"I could pipe bomb Chunghwa Telecom中華電信 about now. Getting the total run around, been there 3x this week with no results (though there was a glimmer of hope last night). Thought tonight was my night to seal the sweet deal--of course NOT!"
That's my Facebook post from the other day.
It all started when a friend came over and showed off the sleek usefulness of his i-phone 4S. If there was some question we needed the answer to (are all Caucasian babies born w/blue eyes for example) or a tuner for my guitar then it just took a few seconds. And then for no apparent reason, the very next day my own fake i-phone wouldn't turn on. It seemed like fate, must be my time to get a real phone plan and a real i-phone (I just use prepaid cards from 7-11).
That day at lunch I drove down to Chungwha main office in Tainan across from the Mitzokoshi Shopping Mall and was asking for the same deal he got. He bought his for 10,000NT plus a one year contract where he pays 1000NT a month unlimited internet access. They wanted me to pay something like 23,000NT and I walked out annoyed that I wasted my precious lunch break and went to the bank on the way back to work, for some more run around.
A few nights later I showed up with my co-worker an ABC (American Born Chinese) who speaks very good Mandarin and the lady was ready to sign me up for a contract despite my expiring ARC (Alien Residence Card) and we were looking at phones. So now they were ready to sell my an i-phone for 10,000NT, two year contract, but then at the end I had to pre-pay 7000NT for calls that would be deducted from my 2 years monthly fee (like not paying the first year and having to pay monthly the 2nd year) so I had to basically pay 17,000NT. I wanted the same contract (treatment) as my friend and I see it wasn't happening.
So I looked at other options. The cheapest was a Samsung Ericson for 5000NT, unlimited internet access, 2 year contract, another 1000NT for 1 year. But my eye was all over the tablets. I've been wanted a tablet for sometime, some book like device to read my amounting collection of e_books w/o sitting hunchbacked at the laptop. The one that I was eyeballing was the Asus, unlimited internet, 3 year contract for 11,000NT, 2 years for an extra 1000NT, 180 minutes call a month 800NT a month. But they didn't have any left so i couldn't try it out to see if I liked it, so we drove to a smaller Chunghwa store at Jinwha and Jiankang and played around with it there.
For a just a few more 1000NT I could get the Samsung Tablet, a much better model than the Asus and with a small bluetooth device could use that as a phone.
The next day after work I drove back to the main Chungwha branch, my heart set on the Samsung Tablet. The same young salesman w/ his calculator failed to tell me til then that the Samsung also had to an extra prepay fee of 7000. I asked him, "why didnt you tell me this the other day?" (At least I could ask that in Mandarin). Fine, I'll get the 5000NT Sony Ericson for a year, its economical and still connected to the internet. Then I got a number, waited my turn only to be turned down because my ARC is expiring in July. I tried to explain "I know its your policy, but I am getting a new one, I live here thats my daughter, I'm not leaving the country or anything." I was ANNOYED, the other lady behind the desk was ready to sign me up. So I guess that is just an incentive to get my ARC renewed sooner rather than later.
Until then my friend Edouard gave me his old Sony Ericson and tho its ancient and I cant text very well on it, its receives and makes calls, so I am thankful. Still I cant help but wonder that if I had an APRC (Alien Permanent Residence Card), or was a blond blue eyed foreigner with a Taiwanese girlfriend how much easier my life would be after 4 years (and how much better my Mandarin would be). All stupid excuses I know, but there is a grain of truth to it. Made me think of something I read today, “Your present circumstances don't determine where you can go; they merely determine where you start." (Nido Qubein). If you think a foreign man and woman are starting from the same place in Tainan, you're wrong, I'm not crying about it, its a fact, it is what it is.
I will not ever go back to Chunghwa Telecom, I find it poetic that their main headquarters is in a former prison in Taipei. After I renew my ARC, then its off to the smaller guys; Far East Tone, First International telecom (大眾電信, FITEL), Taiwan Mobile (台灣大哥大) and Vibo (威寶電信股份有限公司.