Archive for the ‘Customer Service Strikes Again’ Category

A Simple Request

On Saturday, we made a special trip to Red Robin, one of our favorite restaurants and one that we seldom get to visit because the closest one is over half an hour away. They have great food and Kaelin always gets a balloon – which, to a 2-year-old, is pretty much as close to Heaven as it gets.

We told the host that there were three people in our party and one (Kaelin) needed a highchair. We were led to a table for two. At Red Robin, a table for two is just that – there is no room for a third plate, and certainly not for the kids’ menu place mat they always give you.

“I don’t think we’ll be able to fit at this table. There are three of us.”
“We can extend the table.”

There were approximately 12 inches between that table and the ones on each side of it (which were occupied). If they extended the table, the people sitting next to us would not be able to get out of their booths. And there would still be no room for a highchair.

We explained this to the host and asked if we could just have a bigger table. Seeing several large tables empty around us, we didn’t think this would be a problem. He said ok, and went back to the front for a new table assignment. He then returned and led us to … anther table for two.

“This table isn’t any bigger than the last one,” I explained to him. “We have three people and this is a table for two.”

He muttered some excuse about how he doesn’t know how many people the tables seat. I stood there blinking at him, trying to comprehend the fact that evidently COUNTING THE CHAIRS at the table was a concept too advanced for him.

He then asked us if we wanted a booth instead. Looking around, I saw several booths nearby that were clearly meant for 4 people and would allow us the space we needed. “Sure, that would be fine.”

He then led us halfway across the restaurant to … yet another table for two.

At this point, I began to lose my patience. “Is there a reason that we cannot get a table that will seat THREE PEOPLE?” I gestured at one of the many empty table around that would suffice.

He looked at the table I had indicated and told me that he couldn’t seat us there because they couldn’t put a highchair at that booth.

I saw other non-booth tables available that could have accommodated highchairs. I considered pointing that out, but was afraid his brain might derail and explode at the possibility of other options.

I asked him dully if they had any booster seats, and the reply was yes.

Then please bring us a booster seat and take us to a larger table.

Somehow, we finally made it to a table that had enough room for the three of us and our meals – and boy, were we hungry at that point. Next time, I may just tell them we have 5 in our party, and hope we end up with a table for 4.

Um… Thanks?

Wow, could it be that WordPress is finally allowing me to post pictures? I dare not speak of it, lest it turn into a dream and disappear.

ANYWAY, a few weeks ago, we sent Kaelin to Seattle to spend a whole 10 days with her grandparents. She had a blast. And we enjoyed the break.

I took up a project that I am rendered completely incapable of doing when there are little fingers poking and patting every object within 3 feet of the floor: painting. I bought some pots and benches, and ended up with these:


The project was fun, and I think I’ve satisfied my crafting impulse for a few months.

While attempting to purchase my supplies however, it was confirmed to me (again) how I seem to attract the most unhelpful service employees.

While in Large Mega Craft Store, I approached an employee to find out where I could obtain a glue gun. I received the response “Crafts,” along with the non-verbal indication that she was finished with her interaction with me and our conversation was over.

Crafts??? It’s a CRAFT STORE.

With the possible exception of “Nyahhhh,” I cannot think of an answer that would be LESS. HELPFUL.

J has the same problem. While in Large Mega Hardware Store a few days earlier, he asked where to find a flashlight. The employee pointed over his shoulder to an area which encompassed … the entire store … and spouted “HARDWARE” before continuing on his way in the opposite direction.

I can see why these people don’t work in an industry where they have to depend on tips.

Sometimes I Think The Amish Have it Right

Low and behold, we now have internet and phone.   It took Time Warner 3 days, 6,531 phone calls and a supervisor visit to figure it out.   And they were only able to get the wireless internet working because J went up there and figured it out for them.

And in other technically frustrating moments, this is an excerpt from the “Help” section of this new web-based email program I’m trying to configure:

  • To reply to the sender of the message, click ‘Reply’.
  • To reply to the sender of the message and to all other recipients of this message, click ‘Reply All’.
  • To forward the message to another email address, click ‘Forward’.
  • To add the sender to your address book, click ‘add to contacts’.

