Recently, I got a message on the answering machine from the phone company saying they were going to cut off my phone service for non-payment. Since I pay my phone bill automatically every month on my credit card, and I have ever since I signed up with this company a few years ago, I did not see how this could be.
So I put in a call to see what the problem was. After obediently listening to all my options because they might have changed since the last time I called in, I pushed every button exactly in the prescribed manner. Finally, 25 short minutes later, I finally had a human on the end of the line – Bobbie Jo from Bangladesh!
I very carefully told her my story about how I have always paid my bill with my credit card and that no other charges to this card had been denied. And then she transferred me and I told two of her friends my story and they both transferred me and I told two of their friends, and so on and so on. I was just like Heather Locklear in that shampoo commercial from the 80s! I told everyone in Asia my story in painstaking detail, including my name, account number, zip code, zodiac sign, and that I once had dinner with Ralph Nader. Until finally I was transferred to Darryl in building maintenance where this fun fun game ended when he disconnected me. At this point, my boiling blood was racing through my arteries at the speed of light which caused my eyeballs to pop clear out of my head, bounce off my computer and roll under my desk.
Later, much much later, I learned that the phone company had requested funds from my credit card company three times but failed to collect. And instead they decided that they should threaten to cut my phone service off for non-payment. And it only took me six or seven hours of my free time to track down and solve their problem. Doesn’t everyone want to spend their free time on the phone doing pro bono work for the phone company? Really, can you think of anything more fun?
Later that same week I bought a camera from a national retailer that was going out of business in our area. Unfortunately I discovered after I got home and tried to upload my pictures that it had come with the wrong USB cord. So I drove ten miles back to the store and was given another USB cord. I even tested it there in the store. But when I got it home, it did not work. It didn’t plug in “enough” which apparently is sort of important.
I immediately drove another ten miles back to the store to find Bubba, the fellow who had “helped” me, but he had gone to lunch and no one knew if/when he was going to come back or where the original cord was. So now I didn’t even have the original cord to mail back in with my brand new camera to the manufacturer.
I inquired of the store manager what my options might be and he pretty much said, “You’re screwed.” And so then I said, something like, well if this is your idea of customer service, no wonder you are going out of business and then he said something snotty and you can’t really out-snotty me, so I one upped him and then he walked away and then I may have yelled at his back. It’s always a good day when you are shouting in public at a bald guy wearing a red vest.
Not wanting to scrounge around behind their customer service desk for my eyeballs, I took a deep breath and just stood there silently counting. One of the clerks took pity on me and offered me a card reader doodaddy thing, which as it turns out, works just fine, but I had to go home and explain to Antique Daddy that I had just spend several hundred dollars on a new camera with no USB cord. But hey! Look! I still have my eyeballs!
Later that same week, I drove ten miles to visit my branch bank, my bank with whom I’ve had an account for 26 years, only to find that they had moved. I called to find out where they had moved to and then drove another ten miles to the new location only to find that they were not there either. So I put in another phone call to the customer service person who was neither apologetic nor helpful before she disconnected me as she was transferring me, probably to Bobbie Jo in Bangladesh. And then my cell phone died a sudden death, so I couldn’t even call her back and yell at her.
Knowing that I would need my eyeballs to drive home, I merely rolled them instead and went home to lie down.
And that’s when I decided that the world needs a spanking and I needed a time out.