Where Logic Meets Love

Incompetent Service

Friday, May 21, 2010

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Incompetent Service | Faith Permeating Life
Yesterday was a huge headache.

It began the day before, when I was working at home and had pretty much nothing to do the entire day except order some boards from a hardware store and have them cut it half and delivered to one of the buildings on our campus Friday morning. Even though this is nothing against my work, it involves my work, so I'll refrain from telling you exactly which hardware store decide to try to make my head explode. In any case, that was my task for the day.

I didn't call the store until around 3:30 because I was waiting for an e-mail with my boss's purchasing card information, which I finally got around that time. I called and explained what I needed to buy, and was transferred to the Millwork department. This began my conversation with Marco.

The first thing Marco asked for was my phone number. This was more complicated than he probably anticipated, because I was calling on my cell phone from home, which I didn't really want in their records, but when the guys came to deliver the boards on Friday they were going to have to call a different person's office number to have him come down and get the boards.

I attempted to explain this to him, and apparently it confused him, so first I gave him my cell phone number. This appeared to be the right decision, because he said he wasn't at his desk and needed to call me back, and hung up.

He called back and took down my name, which I spelled very carefully for him, what I was ordering, and my office phone number. Again I tried to explain that they were going to be delivered to a different person in a different building, but he was bound and determined to fill out the form on his computer screen in the right order, with no extra information.


I started to tell him where I wanted the boards delivered, and he interrupted and said no, he needed my address, to put in his system. I gave him my work address.

Eventually I got him to put somewhere on the order the name and phone number of the person the boards were being delivered to. Then he told me how much the delivery charge was going to be.

"Did I tell you where they were going to be delivered?" I asked, knowing I hadn't.

He repeated my work address back to me.

I explained for the third -- at least -- time that the boards were not being delivered to me, and gave him the delivery address.

Finally, I gave him the purchasing card information. Then I asked him to repeat back to me the details of the order, which he did. I hung up, relieved, and e-mailed my coworkers to say that the boards would be delivered Friday morning.

Around 5:30pm, I got a call on my cell phone from Marco. The card was a debit card, he said, and the computer was telling him he had to swipe the physical card. Knowing that a coworker had ordered the same boards from the same store over the phone with a purchasing card from the same school, I said that couldn't be right, and that I would have to call him back the next morning when I was in the office. I thought maybe there was some step I was missing. He said OK.

The next morning, it was around 9:15am, and my coworker hadn't come in yet. I had a 10am meeting, so I decided to go ahead and see if I could get it straightened out myself. I called the store and asked for Marco.

"Marco's not in today." Of course he's not.

I got transferred to Millwork, where I spoke with another person, named Edwin. Edwin agreed that that didn't make sense about the card. He tried to look up my order by my name. No order on record. Fabulous. He asked for my phone number. I took a lucky guess which of the three to give him and gave him my office number. Found it -- my name had been spelled wrong.

For some reason, Edwin decided that the only way to make this work was to take my entire order over again. He kept saying he needed to do it "as a phone order," as if my order the day before hadn't been a phone order. So I dutifully gave him the item information, the instructions, the multiple phone numbers and addresses, the credit card information, the billing address -- everything I'd given Marco the day before. He said he'd call me right back to make sure the card worked.

This effectively chained me to my desk for the next 15 minutes, afraid to go do the other work I needed to do in case I missed his call before my 10am meeting. Finally, he called me back to say the card worked fine. He would call me back when the purchase went through. Um--?? Is that different somehow? I said OK and hung up again.

At this point, I saw that my coworker had come in, and since her desk is within earshot of my phone, I figured it would be safe to go talk to her.

She confirmed that she'd ordered from that same store using a purchasing card with no problems. Then she informed me that Accounting had sent back all her paperwork from her purchase because she hadn't gotten the tax taken off, so she had to fax them our tax exempt letter plus her receipts to get a refund. She hadn't been able to get the fax machine to work, which is why she hadn't told me about it before now. She had been planning to come in that morning and use a different fax machine in our buildling.

So she said I needed to call them back, tell them about our tax exempt status, tell them I was faxing over a letter, then ask to be transferred to Customer Service and speak to the person she was talking to yesterday to follow up on her order and get the refunds.

As I was attempting to process this, my phone rang. Edwin said the payment had gone through. I told him that I'd just found out I needed to have the tax taken off the purchases. He put me on hold. Then he said I needed to fax over the letter and then call and speak to someone in Customer Service (not the same person my coworker had spoken to). I asked if the fax number I had -- the one my coworker had tried -- was correct, and read it to him: XXX3. He said no, that fax machine was broken, he would call me back and tell me which number to fax it to.

I told my coworker that no wonder the fax hadn't gone through -- their machine was broken. Then Edwin called me back. No, he said, that was their only fax machine and it was working. Use that number. He hung up.

I tried four times to fax the letter and receipts. No luck. The fax machine helpfully printed out a sheet of paper every time, telling me that my fax had Failed. I got back to my desk just as Edwin called to ask if I'd faxed the information yet.

I told him the fax wouldn't go through. He said oh, they'd already canceled my order, because they had to put it in again from the beginning with the tax exempt status. I told him I had to go to a meeting, but would be back around 1pm and would try a different fax machine. So I left for my meeting knowing that we were supposed to have six boards delivered the next morning and I had no order in their system.

I got back around 1:30pm and went down to use the other fax machine. Tried twice. Nothing. I came back upstairs to tell my coworker, who pointed out that on the fax she'd received from that store had come from XXX9, not XXX3. I tried faxing to that number, and it went through.

I called the store back and got connected to my contact in Customer Service. She asked if I'd faxed to XXX3. I said I tried six times on two different fax machines and it hadn't worked, but that the fax we'd received from them had come from XXX9 and so I'd tried faxing it there.

"Hold on, let me call down there," she said. I was put on hold.

After a good five minutes, someone else picked up the phone and asked if they could help me. (Don't you hate that, when you're put on hold forever and then someone else picks up and treats you like a new call?)

I explained who I was waiting for, and she said, "Oh, she said to tell you to fax it to XXX1."

So much for only having one fax machine.

I picked up the papers and went to fax them for the eighth time. They went through. I prayed to God and called the store back. Yes, they had received the letter and would fax me a receipt.

My coworker then called to try to straighten out her order, and after a while, the store faxed over all of our receipts. The paper my coworker handed me had two receipts on it, one of which had tax added, but at that point my brain was too mush to try to figure out whose was whose and which were old or new or whatever. I will have to look at it again on Monday and call them back if they did, indeed, add tax to my order. That will be thrilling. [Update: They did.]

All of this probably doesn't even rival the next two hours my coworker spent on the phone with the other area store she'd ordered from. (She'd ordered from two because one told her they had more of the product in stock and then it turned out they didn't have enough.) They didn't want to let her fax the tax exempt letter, but insisted she had to physically come into the store with it, that that was "policy," even though the first store apparently didn't have this policy. After speaking with multiple people, she ended up faxing them some combination of work ID/letterhead/etc to prove that she did indeed work there and didn't just steal their tax exempt letter.

The boards were supposed to be delivered this morning, according to everything that any of the people I'd talked to had told me, but I called into my work voicemail and had a message that they would be delivered between 2pm and 6pm. Because I'm sure that the guy they're delivering them to has nothing better to do on a Friday afternoon than sit around and wait for six freaking boards to be delivered.


Let's hope I don't get into work on Monday and find out the boards were delivered uncut...

1 comment:

  1. Ugh that sounds like an awful experience. I hope everything is okay on Monday when you get to work!


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