… Number 5 in an occasional series…
Welcome back to Amazing Thailand!
Okay, so I’ll admit that this particular incident could have happened anywhere, but the fact that it occurred in Thailand just makes it all the more satisfying.
A few months ago, my television broke. Just suddenly stopped working. Nothing, nada, not a flicker of life in the thing. Seeing as it was still under warranty, I took it down to the local service and repair centre, with very low expectations. After all, my previous experiences with warranties on anything in Thailand, let alone consumer electronics, had been very much a case of: “It’s not my problem, mate,” with the guarantee effectively expiring the moment that you left the shop. So, I was amazed, when after about thirty minutes of head scratching by the chaps in the service centre, they finally concluded that the television was indeed not working and that it would have to be sent to Bangkok for repair, a process that would take up to five weeks.
Yes, that’s right, five weeks. Head-scratchingly long for most of us, but then maybe the Bangkok repair centre was swamped by sub-standard television sets that need fixing, or possibly they were planning to send the television there and back by water buffalo, I don’t know. Still, for me, it was something of a coup that they were willing to honour the guarantee at all and so I accepted their terms without hesitation.
Fast forward six weeks and I am sitting in front of the laptop, staring at the tiny screen, doing my best to write, when it suddenly strikes me that the television should be back at the local repair centre. Although they had my phone number, I knew better than to expect a call to tell me that it was ready for collection. The English-Thai language barrier at times can be extremely off-putting, especially when phone calls are concerned, so I decided to schlep down to the place in person and find out.
When I arrived, armed with the sheaf of paperwork that they had given me to identify my case, I was met by a worrying round of perplexed looks from the staff. They couldn’t locate the television! Had it been sent to Bangkok? Nobody seemed to know. Had it actually been repaired? Again, nobody seemed to know. Finally, after about twenty-five minutes of scrabbling around, the offending article was located. However, the general consensus was that it hadn’t actually been sent anywhere at all! You can imagine the look on my face. Need I say that, despite my best efforts, I was on the verge of going ‘Basil Fawlty’ on them?
Then, one of the girls behind the desk had the good sense to call the Bangkok repair centre and lo and behold, yes, the television had been sent there, where it had been fixed under warranty and returned the previous week. Hooray! Panic over. The staff, who had been oblivious to the courier labels plastered across the back of the box, announcing its travels around the country, unpacked the television and cheerfully demonstrated to me that it had indeed been repaired.
It was only when I’d got it back home that I noticed the dusty white footprint on the outer packaging. At some point and I know not where or by whom, someone had used the television as a step. This was despite all of the ‘This Way Up’ and ‘Fragile’ markings on the box. Why anyone in their right mind would use a television set, laid flat on the ground as a step is beyond me, but then ‘This Is Thailand’ as they say, and anything can (and often does) happen. It wasn’t even as if the offender had tried to cover their tracks, excuse the pun.
Thankfully, the television survived its ordeal and has not let me down since. I can only imagine what would have happened if the screen had been broken when they unpacked it. Six more weeks staring at a tiny laptop screen? I think not!
Stay tuned for more ‘Amazing Thailand’ in the near future…