It has been a glitchy week.
This edition of The Now weathers the past week’s glitches—one affecting millions of people, and another placing a specific burden on me.
Internal Service Error(?)
On Wednesday, June 7th, thousands of people woke up to an odd notification from their bank of choice, Bank of the Philippine Islands (B.P.I.). A jolt of mixed emotions rose inside Jocelyn Reyes, a woman from Makati, when she saw she’d become an instant multimillionaire—literally. Her money ballooned from some thousand pesos to twelve and a half billion, a thing she deduces only happens in movies, but there the twelve million pesos were in her account.
Was our economic and political climate in an abyss of no return that the magicians from Now You See Me took to our aid? Nope, it was just a glitch.
Obviously, Jocelyn didn’t touch the money. Her husband, among other people, lost twenty thousand pesos in the glitch. Cathy Santamaria, Senior V.P. of B.P.I., announced to the public that what happened was, indeed, a glitch, and wasn’t “a hack”, an assumption many distraught clients were quick to make. The glitch double-debited and double-credited some transactions, which meant losing and gaining and owing money. This, of course, wasn’t as terrifying as learning that the bank’s security measures had been breached. Imagine the impact of that.
It took more than 24 hours to completely resolve the issue, which isn’t a testament to the bank’s ineptitude. If anything, I think, it was the timing. My bank, Security, were among the many that recently upgraded its security using EMV tech, which is simply a new standard for smart payments that reduces vulnerabilities at various P.O.S’s (Point-of-sale). Of course, being a frontrunner in banking and finance, you’d think a system-wide glitch was an unlikely event to happen to B.P.I., but it did.
For what it’s worth, I think B.P.I. handled the situation the best they could. They owned up to their mistakes. They toiled in fixing the issue. And everything was put to rest.
Not Very Smart
Glitches happen, this I can get behind. But when there’s gaps in an element as crucial as customer service, it’s a different, disconcerting story. This is what happened to me after a horrendous back-and-forth with Smart, the so-called “leader in mobile”.
A quick tl;dr of the situation: Smart charged me a significant “prorated” amount after exhausting its Giga499 package. This package I got after exhausting my core plan, which is the Plan 1499 (18GBs worth of mobile data). The Giga499 package was supposed to give me 3.5GBs worth of mobile data (for 30 days), but this I didn’t get, consuming only approximately half of the package. For some reason, the Giga499 “expired” on my cutoff date and Smart, technically rightly, charged me by the minute, prorated: 5 pesos per 15 minutes. My postpaid plan has been redirected and the folks at the Smart store I went to, although “apologetic” with how Smart mis-charged me this usage, urged me to pay the entire 3,300++PHP that was now, magically, billed to me. This was their recommendation when I told them that my livelihood is on the internet.
One out of three Smart representatives was able (and willing) to actually help me resolve this. James, if you need a visual, is the quintessential customer service rep—sharp-looking, composed, and attentive. Our talk lasted approximately five minutes. After lifting the “mis-charged” thousand-plus pesos, my line had finally been reconnected. Out of appreciation, I decided to give James a shoutout on Twitter, even though the reps on Smart’s @SmartCares never bothered bouncing back my DMs with any helpful replies. James told me that a representative will call me to verify the issue. I waited. Two days passed. No calls. No emails. Nothing. However, I’ve been able to use my line with no problems at all, so it was all good. The next day, I received a text that says my line had been redirected yet again.
At this point, I’ve grown frustrated. To the point of no return. I called their hotline, and chanced upon a representative named Mark, only to get the same spiel. If this was a bedtime story, the “moral” would be to “pay what’s not due (yet) if you really want to get your line reconnected.” I told Mark that I would pay the amount, but asked if he could answer my question straight.
“Is this a common occurrence,” I asked. Used to the boilerplate B.S. I hear brands spew to their customers every day, I was surprised to hear Mark admit that, yes, this happens—in fact, quite a lot—but, Mark says, Smart is always “quick” about fixing it. I told Mark that he’s not realizing the irony of what he’s saying. “If this is going to be my new normal,” I told him. “I don’t think I’ll be moving forward with you guys after the end of our contract.”
Question: any of you guys got telco horror stories? Chime in on the comments!
This week on Dumb Douchebags: this garbage person harassing a flight attendant for not releasing his boarding pass (it was clear in the airline policy that passengers must have their tickets at-hand before boarding, therefore the attendant’s declining the man his pass). The garbage person, however, proceeds to verbally attack the woman and—foolishly—plays the race card. “Is it because I’m black,” he inquires on the description of his YouTube video. Of course, there was no racism in the video…just a bully who thinks people are so stupid as to not distinguish the bully from the bullied.
Let’s Play: Catch-up
A few more important bits of news this week (at least to me):
- Sony announced its lineup of games; both Days Gone and Spider-Man are supremely tempting. Here’s a full list of the games announced.
- Nintendo, similarly, is pushing Rocket League, which will soon be available for the Switch. Also, they’re making a Pokemon RPG. Here’s a full list of the Nintendo games announced.
- The remake of the 1990 cult classic, Flatliners, released a new trailer. I’m in it for Ellen Page.
- American Gods is quickly becoming my favorite series right now—second to Twin Peaks.
- Universal’s Dark Universe flopped. Barely news to anyone who’s seen Dracula Untold from a few years back, and The Mummy from last week.
- Marvel’s Black Panther debuted its first trailer. I wish the end-product is not as coated in action like in the trailer.
- Lorde released a track called “Perfect Places”. Listen here.
- Waxahatchee released this crisp, toe-tapping banger called “Never Been Wrong”. Take a listen.
- If you care about your life, steer clear from Katy Perry’s Witness. It’s bad. I’m not even going to share a link. I care for you.
- The Babadook is now a gay icon. Sounds about right.
Hanging By A Thread
Garage Magazine’s feed is a glitter bomb of inclusive aesthetic. There’s plenty to go around for everyone, but the thing that caught my eye is the embroidered text spelling their logo. I figured I’d emulate the effect on Photoshop, hence the new social banners I have on Facebook and on Twitter. Check it out:
Kris Aquino is the light of my week. My friend Abby and I subscribed to her YouTube channel, which is a trove of internet treasures as listed below:
God, I love her.
My favorite things this week, because you asked:
- Swing Time, the new novel from Zadie Smith, is incredible, perhaps the young author’s finest. I’ve read few portraits of friendship as earnest as the one Smith has deftly crafted here. I’m tempted to draw comparisons from the film Black Swan, but this is an entirely different beast.
- https://open.spotify.com/album/7awgq3vvlsIeA7dZduR9x4Perfume Genius’ new record No Shape, because this is Mike Hadreas being grandiose, and it’s beautiful and moving and transcendent.
- Tom Misch’s decadent cover of Patrick Watson’s “Man Like You” popped back again in my YouTube recommendations, and the timing is perfect. Listen to it here.
- My love for reality shows like The Amazing Race and Survivor has rekindled. I’m certain I’d join when a Philippine spinoff calls for an audition.
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