Let’s say you and I are trying to get the U.S.S. Super Carrier from the Gulf of Mexico to the Pacific Ocean. We decide to take the ship through the Panama Canal.
We contact Panama Canal Technical Support and ask them what we need to do to get the U.S.S. Super Carrier through the canal. There’s paperwork, that’s for sure. There’s technical issues, that’s for sure, too. All kinds of stuff.
So we set up a chat session. Officers from Super Carrier sit in a conference room and chat with Panama Canal Tech Support. The captain tells the engineering officer to submit a list of facts and figures, including the dimensions of the ship, as well as various facts such as the pollution that might be a problem, noise that might be a problem, security concerns and all that.
Other paperwork is submitted as well, and the Panama Canal Tech Support people receive it and they review it.
The PCTS (for short) don’t provide a checklist of any kind. Instead, they take the data submitted and they ask general questions about it. They faff about, you might say. Eventually, the officers on the Super Carrier explain all of the forms: financial and military and aviation and naval– and the PCTS seems happy that they are all in order. This takes two and a half hours.
Finally, one of the Chief Petty Officers pipes up:
“Sir, have they verified that the canal is WIDE ENOUGH to allow the ship to pass through?”
Not being an idiot, the captain asks the PCTS to verify this. They ask for time to do the calculation. Twenty minutes later they return with an answer.
The ship can pass through the canal with no problems, as long as the beam of the ship can be reduced by about ten feet.
I’m telling this story because my experiences with Namecheap tech support have been about this much fun. I mean, for the love of breakfast, how can anybody fail to see that there are some things that are more important than others, and that a checklist will save everybody time and money.
It’s not just a language barrier that’s in play here…