In the eight years we have lived with our current landline, I actually have largely good things to say about my experiences with Telkom, especially with respect to fault-reporting and speed of fault resolution. But this story is too funny not to share. No embellishment is required.
On Thursday, I walk into the new-ish Telkom store in Sandton City (to sort out some non-urgent landline-related paperwork I haven’t bothered to prioritise until now). The store is large, airy, modern and bright. Besides a payment counter to the right as you walk in, there are two counters. Each one has a large sign above it, in big, bold, modern type-face:
I need assistance with my home phone and I want to respect the clearly demarcated division of labour, so I initially approach the desk sporting the “HOME” sign above it. The gentleman behind that desk is on the phone so I smile at his colleague who does not look busy. (I am the only person in the store, besides three employees).
Me: Hi! I would like to sort out some paperwork for my landline. I have all the documents here as per what I was told I needed by the Rosebank branch a while ago… (I launch into great detail about what I have done to date and what I understand I still need to do instore).
Telkom teller: You need to go back to Rosebank.
Me: No, no. You don’t understand. I haven’t handed in any documents yet, so I’d rather just do it here.
Telkom teller: No, you need to go to Rosebank because we only deal with mobile in this store.
I pause, look up, and allow my eye to settle on the “home” sign above us.
Me: Um, but there’s a big sign that says “HOME” right there (I point at the sign.
Telkom teller: That’s just for decoration.
(I would just like to state, for the record, that those were his words VERBATIM).
Me: No, come on. (smiling).
Still no reaction from said gentleman.
I really believe that the only rational explanation is that he has an odd sense of humour, despite the fact that he looks very serious.
There is pregnant pause which I feel compelled to fill. (Still smiling)
Me: Are you joking?
Telkom teller: No. I am not joking. We get alot of people coming in here just like you, wanting to sort out home phone issues.
(You do? Surprise!)
Telkom teller: But we’re the mobile store.
Telkom teller: Yes
Me: I see
But I still can’t quite believe it and I’m not quite ready to give up just yet…
Me: Gosh, I didn’t even know that Telkom did mobile!
Telkom teller: You didn’t KNOW we did mobile?
Me (gathering my thoughts and searching my memory bank): Oh yes. Doesn’t the 8ta mobile brand belong to Telkom?
Telkom teller: Yes! (he’s animated now and apparently relieved that we’re finally on the same page)
I look around the store. I can’t see any 8ta branding. Not a sign. Not a pamphlet. Nothing.
Me: Shew, so nothing to do with Telkom landlines, then.
Me: That does seem like a curious business decision. I’m sure your rent here is huge plus there’s alot of empty space. You would have thought one could have squeezed in another desk for “home” phones. You even have the big “HOME” sign…You know, the one for “decoration”?
I finally give up, smile and bid him farewell. I still haven’t gone to Telkom in Rosebank. Instead I went back to Sandton City and took pictures of the store for this blog.