the original kStyle blog.

Monday, November 15, 2004

Wednesday Writing Assignment: Late Monday Edition

I'm still sick. I just can't shake this thing. Please tell me a nice story to make me feel better.


Blogger Eric said...

You're still sick? Really? Are you sure this isn't just a ploy to get us to tell you stories?

Okay, here's one: A few months ago I was scheduled to take a day-long course in Microsoft Excel, which I don't know anything about, and which I need to learn something about in order to prepare for a meeting I'll be having soon. But as the day approached, it became clear that I couldn't possibly take a whole day off to learn a computer program, as my workload was immense and my stress level was high.

So I called the seminar people, who told me that although it was too late for a refund, they could send me the course on CD-ROM so I could take it at my leisure. An even exchange. Well, that sounded terrific. Send 'em along, I said.

Weeks went by, and nothing arrived. So after a month and a half, I called them, explained the situation, and said I'd never gotten my order. The customer service operator, as it were, punched a few keys and told me that my order had indeed been shipped.

"I'm sure it was," I said, "but I never got it. What was the name and address on the package?"

She read me my company's name and address, and then said there was "no name on the package."

"Well," I said, "if it had gotten here, we all would have gotten an e-mail from the mailroom asking if anyone was waiting for a package from you. So it probably didn't get here." I kept waiting for her to apologize and offer to rush me a replacement immediately--I mean, that's what a company would do if it wanted to keep my business, right?

She put me on hold for three minutes, came back and said, "Yes, it definitely shipped to you."

"No, I know you sent it," I said, "but it didn't get here. I'm not saying it's your fault, but you do have my $180.00, and I don't have anything. Isn't there some way to send a replacement?"

She said, "It's probably sitting somewhere in your building. It'll probably turn up soon."

"I'm sorry, but I really don't think it will," I said. "It's been well over a month since I placed the order, and I think probably it just got lost in the mail."

Then she mentioned a woman's name and asked if I knew her. I said, "Yes, she's my assistant. She actually scheduled the seminar for me originally, but I'm the one who called to exchange it for the CD-ROM."

"Oh," she said, in a "By George, I've got it!" sort of way. "She probably has the CDs."

"No she doesn't," I said. "She works right outside my office. We talk all day. I really don't think she's been hiding them away."

"Well," said the customer service operator, "I think you should talk to her, and if she doesn't have them, you can call us back." And she hung up.

Needless to say, I don't think I'll be learning Microsoft Excel anytime soon...

9:12 AM  
Blogger kStyle said...

The ineptitude of so many customer service reps!!! Makes the blood boil.

10:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Eric, I'd be calling back and talking to a manager, immediately. I'd lodge a protest with the credit card company, as well, to make sure I didn't have to pay the money. And I'd explain to anyone with whom I spoke that they had lost my business. They could try to earn it back, but it would take some work, and I'd tell them I intend to spread the story to everyone I know, including the people in charge of purchasing such products/services at this and every other company. In fact, I'd even write a letter. What do you need to know about Excel? I'm kind of a wizard at it.

As for the story, well, it's a short one, but it made my day yesterday--I'd blog about it myself if I could get up the energy to actually create a blog. I was walking to my yoga class (which I ended up not attending, because they had a substitute teacher, and i don't trust substitutes), and I saw a neon sign with letters missing. It said:

General Office Fu
New and Used

I had a great time imagining what "fu" could possibly be, and whether one would really want to get it/them used rather than new.

11:52 AM  
Blogger kStyle said...

Wonderful story! I looked up "fu" in the book Grasping the Wind (by Ellis, Wiseman, and Boss), and there are 9 definitions, depending on accent.

1. instep; the dorsum of the foot

2. to float, drift; light, insubstantial, fleeting, frivilous; excessive

3.prostrate; to lay low, wait in ambush; hidden, latent; to yield, suffer; humble

4. to support, hold up, prop up, help

5. poles attached to a cart to keep it from upsetting; to help, support, guide; territory around the capital
[Note: this one's good for your sign: General Office Poles Attached to a Cart to Keep It from Upsetting...no wonder they went with just "Fu"]

6. storehouse, treasury; palace, mansion; prefecture, officer.
This character was originally used to denote the bowels (hollow organs)[...]
[General Office Bowels?]

7. near to; adhere to; dependent upon; be possessed (by a spirit); append, add to

8. abdomen
[Note: Short, concise--I like it]

9. to return; to repeat; to reply; again, repeatedly.

[Note: and now I remind myself, again, why learning Chinese would be extremely difficult]

12:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I had a friend in grad school whose first language was English, but who also spoke French (I think she learned it growing up), Mandarin, Hungarian, Spanish, and a smattering of Russian. At one point she contemplated learning Persian. For fun. Of course, what's truly impressive about this list is how many language families it includes--at least four, by my count (I don't know where Persian gets classified).

Thank you for the definitions, too! I love them, especially the ones near the end.

1:09 PM  
Blogger Eric said...

Update on the customer service debacle:

Just as I was reading Carla's very sound advice on how to handle the situation (and to answer your question, Carla, I actually have no idea what I'm supposed to learn in Excel; I don't even know enough to know what I don't know about it)... I got an e-mail from the head of customer service at the company in question. Apparently my situation had been referred to her.

She wielded a tracking number: apparently UPS had in fact delivered the package after all. I'm sure she thinks this absolves them of everything, but the problem is that since they didn't put my name on the package, as any normal company would have, the mailroom didn't deliver it to me. Probably they threw it out, which isn't a great reflection on them, but basically it's their fault originally.

So I wrote her back and told her as much, and requested a replacement or a refund. And meanwhile my assistant is disputing the credit card charge, as she's the one who did the original order.

All of this comes under the heading of, "In case I didn't have enough nuisances in my life..."

4:40 PM  

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