Where Logic Meets Love

Ever Wonder Where Your Time Goes? I Found Some of It...

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

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Ever Wonder Where Your Time Goes? I Found Some of It... | Faith Permeating Life

If you added up all the time in my life that I have spent taking care of other people's mistakes, do you know what you would get?

A very frustrated Jessica.

Usually I just let this kind of stuff slide unless it's a major disaster or drags on for a long time.

But somehow I've managed to have a whole bunch of customer service problems hit me in the past few weeks, and it dawned on me how much time I waste chasing after crap like this.

Here is a sample:
  • I signed up for State Farm's new "Drive Safe and Save" program back in December because one of our cars only gets driven back and forth to the train station, so we could potentially save a lot of money. There were two options, In-Drive and OnStar, and I picked In-Drive because it was cheaper. Then a month passed. Then I got a letter in the mail saying I was enrolled in OnStar and needed to become an OnStar customer within 60 days. So I called State Farm (on my lunch break at work, because of course they're only open when I'm working) and told them the problem. They called me back and left a voicemail saying they'd switched me to In-Drive. That was 2 weeks ago and I still haven't received any information about In-Drive. Do I wait longer? Do I call again?
  • I got Mike a CarMD for Christmas and it turned out to be broken. So I called customer service and they said they'd mail me a shipping label so I could mail them the broken device. I waited a few weeks, and nothing came. I called again. It turned out they'd left our apartment number off our address. So they e-mailed me the shipping label, and I mailed the device. Two weeks ago I got an e-mail saying they'd sent me a new device, and here was the UPS tracking number. I tried to check it a few days later, but UPS' online tracking system was down. Then I tried again a few days later, and the tracking number didn't work at all, so I had no idea if they'd even sent it. Lo and behold, it arrived yesterday, sent via FedEx. Of course.
  • I ordered some food for our rats online last week. It was supposed to get here Thursday, so I was surprised when Saturday afternoon got here and it still hadn't arrived. Then I checked the shipment tracking information and found out it did get here on Thursday, they just delivered it to the leasing office and didn't bother leaving us a note or anything. And at this point, of course, the office was closed and I had to wait until Monday to pick it up, which is when I discovered the CarMD had also arrived.
  • Finally, I had called our leasing office Saturday morning with a maintenance request because the track fell off the side of one of our kitchen drawers. Somebody's supposed to be there at the time I called, but no one answered so I just left a message. Then I got home yesterday and there was a note from maintenance that said "Doors." I don't know what doors they "fixed," but our drawer is still very much broken. So I had to call again and leave another voicemail since by the time I got back to my apartment the office had closed again. Sigh.

This doesn't even include the crap that Mike and I have each had to deal with at work in the past week. Stuff that could be avoided if people would just do their jobs.

Don't get me wrong: I understand that everyone makes mistakes. It just seems like so much time could be saved -- on everyone's end -- if everyone took just 30 seconds and made a little extra effort.

To enroll the customer in the correct program.

To list the right shipping company.

To leave a "we delivered your package" note.

To make sure they understood the maintenance request.

Am I asking too much?

Do you feel like you waste a lot of time making up for other people's mistakes? Or am I just extraordinarily unlucky?


  1. You're preaching to the choir on this one sister. It seems like some days all I do is chase after people's mistakes and fix them. What could have taken two minutes on their part is now taking ten to fifteen on mine. Then people get grouchy when I'm not doing my job! Um... do yours and I can do mine and life will be a lot easier for all of us.

  2. @therabbitholeofalice
    Ah, that's so frustrating when other people are holding up your ability to do your job. Part of my work to-do list is "people I'm waiting to hear from" because I constantly have to follow up with people. I hate having to tell other people, "No, that's not done yet because I'm still waiting on..." I understand my project may not be someone's top priority, but way too often it's fallen off their radar completely within a few days!

  3. Yeh I definitely know what you mean. Unfortunately, I hate talking on the phone, especially to people I don't know. That means it's a bit hard for me to work up the nerve to even call and complain in the first place!

  4. @Lozzz123
    I also hate talking on the phone, though I've gotten more comfortable with it through forced practice at work. The alternative is to have Mike do it, which sometimes he will do, but he can be way too nice (which is how AT&T ended up causing us months and months of hell). There's also the trade-off of doing it while I'm at work vs. having Mike do it on his days off during the week. Being on hold eats up so much time!

