Nothing-A-Day 03
10/09/04 at 00:44 EST

I've been demolishing my phone bill like a katamari in a lego castle lately. While at work today, a Rogers representative (Rogers being my service provider) called to ask about my Internet service, and if I was happy with it. Apart from being down an hour or two earlier this week, performance was pretty solid for the last several months so I claimed as such. While on the phone, however, my phone ran out of minutes and it hung up on the poor Rogers representative. (Yep, it costs me money when my service provider calls me. Isn't that delightful?) It's kind of a bad idea to leave my phone empty, so I called the top-up service for some juice.

The top-up service was having a system failure, so I was redirected to another representative. I told that representative what had just happened, and it turns out there's some sort of opt-in feature I can request that makes my service provider not charge me money every time they ask me if I'm happy with their service. Well, that's swell. I'm going to remain quiet about the unbearable irony inherent in the whole situation. So I was told that the system was in fact down, and that I should try topping up online, since the system would be down for a couple hours yet. I figured, what the hell, I'll look into it (and consider upgrading my archaic plan) when I get home from work.

I get home from work, and the top-up service is still down (this is about 4 hours after the phone call). I hop on the website to register my number under my Rogers account, and it's fussy at first, but eventually it goes through. The Rogers website, as if you hadn't guessed yet, is also undergoing some severe maintenance issues. So I can't top up my phone that way, either. My phone remains useless until about another four hours later, but in the meantime I was able to be constructive with my time, reorganizing my storage closet and tweaking my broken RB2 crash cymbal so it doesn't double-tap on every hit. It's not a perfect fix, but I'm sure with a bit more fine-tuning I can get it purring like the hi-hat.

Anyhow, once the Rogers service is back online, I'm able to re-fuel my phone. While I was poking around the volatile website, however, I discovered a wonderful little text messaging plan that would stop certain friends from running my phone bill through the roof (you know who you are - both of you). So I decide to go for it.

Guess what else is broken?

I'm trying to be a nice guy here, so I open up the source code for the page. About 3500 lines down the html file, I find a TODO comment stating that an SQL query should be using an EMS key but is "using the cID for now". That query is returning bad/invalid data, which is causing the title of the package to display incorrectly. Now, if that were the extent of the problem I wouldn't have given a damn, but due to that invalid assumption, any and all combinations of add-on requests resulted in a "please enter the required field" error, of which there was no required field to enter data into.

So I decide to troubleshoot the problem with a customer support rep. I'm in this chat queue for about six minutes - not bad, really - until I get into a live chat with a representative. So I explain my problem and my discoveries to this fellow, grab my PSP, and wait for him to reply, telling me what I should do. 53 minutes later (that was not a typo) he tells me he only troubleshoots problems with my actual phone, and that I should call some 1-800 number so that someone from another department can override the broken website and add the add-on to my account manually. I call the number only to end up at the top-up number where this whole mess started, and the rep tells me it's because the department is closed (fair enough, it was midnight by this point). So I start asking him if they're open on weekends, and he closes the chat mid-sentence.

My understanding is that this is the sort of "nightmare scenario" that causes people to lose their minds and climb the nearest clock tower. I prefer to just smirk at the situation and mumble something about getting one's act together. Apart from the fact that it wasted several hours of my time (and a couple dollars, too!) it's actually kind of funny. At least, it's kind of funny if you're not me. Which you aren't.

Tagged under: life
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