The entire help section consists of those kind of statements.   Truthfully, the person who actually finds that HELPFUL should probably not be operating email.

There is, naturally, nothing in the “help” section that moves beyond the level of “Ridiculously Intuitive.”   For instance, WHY does the “Check Mail” button disappear if there are no previously downloaded messages sitting in my Inbox?   Of course, nothing in the “help” section even comes close to dealing with that issue.

But GUESS WHAT??   There’s even an FAQ section, full of SIX questions that can be answered by LOOKING AT THE SCREEN.

Can I send HTML formatted email messages?
YES!   Check the box that says “Use HTML formatting editor!”

Can I add a signature to my email?

How do I add someone to my address book?
This one’s a little tricky, you might want to write this down:   You click ADDRESS BOOK.   And then?   You click “ADD SOMEONE.”

I have serious doubts that these questions are asked frequently for 2 reasons:

  1. People who ask these questions are not people who can figure out how to submit a Contact Us form.
  2. There is no Contact Us form and no way to communicate with anyone for assistance, and therefore no way for ANYONE to ask questions.

Thanks, guys.

The Saga Continues

J stayed home from work today* to wait for the Time Warner Technician, who was scheduled to arrive between 8am and 11am.

At 11:45 no one had shown up, so he called Time Warner’s Customer Service. He was told that the appointment had been rescheduled to this evening after 5pm.

J: “Rescheduled? Were you planning to tell us about this?”

CS: “We called you last night and left a message .”

J: “I didn’t get a message. My wife didn’t get a message. What number did you call and leave a message on?”

CS: (reads him the number)

J: (Blink. Blink.)

They left a message on the phone line that we’ve spent two days trying to get them to set up. The phone line that doesn’t work and apparently has voicemail that they haven’t given us access to.

I am speechless right now.   And for your sake, I’m trying to finish this blog entry before I find the words.

*Which may sound odd, since he typically works from home, but since we have neither phone nor working internet from home (even the plug-into-the-box internet doesn’t work on his machine), he has to go elsewhere these days to get any work done.

Now I remember why we left Time Warner in the first place.

Ooh, the internet… I can finally get my fix. The withdrawal symptoms were killing me.

I hate Time Warner. There internal communication structure must be akin to sending messenger rats.   Because nobody is on the same page as anybody else, and nobody seems to know what’s going on, though they’ll all swear up and down that they know. Unfortunately (unlike the last city we lived in), we don’t have any other options.

Even though we technically have internet now, I can only use it if I’m sitting on the floor in the media room because my computer has to be directly plugged into the box.

The technician came out here today to install the wireless internet and – get this – didn’t have any wireless internet equipment. So he has to come back tomorrow to finish the job. WTH???


Ahem. Sorry. Withdrawal symptoms coming out again.

He was also supposed to install our phone line while he was here and left without doing that either. According to him, he couldn’t get it done today because there was something Customer Service was supposed to do that hadn’t been done (he wouldn’t tell me what “it” was) so I had to call customer service because they needed to talk to me before they would do “it.”

Customer Service had no idea what I was talking about. But rather than wait for me to call them, Technician Guy just left – so he wasn’t there to explain it to them.

They finally determined that the problem was due to the fact that the line wasn’t scheduled to be activated until 2:04 pm, and once 2:04 pm got here everything would be fine.

So let me get this straight… They scheduled a technician to set up our phone line at 9am, but then scheduled the phone line activation for after 2pm, knowing that the line activation was necessary for the tech to finish his job. Again, WTH???

I tried to tell them that no, that couldn’t have been what the technician was talking about because he said there was something he was unable to do, so he would have to come back out here before the phone would work. But they assured me that wasn’t the case. I asked them to call Technician Guy to figure out what he meant, but they pretty much ignored that idea.

Well guess what. 2:04pm came and went and still no phone service.

On my second call to customer service (which was actually my 5th call, but we won’t go there) the Customer Service Rep determined that the technician was waiting for them to send a signal to the modem or something. Which they did in like half a second. I pleaded with her to just CALL THE TECHNICIAN to figure out if that was in fact all he was talking about. She said she knew he meant and left it at that.

