In Which Gail’s UK Experiment Commences!

After an utterly painless flight ~ no I mean it! ~ arrived in London safe and sound. (Go Virgin Atlantic! Really painless! It helped that I had an exit seat, no squalling infants, nice travel companions, and sleeping pills.) I was immediately confronted by that most British of qualities, (dis)service. This is that ineffable idea that if you ~ the paying customer ~ should actually want anything, anything at all, you are A. an evil commercialist with the black soul of a consumer B. a nasty loud tourist, and C. a distinct inconvenience to them, the [fill in the blank] (bus driver, taxi driver, barista, bartender) who wishes to text with their cousin Boopsey Noodles, and then take a tea break, and then pull pink snuff out their inner ears. Or something.

What occasioned this rant? Well I need a bus ticket, but I didn’t have exact change, although I did have Queen’s currency. This seemed the be the Living End of any possible ability to ride a bus. Could I just pay extra? No because I needed the little ticket but the little ticket machine didn’t take paper money or credit cards. So I have to go back into the airport, purchase a bottle of water in order get change (wait while they cracked a coin roll) by which time I had missed the bus. (It turns out, of course, that I needn’t have taken that bus nor bought a ticket, no one told me this.)

On the bright side there was Twinings Black Label English Breakfast tea and whole milk in the room of my warren-like hotel.

I holed up for the next 5 hours in my little room trying to get my phone to work. This was an odd experience give that the following…

Self, during the course of three calls to Verizon prior to departure: “I want this to be seamless. I arrive. I turn on my phone, and it works. That’s what I want. I purchased this version of the iPhone for this express purpose, so I could take it overseas with me and it would work.”
Verizon: “Mumble, mumble, grumble, cost, price, data, settings, yadda yadda.”
Self: “Yes yes! Just make it work.”

Arrive in England.

Phone: “No service.”
Verizon website: “If you are having a problem please call our international help number…”
Phone: “No service.”
Self to computer: “See? That’s the problem, how can I call when the point is that I can’t call! What we have here is a failure to communicate. Heh. I’m so witty. Oh goodness, I’m talking to myself now.”
Self internal dialogue: “Do I really need a phone? Do we really needs phones at all. I went 25 perfectly goo years without one. I mean what’s my purpose in life without a phone? Who are we really? Where are we going? What’s the state of the universe?”

Strangely enough, the story has a happy ending.

I took my gripes to Twitter and Verizon tech support answered . . . over Twitter! I’m not saying it has anything to do with complaining in a public forum (bad Gail, very bad), or my number of followers, but . . . I managed to get everything dealt with via DM, and I ejected my own SIM card. (Not as kinky as it sounds.)

Result? Hellooooo Vodafone UK.

Quote of the Day:
“A house without books is like a room without windows.”
~ Heinrich Mann


Posted by Gail Carriger

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