Second post of the day.
There were impressively large marches against ETA terrorism in 6 Spanish cities yesterday, including two in the Basque Country itself. I’m not aware that there were any against what our Basque friend Aleksu regards as the terrorists of the PP party. But possibly they’re a regular event in New Zealand, where he lives.
My friend Andrew has told me of yet another Telefonica scam but his story was as nothing compared with the saga related to me today by my piano teacher, Alex. He bought a card for his laptop giving access to the net via the 3G mobile phone they gave him. Except it didn’t work out like that as there’s very poor 3G coverage in Pontevedra. But his real problems began when he tried to cancel the contract. After the inevitable pillar-to-posting, he finally got to talk to the Cancellations Department. Their first tack was to tell him there’d be a penalty payment of 125 euros. When Alex pointed out he was cancelling within the statutory ‘cooling off’ period, they suggested he stay with them and they wouldn’t charge him for 6 months. To the response that this would be pointless as he couldn’t get decent internet access, they assured him they’d ‘soon’ introduce the service Alex thought he’d signed up for. When he persisted, they said he’d have to go to one of their retail outlets to complete the process. There, there was one final stroke of genius from Telefonica – instead of the 3G service, they’d give him 3.5G card without extra charge. At least they would when they had one in stock. They seemed surprised when Alex pointed out that, if he couldn’t get 3G, then it was very unlikely he’d get something better. And that, by the time he got a card to try out, he’d be outside the period for terminating the contract without penalty. I doubt there’s a Telefonica customer in Spain who’d be surprised at this evidence of the contempt with which they treat their customers. I do hope they’re riding for a fall as great as BT’s when they finally lost their monopoly in the UK. They will surely deserve it. Sadly, I fear it’s still some way off and Telefonica shares will continue to reflect the huge profitability of their captive-consumer practices.
This is an agricultural region and foxes are not regarded here as harmless, fluffy creatures equivalent to guinea pigs. I mention this because the ‘national’ fox-hunting championships were held yesterday. This involved little, if any, horse-riding and resulted in a better-than-expected total of 37 animals being shot and proudly displayed in the local papers. There were no reports of anti-hunt protestors or the like. And the hunters were allowed to take their rifles home. A different world.
Our local heroine, Ana María Ríos [see my blog of 12.1.07] has begun to appear on the daytime TV gossip programs. And I’ve opened a book on how long it will be before she’s walking out with a bullfighter.