How fragile is our sophistication, our advanced technology?
I am in France at the moment, and there was a major storm on Saturday when we were out doing normal Saturday stuff, shopping, finding parking spaces, and contemplating (arguing about) what movie to watch to accompany the Saturday night homemade pizza whilst comfortably ensconced on the sofa in one's jim-jams.
We got back after shopping and found that the router was illuminated but out of action and also that the storm blew the wi-fi booster main plug as well.
The storm was still going strong and lasted, I kid you not, for six hours with persistent cracking thunder and lightning.
No internet, no phone, no streaming movie.
We watched a couple of episodes of Game of Thrones previously downloaded, and the weather outside, as it turns out, made a great backdrop contribution to the surround sound.
It was nice on Sunday, tranquil even, all the family accepting the fact that apart from tethering your pc to your iPhone to get internet access, there was no access.
On Monday morning I was waiting in the shopping mall for "Orange" to open. There were six or seven people who had arrived before me.
At 0930hrs, when the shutters were raised, there were 29 people who, like me, had their defunct Livebox/Modem, mains plug, and authorisation code ready to exchange for a working model.
In readiness, there was a pile of 18 boxed "livebox" modems ready to go on the counter.
As an observation, I have to say that queueing is not quite as embedded in the French psyche as it is in that of the British, and depending on what you thought of your chances of getting hold of one of those boxes, there was some degree of consternation voiced by the later arrivals in what might be loosely termed as a queue.
Everybody could count to 18, and some weren't bad at subtraction.
I duly received my "new" Livebox and ascertained that getting it replaced is a regular occurrence. The queue had swelled to 60 or 70 people, and as it turns out they had additional stock available in the backroom, but you can't tell the customers that though, that would be no fun, though the staff was great and the first lady was the cleaner as it turns out.
Is that a 13amp?
Apparently, a fuse blows in the Livebox, and it has to be replaced in-store as opposed to it being accessible and able to be done at home.
So on that day whilst I was there, they got a multitude of routers back in plastic shopping bags and a selection of cables, some with homemade tags on saying "this goes in the computer" and "don't switch off," and they issued complete boxed routers which are actually previously "blown" and repaired ones that have been cleaned, stickered and issued with installation guides.
That's a lot of boxes and resources and arty fartying about if you ask me.
Patient customer care from Christelle
On top of that, you have to go through the process of logging on, validating your identity via an SMS sent to your mobile phone, and putting more labels on the cables saying, "this goes in the computer or Ordy (l'ordinateur) as they say here and of course speaking to Christelle who is really nice and lives in Albi,Tarn and who fields lots of calls from people using next doors phone who are wondering why the red light is on.
And there is the half-day lost in going to get the replacement and downtime and the restriction it brings.
So the new rules are "turn off the livebox router when you go out and when you go to bed when bad weather threatens."
Of course, in this new age where the house phone, the fixed telephone line that you once had, has now been replaced by an "internet phone" managed by your router....