Reasonable Man

“No, you didn’t. It says right here eight to 15 days.”

“But that’s wrong. Your preparer must have hit the wrong key.”

“Well, it’s already in the computer, nothing we can do now. Sorry. We’ll call when it is ready.”

And with that, he hung up.

Let The Games Begin

Obviously, this young man didn’t know me very well. I called him back and said, “We must have gotten cut off.”

Nervously, he replied, “I guess so.”

As quietly and firmly as I could, I said, “Are you telling me you have done all you can do?”


“May I have the manager, please?”

“That’s me.”

“May I have the proper spelling of your name and the district office number, please?”

He obliged.

I said, “Thank you” and hung up.

District Office Shenanigans

Guess what I got at the district office for four straight hours?

Yep–voicemail. I left three messages that went unreturned.

Undeterred, I pulled up the Web site and found the main customer service office headquarters. A nice woman answered the phone. I explained the dilemma, but she also said her hands were tied. I said, “Thank you” and asked to speak to the manager.

The manager came on the line and was very curt. At one point she said, “Sir, you should have never signed the papers if you didn’t know what they said.”

“I do know what they said.”

“Then you should have a two-day turnaround paper in your hand and you don’t, it’s an eight to 15 day paper!”

Calmly and quietly and firmly, “No, it’s not.”

“It’s not?”

“No, I have it right here. She gave me the right paper but must have hit the wrong box on the computer.”

“Well, my hands are tied; we can’t help you any further. Sorry.”

I paused and sighed and delivered this:

“Miss, I know you have a job to do, and I know getting me off the line is part of that job. I also know you have options a, b, c to choose from to pacify me. I am calling to tell you this is letter “d”. To solve my problem you will need to step out of the box and come up with a unique solution. You can hang up and walk away, thinking you dealt with it, but really you just avoided it. So we can conclude this conversation, and I’ll go on my merry way, but you must know I have investments with your company that I will be pulling out as soon as possible, and I will tell anyone who asks that this company is terrible to deal with. I refuse to shoot the messenger, miss, but I will be damned if I won’t give you a message to send back.”

“We would like to offer you a $100 gift certificate towards your next business with us.”

I laughed quietly.

“Do you think I would actually accept that? I’ll never do business with you again. Save yourself the stamp. I apologize for being so direct, but in all honesty, you were no more help than your clerk. I would think that a company with such a high profile would have people at the top who can construct creative solutions, not read from a book. Good luck to you. By the way, I attempted to work this out at a local level, but your district manager is not in today and has not returned my calls all morning.”

“Sir, this is our busiest time.”

“It’s supposed to be. This is your business. If you are too busy at this time of year, your planning department should be collectively fired. I doubt if I will ever look at another commercial for your company without laughing out loud. Your voice mail said, “’This call may be monitored for quality control.’ I beg you, if it has been taped, please play it for your top people. All I asked for was what you advertised and what I had a right to expect. Thanks for meeting none of my expectations.”

And I hung up.

An hour later my phone rang. It was the fellow from the local office we had begun this search with. He was very nice now. He told me the company would send my check within 24 hours. “I’m awfully sorry, Ron.”

“It’s OK, Dick, you found a solution and I am grateful.”

“Well, you were really mad before.”

“No. I was really firm. I just challenged you to do your job beyond the routine pat answers, right?”

“Well, yes, I guess so.”

“Dick, if I called ranting and foaming at the mouth, what good would that serve? We had a problem. We pursued the path and found a solution. Problem solved, I’ll be in tomorrow at 6 p.m., if that’s okay?”

“That would be fine, and thanks for giving us a chance to rectify this.”

“You’re welcome, and I’ll see you tomorrow.”

When we went in the next day, we were greeted warmly and received our check without conflict. I haven’t decided if we’ll be back yet next year, but no need to burn that bridge now, in case I need that same option next year. I also received my $100 discount coupon for next year, even though I refused it over the phone.

Lessons Learned

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