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.
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?”
“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!