Please don’t ping me yet!
My BB had not been working for some time. Glo network had been so so erratic; but mine was a special case. I recharged my phone on Monday. I didn’t know that Glo BB network had been down since the Sunday night before. I subscribed for BIS and the silly thing cut my hard earned N1,400. I tried to ping my friend Poka; it bounced, hung and returned with a red X. I tried again and the same thing continued. I dialed 555 but the link did not connect. When I got to the office the next day, Chinwe the managers secretary told me it was a general problem with all Glo subscribers at the moment. I shrugged with frustration.
“Why has Glo chosen to be falling hands like this?” I hissed and turned on the scrabble game on the phone; that was all I used the phone for since most of my people didn’t know my Glo number to call me with. When the Glo BB network finally came up, mine did not work still. I went to a Glo customer service center at Ogui road Enugu.
I alighted from the bus at stadium bus stop and gave the bus conductor two wads of N20 note. He inspected them like there were some infectious diseases on them and handed me one back.
“oga change this one” he winced.
“whats wrong with it” I asked as I collected the money.
“ you no dey see the tape and the tear tear for the side?” he barked and waved his hand like he wanted to shove the money down from my hand. The expression on my face didn’t change. I didn’t show any emotion.
“so what do I do then? Do I look like Sanusi?” I asked and looked away.
“oga change this thing now mek I comot here” he barked again.
“nnna you can go and complain to CBN not me. As for me I aint changing nothing for you” I said matter-of-factly and looked away again. I was ready to unleash the anger that I have built for Glo on him. Now the passengers in the bus started complaining. I didn’t look at them. I just held the money out for the conductor the way we held banana for monkeys at my school zoo.
“Ok, if you wan chop chop now!” he said resigningly and hopped back on the door of the bus like a monkey. I gently placed the money into my front pocket and was meant to cross the road; when the driver called me back with outstretched hand. I placed the money into his palms and hissed a long sigh. I would have cursed: “your father! You for dey there dey wait make I change am”, but the words couldn’t form on my puckered lips. I crossed the road without looking back.
The Glo office was a one storey building. The former ETB which had now become Sterling Bank was on the ground floor. The security man at the gate upstairs motioned me to a green plastic seat beside the door. I sat gently and exchanged greetings with the girl sitting opposite. I was never the type that always greeted girls before they started thinking I was interested in them. But this one was different. I didn’t care what she might have thought. She was my spec; a little tall, dark, beautiful and slim but not skinny. Behind her was the Glo wi-fi promo flyers pasted on the wall and the round red Sterling Bank logo beside it. I wondered why Glo had refused to separate from ETB; even into Sterling bank. I was trying to read the instruction on the wall besides me when the security boy in green T-shirt and face cap called me to move over to a customer service personnel.
The customer service guy I met was a little taller than me. He was dark with some short strands of hair on his jaw. I took a furtive look at the name plate on his table. It said Chukwu and a first name that started with either an “m” or a “w” – I just can’t recall anymore; maybe because his name was not worth being stored in my creative head.
“Ok how can I help you? He said with brows arched upwards as if he met a foe. His lips moved quirkily up and down as he chewed some gum like a cheap back yard akwuna. I couldn’t trace any smile on his face. I was nearly infuriated by such an unconscionable question. I was sure he wasn’t to help me but to do the job for which he was employed. I held myself and tried to suppress the anger boiling inside of me already. After a little silence and fixed gaze at his oily face, I tossed my phone to him and said:
“I subscribed on Tuesday and it’s not been working “
He picked the phone, looked at it and pushed it back;
“Your battery is drained, so there is nothing we can do”. I didn’t touch the phone. I was still, just watching him and holding down my emotions. After some seconds he picked the phone again and plugged a charger to it. I breathed out loudly. After some minutes he checked the phone and said:
“You have to switch off the phone and…”
“I’ve done that over and over”, I cut him short.
He pressed some buttons again and said: “you have to recharge your account. You have only N19 here and…”
“I know that, and I had over N700 there before now and it didn’t work”; I cut him short again
“Maybe I will have to transfer you to another person to attend to you. I’ve even closed for the day”, he sighed and kept a straight face. I just gave out a dried wry smile and said nothing. What he didn’t know was that I was ready for trouble; I was ready to hold him down in the office till my phone started working. I wanted to tell him that he must be the one to attend to me. I wanted to tell him that my phone must work before he would go home for the day. I wanted to tell him that there was no way he would close for the day while I was still in his office. I wanted to bang on his table and shout: “are you stupid?” those words didn’t form. I held myself and gave out another wry smile and sighed. I tossed a wad of N200 on his table and he recharged my account. There was dead silence in the hall as I watched him press some things on my phone and then on his computer like a bad work man that quarreled with his tools. He sighed severally. Only the shwap shwap sound of the cleaners mop behind me and the clattering of the key boards and the snail sound of chukwu’s hisses could be heard in the entire world.
