Stuttering satellite renewal

Ok, so please allow me to ease back into the blogging after the week off. I’ll start with a quick stuttering story that just happened. Then this week I’ll continue with workshop reviews from the NSA Annual Conference.

Here in the Kingdom, we’ve got a satellite dish. I bought the service for this dish from a small shop that someone had recommended. I went in, said I wanted the same package, and the guy came the same evening to climb up onto the roof and install everything. I paid for the receiver, installation and subscription. I get hundreds of channels, but most are in Arabic or other languages. So I’ve “favorited” it down to about 30 that we use regularly.


After seven months, the subscription ran out. So what to do? It’s not like I have an online account or something.

I went back to the store. They said to bring in the receiver, and they’ll update it. Easy.

I went just yesterday with the box. Eh … where’s the remote? It’s at home. Well, we need the remote to program it.

Oh, right.

He suggested that I pay, he give me the code, then I call him once I got home. Then he could talk me through it.

I didn’t think much of the stuttering aspect at this point. I just wanted my channels back! (The Vuelta is starting soon, you know).

I got home and called. He then asked me what I saw when I hit Menu.


There were nine things on there to read. Over the phone. Not too bad, though. Menu, Settings, File … I was stuttering here and there, dragging out the words. Now, this guy isn’t a native English speaker, the cell phone connection might not have been the best, and he’s trying to figure out what I’m saying and what he can remember. He asks me to hit OK on one of them. Now what do I see? More reading! Aaack. More pushing the words out as hard as I can. By this time my kids were asleep, but my wife was sitting on the couch checking e-mail. I know she wasn’t judging me, but this was still annoying.

The guy couldn’t quite figure it out because “the software is new.” So … can I come in the next day and bring the remote? Sure. I did that today, and we’re back watching the dish.

In some ways being in Saudi is a little easier — I mean, at home, this would have been a “customer service” call maybe, and I’d have been moved around as people struggled to understand. At least here I can just take it into a store and sort it out quickly.


  1. Geraint Isitt says:

    That is the one thing I miss about Saudi. The smaller shops and the convenience they provide – when you can get a hold of someone in them.

    • It is great/hilarious — I went to a shop the other day to buy 1500SAR worth of phone cards. They had to usher me to the back with the manager who was like, “really?” then ended up giving me 11×100 and 8×50 … 19 cards.

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