Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The Week That Was - June 30

Its been so long since I last posted on my blog its almost like i'm starting all over again.
It's been a rather eventful week, so without further ado i'll get right into it.

Telkom had their copper cables stolen in our suburb last week, hence my absence from the interweb.
Eight calls later, the last one bordering on a hysterical rant, and they finally sent over a technician to inspect the problem. It took them four days before before he arrived, but once i'd gotten over the fact that they were actually at my place I then had to get over the fact that the technician was somewhere between 70 years old and death!
I keep my main telephone line and modem upstairs in my office.
Madala as he called himself seemed like he was in no condition to climb out of a paper-bag, let alone climb up a flight of stairs! An hour later and he had me back online... !
I wonder what Telkom's pension plan is like?

Moving on.

So today I arrived at a clients building where I needed to inspect some structural issues. I hadn't scheduled a meeting since the client owns numerous buildings in the city, and most of the security and maintenance personnel know me. The odd few who don't know me usually get to know me pretty well within an hour or so, and this is how most of my working relationships start.
Alisha seemed destined to test my patience and end up on the wrong side of a smooth working relationship from the outset. As the building manager to this particular high-rise, she immediately came across as being obnoxious and a first-class bitch. I could tell from the outset that her admin and security team were partly afraid of her and partly annoyed by her.
I introduced myself and proceeded to inform her that I needed to inspect the building.
She cut me short and told me that I needed a security pass, and since the admin lady who issued these passes had already left for the day, I would have to come back another time.
Trying a different but equally polite tact, I informed her that i've never needed a security pass for any of the buildings i've ever been to for my regular clients.
That's when she got all bitchy and said it was possible the other buildings were lax in doing their jobs, and that any further discussion was going to be a waste of her time.
Did she just diss me?
Ok so I hardly ever pull rank because I really do believe it's cruel and crass, but sometimes the situation calls for cruel and crass.

I looked her dead in the eye, whipped out my mobile, called the owner of the building who just happened to be a golfing buddy as well, and proceeded to tell him about the attitude I was getting from this junior rent-a-cop.
I handed the phone over to her, and watched her face go from anger, to shock, to remorse, and finally she broke down and started crying.
I half expected her team, who had all stood by watching the scene unfold, to break into song and dance when her sobs started. I even got a few smiles from them.
I'm guessing I wont be needing a security pass on my next visit. Just a hunch.

My last meeting was 2 blocks down the road from rent-a-cops playground.
My meeting was scheduled for 4pm with a very charming north-african lady named Fynans.
I got to the building which happened to be owned by Standard Bank. There's no actual bank within the building, but it seems as though much admin and offshore banking related matters take place on the premises, if the floor demarcations at reception were anything to go by.
I went up to the lady at the reception desk, introduced myself and said I was from Sikama Contracting (that's the name of my company). She asked what the company did and I said we were a construction and consulting company. She asked who I needed to speak to and I said I was there to meet Fynans.
I was told to take a seat and somebody would be down to see me shortly.

This is a true story!
Ten minutes later there was a suit who introduced himself to me as David, and asked me to follow him.
We went 6 floors up, and proceeded into a rather posh boardroom.
Inside were 3 more suits.
They offered me tea and coffee and introduced themselves as well.
By this point I suspected something was seriously amiss.
My meetings with suits only ever take place at my own bank, and only after I had scheduled them.
Why would I be called in to a boardroom meeting to meet these guys who I clearly did not know?
So I stopped them halfway into what seemed like a mini-presentation, and told them I suspected there was a misunderstanding.
I said I was there to meet with Fynans, who was definitely a lady last I spoke to her.

They looked at each other, then at the suit who had  brought me up from ground floor, and burst out laughing.
It seems the lady at reception had misunderstood.
She thought I owned a construction company and had come to them for finance. Since they specialised in offshore, they assumed I did offshore construction and required high-level financing!
Fynans, however, was simply the buildings manager!

How desperate are these banks for business that they would mistake ME for a high roller?

The weeks hardly over and already i've had more excitement come my way than most people have in a year.
Having said that, these things have a knack of following me wherever I go.

Watch this space!