  5. I certainly can relate to customer-service hassles, but I had to laugh at your lead sentence because my ability to clean up other people's mistakes has shaped my career! I worked as a proofreader for a while, I gained a reputation for accuracy when I worked with hilariously incoherent inventors, and I now work for a research study where a major part of my job has been searching out and correcting mistakes in data files. I just love fixing mistakes, for some reason.

    Anyway, your customer-service stories remind me of one my son asked me to tell again recently: A few years ago, I was eating in a SubWay restaurant where an employee was training a new guy. "Now you put the bread in here," she said. "Look to see what we're running low on and make more of it. Whoa, we sure don't need any more Italian Herb; somebody made a butt-load of that!" I thought what an inappropriate and unappealing term "butt-load" is for anything, but especially food, especially within the hearing of a customer eating Italian Herb bread. Minutes later, somebody came in and ordered a sandwich on Italian Herb. New guy stared into the bread cabinet and called to his trainer, "Which one is Italian Herb?" She yelled back to him from across the room, "THE ONE WE HAVE A BUTT-LOAD OF!!" Charming. Yet she seemed totally unaware of the sick look on the customer's face.

    What do you feed your rats? Have you ever had one get loose and had to catch it? I ask because there is some sort of animal in our house at night, digging up the potted plants and biting off their roots, and Daniel got a glimpse of it and thinks it's a rat. We want to send it away in a gentle yet firm manner. We bought a no-kill trap and have baited it with various foods, but it has ignored it so far.

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  7. @'Becca
    I actually laughed to myself when I wrote that because my manuscript editing work could definitely be described as cleaning up other people's mistakes :) But that is something I do willingly, and get paid to do!

    I admit that I have used the term "butt-load" on occasion, but not in relation to food, and definitely not in a situation where I was trying to be professional!

    We feed our rats pellets specially designed to have the nutrients they need, along with a handful of seed mix and some fruits and veggies. When we first got them Mike would let them run around the apartment and then spend like half an hour trying to catch them, so I put a stop to that. Now we're pretty good about grabbing them if they try to run out of their cage or something, plus they're a bit slower and easier to catch now that they're bigger/older :)

    I don't necessarily have any advice on catching a wild rat, but your comment makes me think of the book I recently finished reading, called Some We Love, Some We Hate, Some We Eat, about human-animal relationships. We tend to have extremely complex and illogical ways of thinking about animals--e.g., the same lab that has to have a board review and approve any experiment they want to do on their lab mice is entirely free to trap/poison/etc any "pest" mice they find in their offices, even if those pests are mice escaped from their own labs! So even though we have pet rats, I would not think badly of anyone for trying to get of "pest" rats in their home.

    I did read a book titled Rats some time ago by a guy who sat in alleys and observed wild rats, and he had a list of their most preferred to least preferred foods, but I can't remember off the top of my head what those were. Sorry!

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  9. Yeah, I have been very creeped out by the idea of a rat sneaking around our house (it may have been in my child's room while he was sleeping last night!!!) but a year ago when we had pet gerbils I thought they were so cute...but there was one time when I walked into the kitchen and went, "EEEEK! A MOUS--oh, it's George." As soon as I recognized him, my "rodent alarm" shut off. :-) Rationally speaking, a wild rat may carry diseases that a pet is known not to have. So yeah, we don't want to attempt to catch it with our bare hands.

    Our next strategy is to wash the trap (maybe it still smells too metallic?) and then bait it with some of the dirt and roots from one of the plants, since that is the one thing that has attracted the rat's interest....

  10. @'Becca
    Yup, that story is a perfect example of what this book was talking about! The very same animal can be a pet, food, or a pest, depending on things like where you live and whether you've named it :)

    I definitely don't suggest handling a wild rat... Thankfully our pet rats are very clean, despite what some people think!

  11. I'm with you on this one. I feel like I spend a few hours every week trying to fix other people's mistakes. Especially with our awful mail lady.

  12. @Kathy Schneider
    Sorry to hear you have an awful mail lady! I have found that many of our customer service issues have to do with mail in one way or another, whether it's not getting a package slip, like I mentioned, or packages just not being delivered even though one of us was home all day, or mail getting lost and coming to us too late to respond to something, or packages getting left in the wrong apartment building... I don't understand it!


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