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Spanish Secrets: The Art Of Communication

...Here in Spain, our national telephone provider is Telefonica SA. They also have worldwide business interests in 36 other countries; it’s truly a global company...

So why oh why, with millions of customers worldwide, did Telefonica SA pick on Craig Briggs and snatch forty euros from his bank account?

For more of Craig's entertaining words about life in rural Galicia please click on Spanish Secrets in he menu on this page.

Recent advances in telecommunications have made the world a smaller place. As our planet shrinks, the corporate organisations behind these technological advances become bigger, more powerful and less accountable.

Here in Spain, our national telephone provider is Telefonica SA. They also have worldwide business interests in 36 other countries; it’s truly a global company.

With this in mind, out of all their worldwide customers, why would they choose to pick on me?

This unwelcome molestation revealed itself in the form of a spurious entry on my monthly bank statement. An amount of almost forty euros had been withdrawn from my account. The statement recorded my assailant as no other than Telefonica SA.

If I’d been mugged by a known assailant, I’d be entitled to the full support of our local police force. Unfortunately there’s no such support when a global titan pilfers your piggy-bank.

Retribution for this misdemeanour was solely my responsibility.

Without delay I contacted Telefonica’s customer service call-centre. After an annoying automated message and a lengthy wait, I finally managed to speak with another human being.

The withdrawal from my account was in payment for a cordless telephone. I explained that I’d neither ordered nor taken delivery of such an item. The conversation repeated itself four or five times before the rude and unhelpful telephonist went away to check the details. On her return and without apology, she agreed with my explanation. I would receive a full refund within two weeks.

Two months passed before I noticed that the refund had not materialised. The big-business bandit had reneged on their promise. A further enquiry to the faceless entity left me frustrated and awaiting the outcome of a new internal enquiry. My protestations went unheard.

Exhaustive internet enquiries have revealed the name and address of the main board director responsible for customer care. Hopefully, upon receipt of my written complaint, he will be more responsive to the plight of a humble customer.

One of our friends with no such telecommunication problems is Angel. He’s a stonemason by trade. Symbols of his art are scattered throughout his garden. The most prominent of these is a three meter tall, eye-shaped boulder. This huge lump of natural rock is set into a metre-square, concrete plinth and fenced in with a thick-chain salvaged from a ships anchor. It’s his pride and joy. He shows it to all his visitors as others might exhibit an old master.

Earlier this week we called to see him. His son explained that he was across the valley at a neighbours’ house. Angel's wife then appeared at the kitchen door and asked us to wait while she called him.

Melanie and I looked on in stunned silence as she filled her lungs, puckered her lips and gave an almighty blow into a cattle-horn she’d taken from her overall pocket. No sooner had the call boomed out across the valley than the familiar frame of Angel popped up from behind a distant wall.

I’m not sure how this system of communication would be used to gain access to the internet, but one thing is certain, it won’t lead to his bank account being surreptitiously raided.

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Copyright © 2006 Craig Briggs


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