The other day I saw an advertisement for apples.
The ad said for 35 euro I could get 16 apples every month, plus all the cheddar cheese I want to go with it as long as I eat the cheese in Germany.
Because they looked like good apples, and I was currently only getting around 6, I phoned up a friendly lady who asked for my phone number, clicked away at a computer, then said yes, you can indeed get 16 apples a month, and we’ll set it all up for you.
But three weeks later when the first delivery of apples arrived at my door, all I found were 3 apples.
So I phoned up the lady again and asked her why I didn’t get my 16 apples.
“I don’t know,” she says, “you’ll have to talk to our driver. Maybe some of the apples fell off the truck”
So she puts me onto the driver who tells me that yes indeed, 3 apples is all I’ll get. “It’s because the road to your place is too long and bumpy. The apples fall off all the time.”
“Is it also because there’s sometimes a lot of traffic on the road?”
“No,” he said. “It’s because of the road.”
“But why didn’t the lady who sold me the 16 apples tell me that in the first place?” I asked. “I can’t be the first person at the end of this road ever to have ordered the 16 apples a month.”
“And the price is exactly the same!” I wailed. “Had I known, I’d never have ordered the apples!”
“I can’t change the way it’s set up,” said the mechanic., ” but you can go to a shop near your place, and maybe they’ll be able to help you out.”
Still hungry for apple pie I went with my sorry tale to the shop, where another friendly lady behind the counter said, “Well, if you’d have come here first for your apples, we’d have told you right away that you could only have 3 apples where you live.”
“So now I’m stuck with a two-year contract for fewer than 20% of the apples I ordered every month?”
She shook her head sadly. “Yes, it’s too bad.”
“But if you like, I can offer you 50 apples a month.” she says, perking up. “They’re delivered over a glass-fibre superhighway direct to your door. It’ll only cost you 10 euro more a month.”
“But I don’t want 50 apples,” I said. “I’ll probably choke on them.”
“Sorry, that’s all you can get.”
And that, dear readers, is how Deutsche Telekom sells its high-speed VDSL Internet service to those looking for a fast – but not too fast – connection.
I would have been happy with only 6 Mb per second, which is what I was getting with another provider before their service went tits up and they refused to help me because the router I use wasn’t a router that they sell.
But when Telekom offered 16 per second I went for it, because it also offers free telephone calls throughout Germany.
Sure, they said, you can have DSL, but what they didn’t tell me was that because our place is too far from the main switch, I can only get a maximum of 3MB per second. Sure enough, buried way down in the statement they mailed me after I signed up was a line that says 3MB/second. I failed to notice that. They certainly didn’t draw attention to it. The woman I ordered from over the phone was too busy trying to sell me add-ons I didn’t need to concentrate on what I really wanted: a fast ADSL connection.
So, having given in, I’ve ordered their VDSL 50MB deal. Fast, I know – too fast for what I need, but what the hell. I still get the cheese, and maybe I can look up great apple pie recipes a little quicker.