Urban legends in cyber space

Private Property South Africa
Andre Fiore

Patience has never been my strong point. Just the words Telkom, Vodacom, Autopage and the like send me into convulsions before I’ve even started dealing with them. You somehow know it’s not going to be a pleasant experience. You also know that at the precise moment when you’re ready to cyber throttle the person on the other side, they’re going to ask you to rate their service. And if you do agree, there’s no option to say “indescribably awful”, so you lose anyway.

But sometimes of course you head in there, on a good day, believing that if you think very positive thoughts, and lower your expectations dramatically, you may, you just may come out prize in hand, after only one interaction. Like a big lotto win, though it’s more of a dream, a fantasy that hovers in the realms of urban legend.

I once waited eleven months for Autopage to sort out a billing issue. That’s if it is sorted. To this day I can’t actually bring myself to look at their statements; it’s just too bad for my general health. Vodacom is the same. Six visits to their “closest store”, spaced graciously over three months, and they are still telling me to take the phone in and they’ll make a plan.

Get serious!

When, one wonders, does one get to the serious business of the day, when you’re hanging around waiting for other people to make plans? Or not to, as the case may be.

Which brings me to cyber shopping, and the ongoing search for the perfect perch. How long does an average online browser spend, I wonder, looking at one particular property? I know I’ve made my first decision in half a second, and if it gets a second look, that may last a few more seconds, unless it’s very, very tempting. Photos I find are quick and easy to access, or should be, unless, as on some sites, they take ages to upload. Those of course are sites that I don’t go back to. And I’m sure I’m not alone in that.

Virtually amazing

So, what about the virtual tour? I tried one a few months ago, and it was almost as agonizing as trying to discuss colourways with my man. It took so long to upload that my coffee got cold. Round and round it went, getting ready, and of course by the time it was ready to strut its stuff (I always count to twenty when I talk to the Other Half) I was no longer interested.

I tried again today though. To be fair, I was in a trusted zone, and the property looked lovely, so I clicked “Virtual Tour” and to my amazement, it worked. Immediately. No waiting, no wondering, no counting. I got to see it all in minutes. Plus it had a plan. A floor plan that even I could understand, which showed exactly where I was in relation to the view. A call to my handiest 087 number explained that they come out and do it all for you too. Now that’s urban legend stuff, I’d say!

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