|Fairy Glen, Isle of Skye (also in the new movie The BFG)|
My wife and I just got back from a lovely trip to Scotland. In future pieces I will probably write more about that but right now I want to concentrate on something that has nothing to do with crime fiction, unless you stretch that to communication issues and petty theft. Bear with me. I will include some lovely pictures of our trip to ease the way, okay?
Terri and I are not big cell phone users but we knew we wanted to be able to call home, especially to check our messages. We went to our Verizon dealer who assured us our phone was unlocked and we could buy the necessary sim card in Scotland. He recommended a company called EE.
|Glasgow Dunce Cap|
So we talked about buying a cheap phone. All we need is to be able to call the U.S., we explained. Don't care about local calls; don't care about texting.
|The Kelpies, near Falkirk|
That night I called and checked messages. Took almost ten minutes.
Next day I tried again and was told we had no money left on the phone. Problem.
We were heading off to Edinburgh, so we found an EE shop on Princes Street, the main shopping drag in the capital city, where mobile phone shops seemed as thick as plague fleas on a medieval rat.
|Edinburgh Castle, seen from Princes Street|
So we went next door to a Three Mobile Phone store (like I said, thick as fleas). We told the whole sad story to the man there. "Why didn't the man in Glasgow check Google to see how to open your phone?" Good question. It hadn't occurred to Scott, or to us.
Soon we came to a second EE store (we eventually passed three on Princes Street). The salesman there contradicted the saleswoman at his neighboring shop. There was nothing wrong with the plan; the topping up had somehow failed to register. He spent ten minutes in the back, calling someone for help twice. Eventually he came back and told us the topping up was now properly set up and he had added 15 pounds in time for our trouble. It would take an hour to register and then everything would be fine. I shook his hand and we went back to the hotel, happy.
For the next few days we traveled through Orkney, the Isle of Skye, and Stirling. All wonderful places, but not crammed with EE shops. On the last day we returned to Glasgow and made our way back to the scene of the crime and, believe it or not, the original salesman, Scott. He confirmed what the last man in Edinburgh had told us: the topping up had not registered.
So what could he do for us now? Nothing. He won't give us our money back? No; we had received a working phone; it was fine for texting and making local calls.
|Satan's willing handmaids|
But EE apparently doesn't stand behind its products, promises, staff, or services. We were out fifteen pounds. So my goal in writing this is to do them much more than fifteen pounds worth of damage. If you are in Britain and need a phone, try Three or one of the other companies.
Enough of that nonsense. Let's move on to bigger topics. We were in Scotland during the Brexit vote and you may want to hear my observations about that important event. Happy to oblige.
I predict that Brexit will drive EE into bankruptcy and the CEO will be reduced to living under the Forth Bridge on cheap blended whisky and spoiled haggis. But if you want a somewhat more informative opinion, try this one by Luke Bailey and Tom Phillips. It's hilarious and you will learn something. "By this point, actual British political news was basically indistinguishable from a random word generator..."