Misunderstandings and thinking by the Thais…
When I lived in my 3rd place of residence from 1994 to 2000 I had a silly but frustrating situation. When I moved in, the management of the building told me they had satellite TV so I could hook up to that and they happened to be selling TVs and other electrical appliances on the same property as part of their everyday business.
I bought the TV for about 2,000 baht less than everywhere else even on sale, and the apartment service mechanic hooked everything up for me including a used video player that a friend had given to me for free.
Then I found out that the signal was being blocked because I was in effect pirating the signal from the owner so I did not really have a TV channel service for the first 6 months or so and of course no one could help to fix the problem.
Then one day the security guard for the residence informs me that they now have cable TV connection so I can now get the service.
So about I month later I go to the cable TV service company (in 1995) located in the CP Tower building near Patpong Road and tell them I want to have the cable service hooked up to my apartment as I was told the cable line was now installed into the apartment building.
Well, the first girl does not understand a thing I am saying and then I start speaking Thai and English and she is still totally confused by what I was telling her.
So I ask for the manager and she says the same thing most Thais will say, “Why?”
I politely say I need to talk to the manager.
There is great concern on the girl's face and I tell her again to please get the manager.
Finally, after 5 minutes the manager comes and I ask her if she can speak English because I can speak Thai or English, either way, but she says she speaks English.
So I figure I will test her English skills and I explain what I just explained to the customer service girl.
She gets on the computer looking for the address of the apartment I gave to her and tells me there is no such service in that area and certainly not at my apartment location.
I inform her I was told the cable line was installed recently according to the security guard.
The manager insists that the cable is not even available in that area and will not be available for 6 months or more so I respond by saying, “You mean maybe another year or 2”… and she laughs.
One week later I remember the cable TV situation and on the way out of my apartment I talk to the guard and tell him that the cable TV company tells me there is no service in this area and therefore no cable installed and not for the next 6 months…so, why did you tell me there was now cable connected to the apartment.
He is surprised and stands up and takes me over to the nearest telephone pole and points up at all the mumble jumble of wires and cables up there and says,: “See that cable line there, the new line, that is the one and I helped hold the ladder for the workers while they ran the cable and hooked it up.”
OK, so I believe him and I am wondering who is BSing who here…the guard or the TV cable company!
About 2 weeks later I happened to remember the TV cable situation so I am near the cable company office again and I go there and the whole drama starts over again, same as last time (total confusion again) and they insist, all of them insist, there is NO cable hooked up to the apartment or in my area and or at the address I am giving them.
I say, “Are you sure because the security guard tells me he helped the service people hook up the cable to where I live and pointed out the cable line connected to the apartment.”
They insist there is no cable hook up and none in that area…tet.
I gave it no more thought and the TV was not of great importance to me anyhow.
About a month later I remember the cable TV situation again and talk to the guard again and tell him what happened and he tells me some of the other rooms are already hooked up to the cable service.
I am in a hurry to go to work so I figure I will get around to the cable company later and ask again but it is not a big concern anyhow as I lived the first 8 years in Bangkok without a TV anyhow. I entertained myself in other ways…if you know what I mean.
I finally get around to the cable TV sales office once again and once again I am told there is no cable service connected to my address and there is no service in that area.
Hmmm…this is getting stupid, I am thinking and who is right and who is wrong?
You would think the cable company would be correct as it is their business so I figure the guard is playing mind games with me, but why?
About another month later I am going out in the morning and there is the guard and he makes me think about the cable TV drama again and I get talking to him and he insists there is cable TV and suggests I talk to the apartment management and confirm what he has told me all along.
Hmmmm…brilliant idea and why did I not think of that myself…well because I was thinking I did not need the frustration of all the more confusion and drama and total incompetence I had already experienced, so far, just for a TV which I had lived without for the last 8 years of my life anyhow.
So I get talking to the woman who runs the office for the apartment building and the electrical appliance aspect of the property's business and fortunately she speaks English quite well.
She confirms that there is cable connected to the apartment building since about 3 ½ months ago.
I say, “OK I believe you but why does the cable company insist that there is NO cable at this address."
“I do not know” she says “but we do have cable here”.
I say, “Well then how can I have the cable hooked up to my room and can we do that?”
She says, “You will have to contact the cable company and talk to them.”
Hmmm…talk to the cable company that insists there is no cable here at this address.
So…brilliant Farang that I am, I suggest that she phones the cable company on my behalf and ask them to hook up the cable to my room and confirm when and how much for the service hook up and the monthly costs.
She does exactly that and gets off the phone and informs me the cable connecting to my room can be installed on this coming “Saturday” at 10 AM in the morning.
Unbelievable, because I am thinking, besides all the stupidity to get the cable hooked up they are actually coming to install the cable connection this coming Saturday…only 3 days away…WOW!
I am perplexed as to why it took all of what took place for the last 3½ months to get cable hooked up into my apartment when the cable company repeatedly insisted it was not even available.
I explained to her how I told had the cable company a dozen times that the apartment building was located at Soi 15, South Sathorn Road, Yanawa Bangkok, 10120 and how they insisted each time there was no cable service in that area and no cable hooked up to that address, so why is it when you phone them and tell them the same thing and they tell you no problem, can do and confirm the cable is already installed for the last 3½ months and they “understand everything”.
She responds by asking me what was the address I gave to them and I told her the same address as what the address is and when I repeated it she says:
“Oh No. Your mistake”: “The address is: Saint Louis 3, South Sathorn Road, Bang Rak and you told them the wrong address…you gave them the newer recent way the city officials use for identifying the sois up and down Sathorn Road but the cable TV company, they use the old way and the old known “names” of the sois for address locations, for the record, rather than the roads listed by the succeeding numbers.
They use: Saint Louise, Soi 3, South Sathorn Road, Bang Rak…and you told them: Soi 15, South Sathorn Road, Yanawa…your fault…you told them the new official soi number on the sign posted at the entrance of the Soi so you told them the “wrong way” of explaining the location.
WTF…Is that it? That was all that had them totally confused and had them telling me there was no service at all in that area? They could not, for the life of them, figure out the location and what about their insistence there was no cable service “at all” in “that area” for the next 6 months or more in the future.
The lady just answered by saying: “I do not know, you will have to ask the cable company.”
That is my story of frustration, to be added to all the other stories of frustration when dealing with the Thais…all too often.
There are some things about life in Bangkok that you only learn from experience, things you just don't believe until they happen to you…