Time Warner employees must grow warts if they actually make an effort to communicate with the technicians. That’s all I can figure with the way they avoid it.

Assuming Customer Service Rep #2 was correct, I’m incredulous that the technician decided to LEAVE without finishing the job, as opposed to wait for 5 seconds to have this done. So now we’re another day without a phone.

Did I mention that this is the only house I have ever been in where my cell phone doesn’t get a decent signal?


Assemble THIS.

We had scheduled a furniture assembly company to come by today and (10 points to anyone who guesses this) assemble some furniture.   But the desk/hutch/bookcase were in boxes at my parents’ house where they have been since before Christmas.

So J called up Jon and they collected the really big boxes of disassembled furniture and brought them to our house.

And put them in the living room.

I asked J why he and Jon weren’t bringing the boxes upstairs to the office, where the assembled furniture would go.   He replied that he would let the assembly guys do that.

I asked him if he was sure that assembly companies moved furniture – after all, they were assemblers, not furniture delivery men.   He said something about it would be silly for them not to move it where it was supposed to go, in order to assemble it, and that they weren’t going to show up and then leave because it wasn’t in the right place.

Again, I asked him if he was sure about this, and if they would charge us extra for having to move it.   He assured me that I had nothing to worry about and that it would be the assembly company’s responsibility to get the boxes upstairs.

By now, you’ve probably guessed where this story is going.

A short while later, the assembly crew guy showed up.   He took one look at the boxes and informed J that he was not moving any boxes, especially up stairs.

So guess who gets pulled off her butt in the middle of a work-related project to move three 200-pound boxes up a flight of stairs.

Just to be repetitively clear on something…Those things were HEAVY.   I couldn’t even lift my end of one of them.   And all the while, Mr. Assembly Man is standing there watching me break my back with this look of hurry up, I didn’t drive over here to wait.

Not that he would have been much help.   The guy looked like an emaciated version of ZZ Top and seemed to have enough difficulty getting his own bag of tools up the stairs.

But still.

Afterward, he didn’t even clean up after himself.   It’s one thing to avoid carrying heavy boxes up the stairs for liability.   It’s quite another to charge $200 to put a few screws in some furniture and then leave all the empty boxes and debris all over the place.


So I got this advertisement from National Car Rentals, trying to get me to sign up for the Emerald Club. On the front of the brochure is a picture of a cross-eyed woman with shampoo in her hair.

Does anyone see the connection there?

And in other news, did you know that if you start yelling at the automated telephone operator on Travelocity because it CAN’T TELL THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN SEPTEMBER AND OCTOBER, that the Roaming Gnome gets on the line and starts telling you jokes?

ATO: To cancel your reservation, first give me the city and date of your planned trip so I can look up the record.

Me: (for the third time) Chicago, September 14th.

ATO: I’m sorry, I don’t see any trip planned for October the 14th. To try another date…


ATO: Ok. Main Menu. To make a reservation, say ‘Make a Reservation.’


Roaming Gnome: Hello. I ran into a chap the other day who was a watchmaker. I asked him how business was going. He said, ‘Great – where else can I get paid to sit around all day and make faces?’

ATO: Now that we’ve brighted your day, please choose from the following options…

I hate automated telephone operators.

There Ain’t No Pill for Stupid

I nearly lost my mind today. As mentioned previously, I have quite honestly never come so close to going postal on a customer service person. In fact, I believe the only thing that gave me enough motivation to hold it in was the security guy in the corner wearing the guns.

The whole thing started when my attorney called this morning. He was going to appear for me this morning at 9am and had discussed with the court the possibility that he would be delayed by another case, so to hold a 1:30pm opening as well, just in case he couldn’t make the first appointment. They had agreed.

When he showed up at 9am, he was told that the court time had been MOVED to 1:30pm, evidently some clerk error, because that was not what had been discussed. The judge would not see him at 9am because he no longer had a court appointment for that time.

So he filed the papers for a rescheduling because he would be unable to make the 1:30pm appointment time, as his schedule had been arranged such that he would be across town at that time. He called me and told me to show up for the 1:30 appointment, that he wouldn’t be there, but it would be unneccessary because the only thing happening was that the judge was “signing off” on the extension request. All I had to do was listen to the verdict and call him to let him know when the rescheduled time was.

