Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Fuse blown - who you gonna call?

As I was cooking some rice for last night's dinner, I heard a pop and then realised the microwave was no longer working. The exhaust fan had gone off and the fridge was off.  The rice only had two more minutes to go and my stirfry was ready, so I decided I would eat first and investigate later.

The rice was okay and once I'd finished I checked all the power points and lights in my apartment. That took only short time because I suffer from a dire shortage of power points. When I realised that the power point in the kitchen wasn't working and neither was the one in the bathroom, my options for boiling the kettle were in my bedroom or behind the TV in the loungeroom. I didn't bother! I knew that I had probably blown a fuse, but my fuse board is old still has the old ceramic fuse holders.  I didn't feel confident to fix it and also wasn't entirely sure that that was actually the problem. I'd had dinner and could cope for the rest of the night, but the next day (today) was forecast to be hot and I was worried about my fridge and freezer full of food.

It was about 8:30pm when I called the office of the real estate agent, expecting that there would be a message with the number to call in an emergency.  There was.  I wrote it down, hung up and then called the emergency number. 

"We're sorry. The number you have dialled is disconnected.  Please check the number before dialling again."

Oh.  I concluded that I must have written the number down wrongly after I double checked what I'd dialled and what I'd written down.  

I called the real estate number again.  The number I had written down was exactly the number provided on the message.  I tried once more. Still disconnected.

I called my property manager's mobile number and left a voice message.  As I was writing a back up text message, she called me back.

"I don't know what we can do. It's after 8:30 at night! I don't think electricians would be able to fix this after the shops are closed."

I struggled to understand her argument, but then gave up.  Variations on "no" and "it's not possible" seem to be standard in the rental property managers' phrase book.  

I suggested that if it was a fuse, an electrician would have what they need to fix that any time. After more sighing and to-ing and fro-ing, I pulled the card for the last electrician who had visited and suggested that I call him.  I knew he lived locally and he was a lovely, friendly man who would at least be able to advise me.

Before I hung up I apologised for disturbing her and told her about the emergency maintenance number being disconnected.  Her answer was along the lines of: "Oh yes. It is disonnected.  We're in the process of writing letters with all new numbers of tradesmen to call." Her tone suggested that she failed to understand how ridiculous this was. I started to say something about the definition of "emergency" and comment on the poor planning and execution, but decided not to bother.

I called the electrician. He asked some questions, remembered who I was and then said he'd be around in about half an hour.  He was here in under 15 minutes and the problem was cheerfully fixed. I was also given suggestions for what to have on hand to avoid this problem or be ready if/when it happens again. 

Thank goodness for the local man who understands the value of good service and loyal customers providing repeat business.

Meanwhile, I wonder how long it will be before I receive my new instructions for what to do when  need out of hours assistance. 

Is your first response "yes" or "no"?

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