I gotta vent. If this isn't the appropriate forum, I apologize.
I've had a 'dumb phone' with a 7-11 sim card since I arrived in Taiwan in 2008. I recently decided to jump into the 21st century and get a smart phone and service. I just went into Far EasTone (遠傳) to attempt that.
First of all, the guy sees a foreigner (who's speaking Chinese with him, by the way) and so instantly gives me only one option....30 days of prepaid internet for $800nt. When I asked if that's all they had--don't they have service contracts?-- (which, of course, I knew they did) he said that's it. When I asked again, specifically inquiring about different plans and pricing depending on usage, he panicked and got on the phone. In the meantime I got on the phone with my friend who has service with 大哥大. The guy handed me the phone and the English speaking woman on the line told me that yes, they have various plans. I gave my phone to the guy, letting my friend also explain to the guy what I wanted, and then he spoke with the woman. Finally he was convinced that it was OK to provide normal service to a foreigner.
However, once he saw that my ARC expiration date was next month, no deal. I tried to explain as calmly as I could that I'd been living in Taiwan for 5 years, I get a new ARC each year, and showed him that my new one was being processed right now. I showed him my entry and exit dates in my passport. I also threw in that I would be applying for my 永久居留證 at the end of the month.
I mean, what the hell? I've been here 5 years on a valid ARC, I've added who knows how many hundreds of thousands of NT into the economy, and I was ready to throw thousands more at this place. Are they really thinking, "Gee, today he's going to pay us $14,000+ as a 16 month deposit for service, but we better not do it because he's a shifty foreigner and he'll probably leave Taiwan next month"?! I know, I know, I'll always be a suspicious outsider in their eyes. Sigh.
As I gathered up my stuff and left, I casually remarked to the guy 我想我最好去大哥大 。Probably didn't do any good, but I'm on my way there. We'll see...