PLDT – Why Do You Make Me Hate You So Much?

It’s been a crazy couple of weeks and I’ve been meaning to write an update but I’ve just been that busy. I was in Hong Kong for 8 days and meant to write something about that but the time has eluded me. Also the company I work for has been bought and it’s not immediately clear what that means for my future.

Anyway, last month, I was a little bit late in paying bills – sheer laziness, no other reason. I paid my monthly PLDT bill a couple of days after the due date. But here’s the thing – it was due on a Thursday, I paid it on Saturday, the payment registered on their system on Monday, and then they still cut my service on Tuesday because essentially their systems are so fucking shitmongous that they couldn’t cross-process the information on time.

Thursday night/Friday morning, around 2:30 AM, another complete service outage. No internet, no landline, no Cignal TV. Given that it was late and I was about to go to sleep anyway, I figured I’d wait and see if things were okay in the morning. When I woke up, still a flashing red light on my modem.

So here’s the thing – without a landline, I have to use my mobile phone to call their help line, and that’s relatively expensive because of the ridiculous cross-network charges in the Philippines.

PLDT provides a mobile number for SMART subscribers to call but none for Globe subscribers because PLDT owns SMART so fuck you everyone else.

You call the number and get put on hold forever. Every 20 seconds you get a recording, “Your call is important to us, please stay on the line.” Well PLDT, if my call was so fucking important to you, why not have enough agents working so I don’t have to be on hold for 15 minutes?

Finally I got someone on the line who told me that the fiber cable servicing my area had been cut (I don’t want to know how or why, the mind reels with the possibilities) and that they would need 24 to 48 hours to repair it.

This was more than just unusually bad for me because that afternoon I was scheduled for a Skype call with the COO of our new owners. I couldn’t go to my company’s office because I’d been sick for a few days and had a doctor appointment in the village that I had no intention of cancelling. But I also didn’t trust Globe’s 4G internet signal (quite weak where I live) to “hold” for an extended Skype session. Fortunately a friend in a different section of my village let me come over to his place and do the call from there. Crisis averted and the call went pretty well.

Meanwhile, I downloaded PLDT’s completely useless iPhone app. It’s supposed to allow you to check on the status of a ticket. You can input your phone number or ticket number and it’s supposed to tell you what’s going on, except it doesn’t. I tried both ways – phone number and ticket number. Each time all that happened was a box popped up that said “ok” and then you’re returned to the previous screen again. Seriously?

With no internet, I killed time by watching a couple of meh movies. Live By Night, directed by, written by and starring Ben Affleck. I knew this was going to suck in advance because there was no way to turn this amazing 576 page Dennis Lehane novel (the middle part of a trilogy, btw) into a decent two hour movie – and I was correct, it should have been a mini-series. And then there was Office Christmas Party, which at least had a terrific cast (Jason Bateman, TJ Miller, Jennifer Aniston, Kate McKinnon, Rob Corddry, Olivia Munn, Vanessa Bayer, Randall Park, Jillian Bell) and some moderate laughs.

At 1:30 AM, being the glutton for punishment that I am, I called the PLDT service line again. This time I was told that the repairs probably wouldn’t be completed until Monday. I really had to work hard to keep calm once I got that news. I had to remind myself that the person on the other end of the call was just a helpdesk person who had nothing to do with anything other than read the information on his screen to me. So I didn’t yell. I didn’t curse. I might have made him feel bad, just a little bit, maybe.

I went to sleep. I woke up around 10 AM. And the internet was back on!

Which then left me time to resolve my last bit of self-stupidity. Since I returned from Hong Kong, my computer monitor was acting up. (It’s a 27 inch LG IPS277, around 5 years old.) I tried swapping HDMI ports in the back of it and that did nothing. I tried disconnecting my X-Rite Color Munki, which also resulted in zippadeedoodah.

I started searching for replacement monitors. I toyed with the idea of upgrading to a 4K monitor (my Fujifilm X-T2 will shoot 4K video, and I think both Netflix and Amazon might have 4K streaming even in the Philippines). And then, as a I reached for a cigarette, my hand brushed against the front panel of the monitor and lo and behold, I saw that “Super Energy Saving” was turned on. I have never knowingly turned this on. It’s not that I don’t care about the environment, it’s just that I’m pretty good about turning my monitor off and on as needed. Once I turned that off again, the monitor has gone back to its usual pretty self, brightness and contrast and color back to normal again … at least for now.

But that leaves me at loose ends for the rest of the day. I thought I was going to spend my afternoon in a shopping mall looking for a new monitor but now no need. I’d like to go somewhere and walk around and take some pictures – maybe Greenbelt or BGC – but Waze is telling me traffic is really bad everywhere right now. Hope it eases up and I actually get out of the house soon …