Modem installation barriers by Susan Grimsdell

Language barrier

Recently my modem played up and, on phoning Orcon, I was told that it needed replacing.  Quite magical that they can check it at a distance like that.  OK, new modem arrives – just swap it over, what could be simpler than that.  I’m not stupid – I can read instructions and follow pictures on a diagram.  Well, yes, I can read instructions when they’re in English.  What about “plug the small end of the ethernet cable into the port on the filter”.  “Ethernet” – which dictionary has that word in it I’d like to know.  Not my faithful Chambers anyway.

Nowhere on the diagram is there anything labelled “filter”, nor do any of the cables have a tag attached that says “ethernet cable”.

Physical barrier

That was the point at which I gave up, approximately 60 seconds after I’d opened the box.  I wish I could send a photo of the wires at the back of my desktop computer – there are 8 power plugs for a start.  The printer, the mouse, the screen, the desktop itself, the landline, the speakers…..  and on and on it goes.   None of these plugs is labelled.  A friend set it up for me, I did not do all that plugging in myself! 

I could trace the wires back to their source to figure out which is which, but the computer actually lives on a desk against a wall – in between a chest of drawers and a table.  It isn’t standing freely in the middle of the room.  In other words, doing anything to it requires crawling around on my stomach (not even hands and knees) with my head craning upwards trying to work out where the hell wire x ends up at, with wire x being tangled up with wires, v, w, y and z.  And a few more wires in the nest, all unidentified. 

There are many times I wish I’d bought a laptop but that’s another story.

I’m not a person who admits defeat easily.  And I’ve got a nasty stubborn streak.  But I know when I’m outclassed, and Orcon reached that point for me after less than 60 seconds as mentioned above. 

Communication barrier

I phoned Orcon only to be told they “were experiencing an unusually large number of calls at that particular time (what bad luck, happening to hit the one time they were having that problem – yeah right), so it might be some time before one of our staff can take your call”.  Or I could go online and look up what I needed to know.  What a sick joke – helloooo – it’s actually the modem that’s my problem!

How difficult would it be for the Orcon engineers, clever people all of them, to draw a lovely diagram, beautifully labelled with things like “RJ 11 to BT cable”, neither of which corresponds to anything in the real world of my computer by the way – and when they’ve finished, hand it over to someone like me complete with a set of cables and let me at it.  As I mentioned above, it would only take them 60 seconds to realise that their fabulous diagrams and instructions were somewhat wanting. 

Let them watch me botch the entire thing up, stopping short before I actually destroy the modem (by throwing it against the nearest wall).  And then let them go back to their drawing board and start all over again, and repeat step 2 until they come up with a perfectly clear, comprehensible set of instructions/diagrams that a very ordinary person with no engineering brains whatsoever can understand. 

Is that too much to ask?

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