Tag Archives: customer service

Beam Me Up Adobe!


You ever just had one of those days?

People are baffling to me sometimes. I try to be caring and understanding of everyone’s little peculiarities and proclivities, but I can not tolerate stupidity. Ignorance, I can deal with. Someone ignorant can be educated and “fixed,” but as Ron White puts it so eloquently, “You can’t fix stupid.” Since I have hypertension already, I attempt to avoid stupid people as much as humanly possible; however, one arena exists where stupidity is not only impossible to avoid, but is also seemingly a prerequisite for the job. I’m talking about the Tenth Circle of Hell known as Customer Service.


This school year, Budge’s district switched from a bi-weekly pay schedule to a twice monthly pay schedule. They now get paid on the 15th and 30th of each month. Okay. Fine. Since we have such a definite system in place, I figured I’d try to make my bookkeeping a little simpler by setting up some automatic drafts. We only have two major bills each month — the car payment and the mortgage. Since the mortgage is due on the 20th, I planned to set up to have it drafted from our account on the 16th of each month. That way, the mortgage would get paid early but with enough lead time to make sure the paycheck went in the bank.

This being the 21st century since the Incarnation of Our Lord, Jesus Christ, I logged on to my trusty PC, went to the mortgage company’s website and couldn’t find a form to download and fill out in order to make this transaction happen. I was filled with sorrow because if it isn’t on the website, the only place to get the information is by making the call to (cue the creepy organ music) Customer Service.

Now as anyone knows, Customer Service is the worst misnomer in the long and storied history of misnomers. I am convinced that an IQ somewhere in the vicinity of warm milk, or maybe stale bread, is necessary to be a Customer Service rep. I have yet to only make ONE call to Customer Service anywhere and have my problem fixed. A three call minimum is my usual working plan. This adventure would crawl along similar lines.

I need to make the point right here that I’m talking about Customer Service, which is NEVER to be confused with the high and noble profession that is Technical Support aka “IT”. Tech Support is a horse of a decidedly different hue altogether.


REALLY? Why? What freaking good will it do?

Anyway, I screwed my courage to the sticking place, picked up the trusty Uniden, and called. I had no illusion of getting a human on the first ring and I was not disappointed. I was immediately confronted with a quite mellifluous female voice asking me to choose English or Spanish. Then came the litany of choices that included everything except what I wanted. The worst part was this company had gotten smart and pressing “0” didn’t do anything until The Voice gave the caller that choice and, wouldn’t you know it, that was the last choice!?


So I pressed Zed and listened to some horrid Muzak for about an hour during which I was reminded at irregular intervals that my “business is vitally important to us and we will answer any questions as soon as the next available operator comes on the line.” Just when I’d started tightening my grip a little unnecessarily on the phone, a woman picked up, gave me her name in a very disturbing nasally voice, and said, “Can I have your name, please?” Done. “Can you verify the address of the home?” Done. “Can you verify your home phone number?” Done. “Last four of your Social please?” Done. “and do you intend to keep the home?” Yes. “Now, Mr. Wham, how may I help you?”

This wasn’t my first rodeo with this company, so I endured this recitation with a certain grim stoicism and asked about the bank draft form. She pointed me to a wildly obscure corner of the website under a heading like “Miscellaneous Garbage Having Nothing to Do with Forms” then asked, “Will there be anything else, Mr. Wham?” I asked for a number I could fax the form to and she said, “Oh, that number is on the form, have a good day, Mr. Wham.” Then she was gone.

I pulled my newly acquired form from the printer and, guess what? NO. FAX. NUMBER. Checked the website. Of course not! Why put an unimportant thing like a fax number on the website? Only one thing to do — call back. Again with the pretty voice and the list and the Muzak and the reminders and then, “hello, this is [someone I can’t recall]” can I have your name please?” Done and at this point, you would think she would see that I hung up with her colleague not 30 seconds ago. You would think, but you’d be wrong. Nope. Whole spiel again, right down to the “Do you intend to keep the home” bit before the “How may I help you?” I asked for the fax number. She gave me the fax number. I thanked her. She hung up. I instructed my fax modem to call their fax. The number she gave me? It wasn’t a fax machine. None of the metallic / mechanical squawking associated with a fax answering a call through good computer speakers.

She gave me the wrong number.

I had to call back, again.

I wasn’t happy anymore.

