Thursday, August 7, 2008

I Love Irony. But Cooooome Ooooon!

You call the local pizzeria. Your phone number shows on their Caller ID, and they ask if you want "The Usual." (Large veggie, hold the onions, double eggplant.) Affirmative, it arrives at your front door in 20 minutes.

Ditto, the Great Wall of China. Tofu with broccoli. And free veggie eggrolls.

You call the Automated Customer Service Number on the back of your credit card to get your balance. Which you will pay off in full, because you just had a GREAT yard sale. It recognizes your number, asks for the corresponding Zip Code, and gives you the info you seek.

The pharmacy recognizes your number, and asks you which of your prescriptions you would like to refill (and they offer to call your doc for expired 'scrips, to boot.)

The county tax info line knows exactly who you are based on your phone number. They REALLY want your money, and plug you into their "Pay Your Tax Bill On-Line" page immediately.

Then, you call the Local Phone Company. To report "buzzing" on your line. You are connected to a robot, who asks you to input your phone number. The phone number you have with the FREAKING PHONE COMPANY. And, then, the robot informs you, you MIGHT (will) have to input the number again down the line, "In order to provide outstanding Customer Service."

You re-enter your number, after selecting the option of "noise on the line."

The "noise on the line" department is closed, but they will respond the next business day.

You are asked to input the number where you can be reached. Hello, by the Phone Company. Who knows full well where you can be reached. Forget that they also provide your cell service, and your Internet.

Maybe these folks could learn something by ordering takeout.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Tax Holiday. Not Exactly a Walk in the Park.

Something - indeed, several things - have compelled me to purchase a laptop computer:

A) I have this overwhelming urge to join (after 8 years) the 21st century;

B) The husband wants my desktop for his office;

C) I live a carefree (ha) and nomadic (true, that) life;

D) I love PURPLE! There is a purple laptop out there!; and

E) This weekend is the GA "Tax Holiday."

How could I resist? So I spend half the afternoon researching options and talking to Geek Son via phone. I wait on "Live Chat" with Dell for 45 minutes to find out that tax holiday applies on line. I get an on-line price; with a 7 to 10 day shipping delay.

Hubby really NEEDS the desktop, to read Yahoo Sports and order Todd Snider CDs via Amazon. 7 to 10 days is a long time. And I REALLY want the purple laptop... so I head to the local Big Box Store, where they are handing out numbers to LOOK at the laptops, because it is a Tax Holiday.

I get to the front of the line, where the "Specialist" tells me they do not carry what I want. They can't order it, because it isn't even on their website.

I look at some other things with the "Specialist", who tells me (sotto voce) that the computer I am looking at on line is superior to what she has.

I check out two other stores who do not carry on-line model, either. And they are not even giving out numbers, so they look like a Chinese subway at rush hour. That reminds me to

Order Chinese food.

I eat tofu while Geek son comes by to see what I am planning to order.

I get approval from Geek son, except for the Windows Vista operating system, which is more despicable than beets. You might have your own parameter, but for me, it doesn't get worse than beets.

Click to buy. Go through verrrrrrry slow checkout.

Get confirmation of order from Dell.

Get call from Bank, who assumes that purchase is fraudulent because I used an old (but still valid) credit card number - even though the old card is not expired, and the old card was used successfully just hours ago to buy linen pants (on sale). I am informed that I must call Dell with new number.

I get email from Dell because card was rejected.

I call Dell Customer Service to give them the new number. I talk to a nice Indian woman (Rani) who says "the system is down, call back in two hours."

I e-mail Dell. Get response that says to call Credit Card Services.

I call Credit Card Services, which is closed until 10 AM Monday.

I get email from Dell asking whether to re-run old card.

I call the Bank to get authorization to re-run, using the old number.

I am told that old number was eliminated when new cards were activated. Even though old cards are not yet expired.

I ask to speak to supervisor.

I get transferred to "Authorization."

I get accidentally transferred to "Customer Service."

I explain my story to a person who says that the old number is not eliminated, and is still OK for 90 days.

I get fraud alert lifted.

I e-mail Dell to tell them to re-run old number.

I pray.

I fix drink. Stiff drink.

Holidays are not for the feint of heart.