Saturday, February 14, 2009

Customer Service Fun

After a few months of finagling and more emails than she probably cares to count, Sara succeeded this week in bringing fresh, organically grown produce to the village. No, she didn't plant a garden. She did, however, coordinate to get Nunapitchuk as a drop-off site for Full Circle Farm. So now, instead of hoping to have a few bruised apples and sad looking onions (if anything) to pick through at the store, we will get glorious fruits and veggies delivered once a week! Needless to say, we're quite excited...not to mention eating like royalty.

We had another successful - if slightly more frustrating - customer service victory this week, involving trying to take advantage of the new cell phone service here in the village. Recently, GCI put up a tower, and after seeing cell phones on TV and all around them when they visit Bethel or Anchorage, people here have all jumped on the cell phone bandwagon. It's a good thing, in a way, as many of the Search and Rescue missions that are currently conducted for people who have gitten turned around or run out of gas between villages will probably be reduced if people are able to call for help.

But anyways, GCI started cell service here recently, and came out to the village for a day a couple months ago an signed a bunch of people up. After hearing about this, we had discussed calling the company and getting signed up, not knowing if the reps would come back out. I actually called them a week ago to ask a few questions about the service, but as it turns out they came back on Wednesday, and I headed over as soon as I could to try to get signed up. Well, when I got to the community building, there were a bunch of people already waiting, so I got a form to fill out, and had a seat. Well, as it turned out, they were at a standstill because their tower and network were "down" (good sign, huh?), and we were all sitting around waiting for the reps to be able to call in credit checks. Yeah. Once the network came back up, I spent an hour waiting around for people to get their credit checked, have it come back bad, and argue with the reps about having to pay hundreds of dollars in deposits to get a phone. So. By time I got to talk to a rep, they were out of the phones we wanted, and the rep was (and this is a gross understatement) not at all helpful. Add to that the fact that he kept calling me "bro", trying to sell me a Blackberry even though the tower here doesn't support data service, and I just asked him for my paperwork back and walked out. So after wasting a few hours waiting in the community building, I just decided to call the 800-number and try to get phones that way. After talking to a couple people and getting disconnected (again with the good signs from a phone company), Sara and I have cell phones on the way that will replace our crappy landline here, and work just fine (in theory) back in WI.

So numbers will be forthcoming :-)

(special note: This entry was written, about a sentence at a time, over the course of 5 hours today. Please blame any repetition, logical leaps, and disjointed writing on NPR, Loki, Isaac, and a Zach Galifianakis TV special.)

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