Victory! Rogers did the right thing. Kinda……………
This victory, however, felt like the war in Afghanistan. Is there really a victory for any one if there are so many casualties?
It was an ugly battle. Rogers employed the old Chinese Art of War strategies: death by a thousand dropped calls, uncountable referrals to others, the ‘hold-and-listen-to-ads’ torture and, of course, the ‘Solly, me no speak Engrish!’ retort or sometimes the more subtle variation, “Right, I understand the problem. Now, just so I can put you through to the right person to fix this, what is your name again? Your ten digit phone number?…………..and your date of birth, postal code and mother’s maiden name?”
I got pretty frustrated and when asked my birthdate for the umpteenth time, I once replied, “January, 1948”. “Unh……..sir, I need the day of the month………..unh………?” “You do? You think it was just a lucky guess that I managed to pick the right postal code, phone number and 2 parts of my birthdate? Do you really think I am a cheater trying to get some advantage over you but you may have CAUGHT ME ON THE BIRTHDAY QUESTION!?” “I am sorry, sir, but we are required to……………“
I got one woman who was pretty high up. She came across as pretty confident, pretty arrogant, really, but my perspective may have been off. She was demanding the oft-repeated ‘fact check questions’ before deigning to speak to me. I interrupted. “Excuse me. Do you have the power to make decisions?” “Of course!” She snapped. “You are now at Senior Customer Care!”
“Wow! Does that mean you are senior to the other fools I have dealt with so far or does that mean you are a specialist in dealing with Geriatrics?”
“Never mind. Back to the decision making. Can you credit my account with a $5.00 credit?”
“Yes. Of course. This is the senior……….”
“Good. Because I want a credit please. Put $700.00 credit on my account. Read the file for the rationale. Thanks. It has been great talking with you. Bye!”
“Wait. I can’t authorize $700.00.”
“But you are senior something. You can make decisions. You can also, presumably read so just read the notes and make the decision. At this stage, I don’t care either way. Just make it. Thanks. Bye.”
“That is above my limit!”
Oh! What is your limit?”
“$100!!?? How senior is that? Is there an antiquities level somewhere? Do you have a pre-Neolithic department? Any Palaeontologists on staff?”
“Never mind. Send me as far up the chain as is needed to get a yes or no on $700.00. And, while you are at it, could I please have the address – e-mail will suffice – for your legal department?”
“I can’t give that information out, sir.”
“Why not? It is a department within the corporate offices. It is findable. The lawsuit has to be delivered somewhere. I know! If you give me your home address, I’ll mail it to you and then you can, while protecting their corporate address of course, deliver it yourself. How’s that?”
“Sir, I have to put you on hold.”
“If you put me on hold one more time, I will lose my mind. I’ll snap. That wouldn’t be good for senior care, now would it?”
“Senior Customer Care!”
“Whatever. Unless you can put me through to the president, his or her spouse or the corporate psychologist, I would prefer you to do this instead: make a decision yourself or pass my e-mail address on to someone who can. I am not going to talk on the phone any more. I am off to find the address of your legal department on the internet. Bye.
“Sir, I’ll have my manager call you.”
“How old is he?”
“Never mind. He is senior to you, I assume?
“Good! Make it so, number one!”
This guy called the next day. Stan. When we spoke he was impressed that my account with Rogers was older than he was. I said that alone should be enough for me to get my way. He agreed. That call took less than a minute. But the whole beginning-to-end farce took hours spread over six days.
Sal asked if it felt like a victory. “No. It felt more like a protracted case of the flu.”