Ms. Powerco: “Good Morning, WAPA Outages.” That’s short for the Water and Power Authority, the Virgin Island’s utility company.
Me: “Good morning. Our power has just gone out for the ninth time in the last 24 hours.”
Ms. Powerco: “I’m sorry, how many times did you say?”
Me: “Nine. Nine times.”
Ms. Powerco: “Nine times?”
Me: "Niyine times.” Despite my best Ed Rooney imitation, the tribute to quintessential 80’s movie Ferris Bueller’s Day Off went right over her head. “What’s the problem?”
Ms. Powerco: “The whole feeder line is down. They‘re working on it now.”
Me: “Have you identified the problems yet? Isn’t there something that can be done to prevent this?”
Ms. Powerco: “I wouldn’t know. We’re not responsible for the physical plant.”
Me: “Excuse me?”
Ms. Powerco: “This is a physical plant problem. We’re not responsible for the physical plant.”
Me: “Well, if you’re not responsible for the physical plant, who is?”
Ms. Powerco: “The plant manager. You’d have to call him to find out what the problem is.”
Me: “But I don’t have the plant phone number -- I have *this* number. Don’t you think it would be helpful if you and the others who answer the outages line called the plant when the feeders go down so you could provide some actual answers to the people who call?”
Ms. Powerco: (Hangs up on me) *CLICK*
Ah, customer service, Virgin Islands style. There’s nothing like it anywhere.