So I show up at the court, take my seat, and the (clerk? I don’t know who he was) came out and called a bunch of names. Everyone around me went inside, but I’m not worried because I’m half an hour early. Then he asks me if I’m waiting for my lawyer.

“No, he said he didn’t need to be here.”

“He has to be here. The judge won’t speak to you without a lawyer.”

“But he told me just to show up, that it wasn’t required for him to be here for this.”

“He has to be here. Once you’re represented by a lawyer, the judge doesn’t speak to you without him present. Get on the phone and tell him to get his butt up here.”

So I call Steve.

“They’re telling me you have to be here.”

“No, they’re wrong. Just tell them that I was already there and filed for a Continuation. They’ll know.”

By this time the (clerk?) has gone back into the courtroom. I ask the security guy if he’s planning to come back out, that I need to tell him something. Security Guy directs me to the window.

Yes, the “take a number and wait 5 hours” window.

So I take my number and wait. When I get to the window, I explain the situation to the employee.

“Your lawyer has to be here.”

“But he filed paperwork this morning for a Continuation. He told me he didn’t need to be here for that, that I was just to come in and get the result.”

“Let me look up your account.”

She looks up my info and proceeds to tell me that my about something being filed yesterday and makes a comment about both my tickets. Both??? There should only be one ticket.

She then prints off a page stating that my court date has been set for September 19. I look at the top of the page.

“I don’t think this is right. It says it’s for a speeding ticket. I don’t have a speeding ticket. My ticket is for cutting a corner.”

“You don’t have a speeding ticket?”

“No. I had a speeding ticket a long time ago, but it’s been taken care of. It shouldn’t even show up on my record because I deferred it and that’s over.”

She goes away for a while getting clarification and comes back to tell me that she fixed it. But that I still have two outstanding tickets. What did she fix?

“What I’m trying to find out is on the OTHER ticket. My lawyer filed a Continuance. I’m trying to find out the results of THAT.”

“I don’t see anything on the other ticket. That court date was still set for today at 1pm. He has to be here for that.”

“But he told me he DIDN’T have to be here because he filed a Continuance.”

“No, he was here this morning. He stood at my window and I told him he had to be here today, that it was very important that he be here at 1PM.”

“So he has to be here for me to find out the result of the Continuance request?”

“Yes. I don’t show any records that it has been decided yet, so I can’t tell you.”

“But that’s what I’m here for. So that the judge can DECIDE. That’s what he’s supposed to do during my court time.”

“But he won’t see you without your lawyer.”

So I call my lawyer. Which means I have to get out of line because Window Lady won’t talk to me if I’m on my cell phone. Lawyer tells me that what they’re saying is wrong, that if they’re going to be idiots about it, I should just leave because I can’t do more than try. And that there will be a record that I did in fact show up, and that nobody would see me.

“Will I get in trouble for leaving without seeing the judge or anything?”

“No, you don’t have to see the judge. The worst that could happen is that they’ll issue a warrant for your arrest. But we can easily have that reversed.”

A warrant for my arrest? That makes me feel a LOT BETTER. Here I am just trying to get something resolved correctly, doing everything I’m told to do, and now I’m afraid that the cops are going show up at work and drag me away in handcuffs to the Police Station.

And we all know how I feel about the local Police force. The overstaffed police force (I can’t go to the mailbox without seeing a patrol car drive by) whose members jump at any and every opportunity to do a little fundraising (the other day I saw TWO cop cars pulling over one speeder), but for some reason take HALF AN HOUR to get on the scene when a truck driver hit-and-runs a motorcyclist (I should note that you can get anywhere in this little city in 10 minutes or less).

Just to be sure, I get back in line and ask Window Lady to mark notes on my account that I did in fact try to make my appearance but that nobody would see me without my lawyer. Since she’s handed me the piece of paper with a speeding ticket on it, I ask her to be sure that the Continuance was filed on the correct ticket. She tells me no, it was filed for “that” ticket, insinuating the piece of paper in my hand.