“Everything is okay here, so why is this phone not browsing?” he grunted. I looked away since he asked himself.
“let me see” the lady beside him said and collected the phone. He breathed out and stood up.
“ehe, please have it; I don’t want to lose my temper” the guy said. I felt like slamming a clenched fist on his keyboard and saying: “I don’t care if you have a temper to lose or not! All I know is that this phone must work tonight.” I held myself back with great struggle. My legs quaked with anger. I gave out the dried wry smile again and sighed and said nothing. The lady looked at me and sighed. I wondered if these people ever heard that “customer is king”.
“Please sir, we have tried all available remedies here. Can you come tomorrow let me send a mail to Lagos now about this issue? Maybe we will have to do a SIM swap for you. I believe the problem is with your SIM. You see our SIMs are no longer here and it’s already past 5pm”. Her voice was apologetic. It was then that I saw the marriage ring on her finger. She was fair with so many freckles on her face.
“Can I get back my N1400 for the BIS and use it for calls? I don’t think I would want Glo BB services again”, I said as I snatched my phone from her; I didn’t want to hear what she had to say. I worked out. I only wondered if she thought I was jobless so as to have the time to always come to her office to look at their ugly misfortune inducing face.
On the 14th being the Saturday I missed the assembly, I sneaked out from the training hall after a lunch of fried rice and chicken. Outside our office at presidential road Enugu, I flagged down a cab. It was one of the state government facilitated cabs. The driver was a young man of about my age. He didn’t argue anything about price. He accepted N200. I got to the Glo office at Ogui road at 1:22pm. The security boy at the gate motioned me to a green seat besides the door. From there I watched Chukwu the customer service guy explaining the use of a modem to a pretty girl in front of him. He had seen me and perhaps was trying to buy more time with the girl so that his colleague would attend to me. Then the girl stood up and dusted her ass. She didn’t smile and she didn’t say “thank you” the way a satisfied customer would. Her face was blank; no expressions. She worked passed me, looking straight. The security boy motioned me to the seat in front of Chukwu. I sat there for some 5mins. Chukwu didn’t look up. He was keying some data from a piece of paper into his system. He looked up at intervals chewing at his gum like regurgitating goat without looking at me.
“Excuse me bro, will u attend to me? I have things to do; I just sneaked out of a seminar.” I said in a low voice, to call his attention.
“I… I am sending a report to Lagos. I have closed for the day. You know this is Saturday. I am supposed to have left here since 12noon.” Chukwu stuttered without looking up. I got annoyed.
“Is that why you ignored me? Do you think I’ve come here to watch your ugly face? Is this how you treat your customers?” I behaved as if I did not understand what he had said and pushed my phone to him. Then the lady that attended to me on the first day appeared from behind me.
“Ok, she is here. She was the one handling your issue before.” chukwu said and I didn’t say a word to him. I had decided to ensure that nobody left the office until my phone worked.
Now I could see the lady in full; the fair lady with pinkish freckles all over her face. She collected the phone from Chukwu. The skin of his arm looked smooth and healthy. She walked over to a table by my left and I followed her, backing the customer saucy Chukwu. She had so many black spots on her legs that looked like souvenir of childhood chicken pox. She gave me a form to fill and switched off my phone and removed the SIM and tore a new SIM pack and slide the new SIM into my phone.
“Give me N200”, she said keeping a straight face ,looking at her system like she gave me some money to keep for her.
“Why?” I said calmly.
“Ok you don’t want a SIM swap?” she said and hurriedly opened my phone removed the new SIM and togged the form I have filled under her table. She continued “you will have to wait until I get a response from the head office about your issue they’ve not responded to the mail I sent them.” Irritation crept into her voice. I looked at Chukwu at the other side of the table behind me. He was standing now scratching his crotch and watching.
“What the hell is wrong with all of you here?”I yelled and smacked her table and continued; “look here freckle face, if this phone doesn’t work today, nobody will leave this stinking office. Look at you trying to get angry at me, are you supposed to be angrier than me in this case? Your network is bad, I subscribed and you collected my money without providing the services. What nonsense do you think you are employed to do here if not to solve my problem? And you have the guts to tell me rubbish. If you must know it know; I don’t know any head office; all I know is Glo and you two here are the GLo I know. My phone must work today. Your Father!” my eyes were red now. The veins on my fore head stood out like the roots of a stubborn tree. I stepped back a little with arms akimbo and the dead silence returned. She pressed some buttons on her key board and then on my phone. Chukwu was sitting now. He too didn’t say a word.
“Try the phone now’’, she said and pushed the phone to me. I pinged Nitty and it went through. I didn’t tell freckle face that the phone was working now. I fondled out some wads of money from my front pocket and tossed a N100 note on her table for the new SIM and worked away.
After 3hrs the phone stopped working again till now.
I’ve not had chance to go back there.
This time, I will go in my karate pants and snickers.
I might have to break someone’s jaw if the phone doesn’t work.
So if you have this pin “22D93802”, don’t ping me yet!