’re all fairly useless. I say “fairly useless” as opposed to “totally useless” or “abysmal” or “atrocious” because it’s really more about many minor annoyances than a total lack of service.

I use Orcon for my broadband at home and about half the time it is OK, at the low end of what is acceptable, but still acceptable. But the other half it is slow and glitchy. I have talked to their helpdesk but they are almost useless. Their next level of support is a lot better but I still don’t have the service I really want.

I tried calling Telecom tonight, to see if they could offer better service. I was told I would need to wait in the helpdesk phone queue for about 3 minutes. After 20 minutes of waiting I just gave up.

I use Telecom and Vodafone for cellular services on my iPad and iPhone. I would describe their services are “patchy”. Sometimes the data rate is quite good but at other times it’s fairly bad. And, of course, their helpdesks are almost useless (pretty much par for the course for helpdesks, I’m afraid). And they both have weird ways to charge for usage which their helpdesk staff seem as confused about as I am.

And it’s not just me. My wife is currently setting up a small business and has had to deal with many bureaucrats in different organisations, such as Inland Revenue, the local council, banks, etc. Her conclusion is they are all “fairly useless” as well.

Actually, judging by the amount of nonsense required to set up a business I am surprised anyone ever gets one off the ground! I’m actually quite persuaded by some of the arguments politicians make about reducing bureaucracy for business. In fact, as you will already know, I hate bureaucracy, so I didn’t need too much persuasion!

But now I should try to add a small amount of that positivity I mentioned earlier. Occasionally you do strike someone who is both competent and dedicated to doing their job properly. Even in isolation this is a great experience, but when compared with all the usual incompetence out there it looks even better!

I have made some contacts in some of the companies I mentioned above who have used their own skills and intelligence to solve some problems for me. I really appreciated that but the next time something went wrong it was back to the helpdesk. And my wife has found our lawyer extremely helpful, but at his charge-out rate I guess you might expect a bit of special treatment!

Science fiction writer, Theodore Sturgeon, once formulated a law known as “Sturgeon’s First Law” which states that “90% of everything is crap”. Crap is probably a bit strong, I think I would just stick with “fairly useless!”

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