“So my lawyer came in this morning and talked to you and filed a Continuance on the WRONG TICKET?”

“I don’t enter it, the clerks enter the paperwork.”

“But you are telling me that the Continuance this morning was filed on THIS SPEEDING TICKET – and NOT on the Cutting the Corner ticket?”


Step out of line, again. Call lawyer, again. He says he’ll check on it, that he was filling out the paperwork based on the information he got from the court, but that it could be changed. He will call the court and call me back.

He calls back and reads me the case number that he filed the Continuance on. It is NOT the case number of the speeding ticket – is the correct case number of the Corner ticket.

Back to the window. Before I can even open my mouth, she informs me that the paper I have in my hand on the speeding ticket is from the Prosecutor, that the case has been reopened because since I got a citation during my deferral, I failed to comply with the terms of my agreement.

“But I’m CHALLENGING the citation. It hasn’t been settled yet. I should never have been issued that ticket. It’s not my fault that I got a citation that I shouldn’t have been issued.”

“That’s not my decision.”

Whatever. My main concern right now is the stupid Corner ticket and the Continuance.

“The case number on the Continuance he filed this morning is the correct case number. The paperwork is right. Are you sure your system is showing that it was filed on the speeding ticket instead?”

“He filed that this morning.”


“It’s not in my system.”


I’m thinking, Shit. They’ve completely lost the paperwork and don’t know about the Continuance request. Now what? I’m past my court appearance time because, even though I’ve gotten here early, I just spent the last hour trying to make some sense out of this woman.

“You mean there’s no record of it?”

“Of course not. He just filed that Continuance this morning. I won’t have any record of it in my system today. It won’t show up until after the judge determines something.”


This is the part where I lose my mind.


Ok, I didn’t actually say all that. Remember the guy with the guns. But that’s what was going through my head as my hands started shaking and I began the breathing exercises.

(speaking very slowly)
“Ok. The deferral that was filed this morning…THAT’s what I’m here to find out about. The judge is supposed to make his decision on that during my court appointment time and all I’m supposed to do is listen to the verdict of whether or not he approved it.”

“Your lawyer has to be here for that.”

“Are you absolutely certain?”


“So there’s absolutely nothing I can do by being here right now.”


Nothing at all.


I can’t even find out about the verdict.”

“It’s not in my system yet. They’ll call your lawyer when it’s been decided. Then he can tell you.”


(blank stare)

I can feel the whole room turning to look at me. At this point I decide to take my lawyer’s advice and just leave. Slight sense of relief that the guy with guns didn’t follow me.

At the beginning of this day, my expectation was to have this entire matter resolved. Now that I was done, nothing was resolved. Nothing. In fact, the situation was worse than it was to begin with because now I have to mess with trying to get the DA off my back about the stupid speeding ticket too.

I returned to work and tried to explain to everybody what had just happened. I ended up doing a lot of yelling. I think they were entertained. Either that or trying to figure out how to safely get away from the crazy lady.

This is what telling the truth gets me. A ticket, lawyer fees, court fees, more court fees, much wasted time, and the complete and udder loss of my sanity.

Next time I am so going to lie.

Miracles Never Cease

Filed under: Customer Service Strikes Again,Such is Life — Amy @ 2:52 pm

Guess what I got in the mail this weekend?


Just when you think you’ve seen everything, the Texas Department of Transportation finally gets it right.

Say Cheese

Went back to the DPS to re-do my license. Again. Got it taken care of, but the DPS guy made me take my picture twice because I wasn’t smiling enough in the first one.

You mean it shows that I’ve already taken this picture three times and even you can’t figure out why I have to come back in and take it again? Odd, that.

Department of Unbelievable Stupidity

It’s official. I am going to have to move to another state to get a driver license.

If you’re hearing a “drip drip” noise, don’t be alarmed. It’s just the sanity draining out of my head.

Let’s review:

Attempt #1 to Obtain Illusive Texas Driver License:
Sometime in April: I go to the DOT (or the DMV or the DPS, pick the acronym of your choice) to get a Texas Driver License to replace my Washington license.

