Tuesday, April 12, 2011

TTT - 4/12: Kuwait Update Pt. 3

It's Tuesday!!! Yes, I did set an alarm, but I was at dinner when it went of...I'm sure my roommates loved that. :D On with the storytelling!

So I left off with our crew taking over. We work in essentially a carport that is enclosed on three sides and the Navy crew we work with splits to bays within the building with us. The rest of the building is Kuwaiti Navy and we don't ever see anyone over there, not that we are really looking for anyone. Within our shop there are two offices. One is for the crew to sort of congregate and do training or relax. This is usually full of Navy guys as my guys use chairs in the shop near the toolboxes. The other office is where I work. Nothing really special about it except it has desks. This is also where we have meetings for the leadership or planning for the upcoming weeks.

The shop also has a little portable box that contains two bathrooms. One side has AC so when it gets hot, apparently guys from the old units would go hide out. Seems gross to me, but to each his own. :p

The final bit about the shop is that three cats live there. The base has cats scattered throughout for rodent control. I don't know what rodents they are controlling because I see mice all the time! Anyway, those three are assigned to my shop area. As one Army warrant officer told me, "You are responsible for them." Whatever that means...we aren't supposed to feed them per our "Welcome to Kuwait!" brief. There will be more on the cats later...

So at some point during my early existence in Kuwait, it was determined that I was going to handle the internet acquisition for our unit, at the least, and maybe the Navy if we could get a good deal. This starts a two month process...

So before the unit we relieved leaves, I am taken to a local cellular/wireless broadband company. The person who took me had to cancel their internet because our command didn't want what they had, and I was there to try and figure out what they could do for us for the time we would be here. This meeting included managers from sales, legal, and some other department that I don't recall. The general consensus when the meeting was over was that the best thing for our needs would be to get individual USB devices that connected wirelessly to their cell towers (their 3G network.) The only thing I needed to figure out now was how many people were going to be interested so I could give them a rough number for them to cut us an offer.

This process of collecting interested parties took roughly 3 weeks...we had already been in Kuwait for a week. I should say it took me that long to just get them a number so they would give us an offer because no one wanted to commit with a price tag. Fair enough...

1 month down, and the outgoing crew were selling off the methods of internet to people like hotcakes...first thorn in my side. All the while I'm running a boat maintenance facility where we are playing revolving boats because the minute the off-going crew was relieved everything started going wrong! (Go figure...) So with an estimated number of interested bodies, I head back to town for my second meeting. There I meet the sales woman I would be dealing with for the rest of this process. We go over some details and she gives me tentative information...all based on a set amount of time for a contract. This amount of time would have been feasible had we started this process when I got here, not a month and a half later...

This is where the internet story takes a turn for the irritating. I take the information I gathered back to the unit for people to mill over. All the while, the command had gone to the Army to get on their internet system...thorn in my side #2. Now we are polling everyone to see which they would prefer...2 week process. Time is not on our side as the offer for the USB connections is going to change if we can't commit to X amount of time. (Which we end up not being able to do...)

After the two weeks are up, the general consensus of the unit is that USB wireless cards are preferred, but instead of the 75 potential people I gave the company I'm looking at about 45. (Please refer to old unit's stuff selling like hotcakes.) On top of that, as I mentioned, we can't commit to the minimum time to get the great deal. The company mills all this information over and comes back to me (in a third meeting) with free devices, but we have to pay the full monthly service fee which is roughly $75. Free device, no big deal...45 people still on board! Oh wait...we forgot you said you can't commit to the time, while I have told everyone the price and started collecting money. USB's are now full price (roughly $45.) Instantly down to 22 people. I explain that is unacceptable and they manage to knock the price in half for the device. I little more acceptable and we get a final tally of 27 people with internet...2 months into our deployment.

Of course to conclude this part of the internet saga...my sales rep then informs me they want the rest of the money for the entire contract by the end of the month. I told her I would do my best, but that's not exactly the best thing to ask someone who was getting the runaround...

I know I said we would be caught up by the end of this week (and I sort of am,) but I think I'll leave it here and talk about the weather and cats next week. I have to have something to write about...things are getting slow here. :)

See you next week! (Yes, I still have the alarm set. :p)

No comments:

Post a Comment