Today’s been a record hot day for the season. I’m not sure what the temperature actually is but it feels close to around 90F. The heat in Israel can be uncomfortable, but it’s easy to get distracted from it when dealing with other things– like, say, the Israeli service industry.
My latest run-in– maybe â€œcollisionâ€ would be a better word– was with the Internet and cable provider Hot. I’ll give a little background on the company in the form of telling you that there is a Hebrew website called â€œI Hate Hot.â€ The website is well built and seems very active.
The first salvo of stupidity occurred, naturally, the first time I contacted Hot about a problem I was having with my connection. The technician said, â€œHow can I help you?â€ I said, â€œI have a problem with my internet.â€ There was silence until I said, â€œHello?â€ The thick Israeli accent on the other end responded, â€œEhhhh….yes, ehh, my computer is brroken, so I must to pass you to another person.â€ Bad omen.
They eventually managed to send out a technician– who didn’t fix the problem. They sent another one 3 days later and, you guessed it, no dice. They sent a third who decided it’d be better for him to not show up at all.
The first customer service representative to â€œhelpâ€ me after the volley of failed technicians was a cute-sounding Israeli girl, Meirav. Meirav said she’d get back to me. Ha. The second one (also cute-sounding) told me she’d also call me back but I didn’t allow that to happen. Very angry by this point, I said, â€œNo. Either I speak to a manager or I cancel the account. It’s that simple.â€ The girl pulled out a whole new strategy: she said â€œOkay, hold on please,â€ and then left me hanging on hold indefinitely. Clearly this girl was taught the art of attrition when she was in the army.
Then Yair called me from the tech department. â€œEhhh…I must to know what the problem with internet.â€ Yair…Yair…are you really asking me this question again? We go through the motions of this silly dance of failed customer â€œserviceâ€. We reach a conclusion: someone who speaks English will call me back.
Are you still wondering if that actually happened?
I was initially going to use the first incident– the Hot computer technician who has a broken computer– as a metaphor to illustrate some sociological or economic phenomenon in Israel. I’m not sure what the metaphor means anymore, or if the situation is anything more than literal.
But with 18 families controlling the vast majority of the wealth, utilities and government institutions it’s not really that surprising. It’s even less surprising when you take into account a public that thinks an Ivri Lider-Aviv Gefen-Rita sing-a-long constitutes a protest. I say again and again that there’s only one real problem in Israel– it just has many facets.
I just got off the phone with another technician who told me confidently that he made an appointment with a â€œprofessionalâ€ technician to come fix the problem tomorrow, since the problem is complex and needs â€œprofessionalâ€ service (making me wonder what the other guys were). He asked me to hold, came back, and then told me that, actually, the pro can’t come tomorrow. Someone will have to call me back later.