Gene Autry and I were seated around the domino table against the Beast and the Dunce when Haemorrhoid turned up.

Regular readers remember “Haemorrhoid” (real name Ernest H Flower) an Articled Clerk who wasn’t the type to permit work to kill him. He earned his nickname with constant complaints about the “piles and piles” of files on his desk. Haemorrhoid was lazy but, as a raconteur par-excellence specializing in shaggy dog tales, he was always in demand socially. So, even though he didn’t know what a domino looked like, he was welcome at our games.

Right away, we sent the Beast for pizza and settled down to hear Haemorrhoid’s latest tall tale. He told us about a young lady from Dublin who couldn’t find a job.

After innumerable rejections, she complained to her father. He reviewed her resumé and said: “I see the problem. It says you were fired from your last job.”

“True” she replied “but I’ve explained that. It wasn’t my fault.”

“How so?” queried her father.

“Well” she explained “I attended all the training sessions at the Emergency Call Centre in London. The lecturers kept emphasizing that, if a suicidal person called, I was to remain calm; keep the caller calm; go with the flow; don’t agitate the caller; and most importantly of all, keep him on the phone. If the caller was talking to me, they explained, he couldn’t commit suicide’

Her father was puzzled “What’s wrong with that?”

“Nothing” replied his daughter. “I applied my training to the letter. One day, a male caller on his mobile phone started:  ‘I’m depressed and lying here on a railway track.  I’m waiting for the train to come so I can finally meet Allah.’

“Dad,” she complained bitterly “can you imagine that my boss didn’t consider my response ‘Remain calm and stay on the line’ as appropriate? I was fired on the spot.”

I recalled that story while struggling with Jamaica’s rapidly changing cable industry. For years, as the boys were growing up, I refused to permit cable in the house. But, after Hurricane Ivan, Old BC, haunted with visions of our Satellite Dish damaging the neighbour’s home, dismantled it and gave it away. Enter cable, stage wrong.

I’m a FLOW subscriber. At first, all was hunky dory. Then FLOW started blocking channels on the dubious basis that special events were bought by others. Yet my monthly bill never included any discount. Whenever we had a technical problem (frequently), FLOW’s technicians arrived weeks after receipt of the complaint.

But the last straw was the recent removal of the U.S. networks’ western feeds. Their removal ruined my viewing routine so, irate, I asked the Ampersand to complain by telephone. This is a transcript of his call:

NadeshaG: Hello. How may I help you?

Ampersand: Hello. I’m attempting to find out some information about programming changes with Flow’s TV package
I’ve noticed recently the Western Feeds of a lot of the networks like ABC, CBS, NBC, and FOX have all suddenly been blocked from my package

NadeshaG: We’re no longer authorized to show those channels in this region. The slide mounted states this

Ampersand: Why is it customers, such as myself weren’t notified of this change?

NadeshaG: The slide mounted was the medium used to advise customers

Ampersand: you mean the white screen displayed where the channels used to be…? I mean prior to them being blocked and having this slide mounted? Why wasn’t I notified before?
Also, why are these channels no longer available for broadcast in our region?

NadeshaG: The information was provided after the invoices were generated for September, hence the information wasn’t added.

Ampersand: will this be reflected in my bill in the future? i.e. the drop of channels be represented in a discounted bill as we go along?

NadeshaG: This won’t change the price of your package if these channels are included in your base package. However if they’re added as single channels such as CYW you can replace these channels.

Ampersand: Thank you for your time. Have a wonderful afternoon

NadeshaG: Same to you”

Apart from everything else, not even sarcasm works anymore. This happened before Lime’s takeover. I’d left Lime’s invisible customer service to go with FLOW. But, like a scene from a Texas Chainsaw movie, I can’t escape.

Don’t call me. I’m out looking for a railway line to lie on. Wait a minute. I forgot. It’s not only customer service missing in action in Jamaica. No trains either.

Peace and Love


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