Sometime in May: I receive said license but they have issued it to me in my maiden name. I have been married for FOUR YEARS. Every piece of ID I presented them with, as well as my signature, clearly stated my married name – and yet, I now have a driver license in my maiden name, which I don’t even know how they GOT except that they must have had it on file from when I lived in Texas a long long time ago. Worse, they CONFISCATED my Washington Driver license so I now have no picture ID in my married name.

Attempt #2:
May 26: I call the DOT office where I received my license, and am told that nothing can be done unless I come in again and fill out new paperwork, give them a new signature and present the ID THAT THEY HAVE ALREADY CONFISCATED. I try explaining that the paperwork I filled out is already correct, my signature is already correct, and that they already have everything I could possibly give them in person. I am given the number to the Records office in Austin because that’s where all my documents are.
I call the Austin office and speak to Amanda, and after explaining the situation twice, she says she can take care of it if I fax her a copy of my marriage license. I do so and receive a confirmation that the fax was successful. I specifically request in the fax cover sheet that she call me if she has any problems or questions, otherwise I will assume everything is ok and that I can expect the license in the mail as talked about.

Said license never shows up.

Attempt #3:
June 23: I moved and needed to change the address on my license. Due to time constraints, I am unable to truck myself down to the DPS again to straighten things out, so I simply change my address online and pay the $11 for them to send me a new license.

New license never arrives.

Attempt #4:
July 20: I call the DOT to find out what has happened to my license and am informed that it was mailed the previous Thursday. There is no reasonable explanation as to why a piece of mail should take a week to get from Austin to Carrollton. Yet, license has been sent regular mail without tracking information, so I have no choice but to wait.
I am also informed that my license is still listed under my maiden name. I explain the conversation I had with Amanda and that this should have been taken care of. I am told that it was not taken care of. Futhermore, no employee at the Austin office has the authority to do name changes (or even name corrections, apparently), and that since there are no notes on my account, I could not possibly have called this office before and talked to anybody named Amanda.
The employee makes it very clear that nobody at the Austin records office could make that change, that the only people authorized to take care of this situation are in the local offices because they have to examine the documents THAT ARE ALREADY ON FILE AT THE AUSTIN RECORDS OFFICE AND CONSEQUENTLY HAVE ALREADY BEEN EXAMINED IN PERSON.

I call the local DPS office AGAIN and relay what the Austin records department told me. They say they cannot possibly make a change without me coming in personally because they need my fingerprints, picture and signature. In order to make a simple correction, the Austin records office would have to take care of that and reissue the license because they are the only ones who have that information.

This is a prime example of the well-known efficiency of government offices.

I should add that I am trying to avoid going into the DOT office because to do so would mean having to take off work (because naturally, they’re only open during business hours, when everybody is already BUSY), which my boss doesn’t look upon too kindly because I’m planning to take over a month off in a few months for maternity leave.

Attempt #5:
July 20: I give up and haul myself down to the DPS office to change my license. The transaction is very easy and I’m in and out of the office in 15 minutes. WHY I HAD TO MAKE THE SPECIAL TRIP OVER HERE FOR SOMETHING SO INCREDIBLY SIMPLE COMPLETELY ESCAPES ME. After proofreading my temporary paper copy about 64 times, I am amazed that I’m finally going to get a license a) sent to me, and b) with the correct information.

Status Update:
License from Attempt #2 has never arrived.

License from Attempt #3 has never arrived.

License from Attempt #5 has never arrived.

August 8: A letter arrives…
“The Texas Driver License you recently applied for cannot be issued due to a processing error. Please present this letter to the driver license office nearest you for assistance in obtaining a corrected issue. We regret any inconvenience this delay may cause.”

I hate the Texas Department of Transportation. Hate them all. This is me wishing cancer upon the entire organization…and making plans for a move to Colorado. I am seriously considering calling Austin and telling them that I want my Washington license back. Pull it out of your black hole files and MAIL IT BACK TO ME. I GIVE UP.

How to Annoy Me

Hire a person to answer and take phone orders who doesn’t understand English.

About Me

Hi. I'm Amy. I started this website in 2005 as a place to deposit my journal and photos. It has gone through a few incarnations and masquerades as a family site, but since I'm the only one who contributes to it, it's really all about ME, ME, ME.

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