Dial. Voice. List. Muzak. Reminders. “Hello my name is Slim Shady, can I have your name?” Once again through the entire run of blabber down to “Do you intend to keep the home?” I was sore tempted to say, “No, actually, I’d like to tow it down to your office and shove it somewhere” but I didn’t. I simply said I was given the wrong fax number. Then I asked her if I could just email her a pdf of the form with my voided check attached. She said no, that it had to be sent via snail mail or fax. I pointed out that a pdf would be much clearer and easier to read and that’s when she took the conversation from the ridiculous to the sublime. She said, “Maybe so, sir, but we have to have the check and your signature and you can’t email a pdf with the check and your signature attached.”

Had I not asked the next question, I’d have probably managed to salvage the day with a tiny bit of compassion left for the human race, but nope. Had to ask it.

“Ma’am, are you saying you need the ORIGINAL voided check and my ORIGINAL signature?”

“Yes, sir!”

“But you’ll take a fax?”

“Yes, sir!”

“Ma’am, by any chance do you know who installed your fax?”

“No, sir, why do you ask?”

“Because, honey, if his name wasn’t Montgomery Scott or Gene Roddenberry, that fax machine AIN’T GONNA SEND YOU AN ORIGINAL DOCUMENT!!”

And I hung up.

Without getting the fax number.

So I had to call back

. . . again.

Love y’all, and keep those feet clean!


Please Do Not Antagonize the Crazy People


I went to the unemployment office first thing after dropping Budge off this morning. Even though my Tier 1,2, and 3 benefits are exhausted, the office is advising everyone to keep registering for the next tier (4 in my case) in the fleeting hope that the Elephants and Donkeys will reach a 12th hour compromise and 2,000,000 people won’t lose their benefits as a Christmas present.

Anyway, I left and hit up Hardee’s for a nice gravy biscuit and sat working my crossword puzzles until it was time to go see Dr. Stephens, my psychiatrist. Dr. Stephens is phenomenal. He has been a big help and he’s the only mental health professional, besides Dr. Catherine, that I trust. He is a specialist — one of the only ones in SC —  in child psychiatric treatment and I sometimes think that’s why he’s so good at helping me . . . he’s on my level!

Actual photograph of my psychiatrist's office manager!

Well, the visit with him went fine, but then I had to confront (cue the ominous music) The Creatures of the Front Desk!

See, Dr. Stephens doesn’t have his own office. He leases space, along with a dump truck load of other doctors, in a building owned by one of the older psychiatrists. In exchange for 40% of his patient income (I really don’t want to think about how much he must be making — he drives a Dodge Viper AFTER paying rent) he gets a front office that sets his appointments, does his insurance filing, does his billing, and drives his (and ever other doctor’s) patients INSANE, which may be redundant since this is a psychiatrist’s office in the first place.

Therein lies the problem! These harpies at the front desk seem to absolutely DELIGHT in making visits to this office as miserable as possible. They are shrewish, shrill, and about as useful / helpful as a screen-door on a submarine. Now did I mention that this is a PSYCHIATRIST’S OFFICE? These “ladies”, to use the term loosely, are fiendish experts — knowingly, willfully, or not — at cranking up the stress on people and some of these people you REALLY don’t want stressed any further than they already are. I’ve seen folks come into the waiting room red-faced and shaking, or crying uncontrollably and these women are more interested in making sure they have a current copy of an insurance card.

Not everyone I’ve dealt with at the front desk has been so difficult. As a matter of fact, two of my former students once worked there as office staff, but the Queen Bee, who could have been a lead actress in Gossip Girls if she was 20 years younger, eventually ran them off. They were sweet girls and sweetness is not rewarded in the Lair of the Gorgons. I have no idea why the doctor who owns the building keeps her around. I’ve asked Dr. Stephens and Dr. Catherine before she left and they don’t know why either. The only reason I can come up with is the same reason people like her manage to keep positions all over the world when their workplace would run so much better without them:

They know where all the bodies are buried and they have pictures.

I swear this guy has stood in front of me to check out. Does he REALLY look like someone you want antagonized? Just saying.

I’ve seen — actually seen with my own two eyes — one of these women pretty much berate to tears a lady who was bringing her teenage son in to see my doctor. I know the family because I taught the oldest child about seven years ago when this kid was in third grade or so. His sister used to tell me stories. The kid was rough back then. That young man has more issues than National Geographic not the least of which is a violent streak a mile wide, but the one thing he cherishes above anything else in the world is his mama.

Those women had no idea how lucky they were. It’s all well and good to say “I’ll call the police” but the police take time to arrive and some of the people who come through that office could do a lot of damage before the cops got there. He once attacked a neighbor who accidentally backed into his mama’s new car because he thought it would make his mama cry. He’s REALLY touchy over his mama. Issues. National. Geographic.

Even more than that rare side of things though, what drives me to distraction about them is the callousness.

Most of the patients the doctors see are really depressed or have terrible anxiety issues or other painful emotional problems. Is it so difficult to be a little kinder? The front desk staff acts like the money they are collecting is going directly into their pockets. It’s not, so chill a bit people.Why add another bad day incident to a person who is already having too many bad days as it is?

I tend to agree completely.

All I know is, I had some borderline psychotic students in my classes through the years and I was always on the greatest of terms with them. Kindred spirits? Dunno. Other teachers couldn’t understand how I could be so tolerant, patient and calm with these terrors. I told them it was simple self preservation instinct. Whenever they wanted to know how being nice to the “wild bunch” was self preservation I had one simple answer:

“When they come in with a gun one day, I want them to remember they LIKED me enough to say, ‘Hey, Coach, you were good to me . . . I’ll shoot you last!” Any port in a storm, right?

Y’all take care and be better to each other than these Jenny Green Teeth are and, as always, keep those feet clean!

Love y’all!

KeeKee Goes Postal in The Walmart


"Your day is about to get a whole lot worse!"

KeeKee, my beloved sister-in-law on Budge’s side has been under a wee bit of stress lately. Her job as a substitute organ donation coordinator is stressful in the best of times. She travels around the southeast filling in for coordinators on vacation or maternity leave. Her job consists of going into a waiting room in a hospital and ask a family if she can harvest their brain dead loved one’s organs. That’s a tough job. Very important and rewarding, but seriously difficult. The travel schedule doesn’t help much either and she has a rather interesting traveling companion — my 18 month old nephew. To top it all off, her God-I-hope-soon-to-be-ex-husband, my wife’s older brother, is a rotating SOB. (he’s an SOB any way you look at him.)

Well all this week, KeeKee has been subbing at a big hospital in Jacksonville, FLA. She’s also been staying with some of her friends who have twins Ry-Ry’s age so they help by babysitting. Oh yeah, she’s been on call for seven straight days and coming home to a two bedroom house with seven people in it. KeeKee is just about at the end of her rope. So, last night, she and one of the girls take Ry-Ry to “The WalMart” just to combat cabin fever.

Cut to the clothing section about twenty minutes later. Ry-Ry is in his buggy seat and KeeKee gets just a tiny bit too close to a table of t-shirts. Ry-Ry, being the curious and exploratory tyke that he is, reached out and grabbed a t-shirt and yanked.  It happened to be the BOTTOM t-shirt. That particular stack promptly ended up in “The Walmart” floor. Now KeeKee is a very conscientious and neat person. Not wanting to cause any undue work for the sales clerk folding clothes two tables away, she bends down, picks up the pile o’ shirts and starts to refold them. That would have been the end of it, but she happened to glance at the clerk to give a little smile . . . and saw the clerk look at Ry-Ry and ROLL HER EYES. Time for Mama Bear to make an appearance.

KeeKee walked up to the clerk and calmly said, “I’m sorry my son pulled the shirts off. He’s just a little boy and didn’t know better.” At this point, the clerk COULD have just smiled and nodded and that would have been the end. Nope. This lady must have had some sort of death wish because she turned slowly towards KeeKee and ROLLED HER EYES AND SUCKED HER TEETH!! Something deep in KeeKee that had been brewing for weeks on end snapped just then. She locked eyes with Mrs. Death Wish and calmly said, “You’re having a bad day, aren’t you?” Without waiting for any response, she continued, “Well, sister, it’s just about to get worse!” With that, KeeKee returned to the t-shirt table, stuck her arm under one end of the shirts and with one graceful movement, swept the entire table of shirts into the floor.

Then, shaking with a mixture of emotions, she marched to the front of the building and asked to speak to the manager in charge. “Mister,” she began, “you have me on video pushing a table of shirts into the floor. I did it because YOUR CLERK is rude and ROLLED HER EYES AT ME!! I’ve got a good mind to go BACK over there and TAKE MY LITTLE BOY OUT OF HIS SEAT SO SHE CAN SEE WHAT HE CAN REALLY DO!!”  The manager stood there obviously stifling a nervous titter and assured KeeKee he’d take care of it, at which KeeKee said, “WELL SEE THAT YOU DO AND I’LL BE BACK TOMORROW NIGHT TO CHECK!!!” Then she spun on her heel and swept regally out the door and to the car to break down in a deluge of nervous and angry tears.

The take home point of this story? Don’t mess with a Mama Bear on the edge!

Love y’all. Keep those feet clean!