Customer Disservice

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There are philosophers who say, “There are no coincidences” and that “Everything happens for a reason.” You’ve met them or you will meet them at your next holiday party. You’ll spot them easily. They console people by saying that it was the departed’s time. That they shouldn’t worry about that job, partner, situation they’re struggling with because “when God closes a door, He opens a window.”

Or my personal favorite kick-in-the-teeth platitude: “It just wasn’t meant to be.”

I’m not dismissing this outright. Sometimes there is a cause and effect (e.g., not a coincidence). If you drink enough alcohol, you will get drunk. It happened for a reason, and the reason is you. And if you get drunk, it’s not God’s fault or meant to be when you call up that old boyfriend or girlfriend and say something so stupid that you decimate the relationship completely. And not just for yourself, but for your children and theirs.

YA Author Tom Hoover on Everything Happens for a ReasonHow many feuds and wars started with drunk dialing? Or drunk correspondence, depending on the technology. And I am personally convinced that customer service call centers are definitely the fault of someone’s low alcohol tolerance and an open bar. Some executive deep in his cups picks his head up off the table and says,

“Wait, wait, wait! I got it! Let’s not waste our time dealing with all those unhappy customers. Let’s hire another company to do it for us. And, oh, oh, oh, let’s look at call centers in other countries. We can pay ’em less and if we say their names are Steve or Mary or whatnot, nobody’ll know the different. We’ll be rich!”

And the executive’s buddies, who’re just as drunk as he (or she) is, cheer and clap him/her on the back and order another round. The difference between that person and me is that they woke up with a hangover, and I had the following conversation:


Phone: Ring! Ring! (That’s right. Sometimes the customer service people call you. That’s what happens when you use an online pharmacy.)

CS Rep: Hello. I need to speak with Tune Hover for only a few minutes.

Me: (already exasperated) Tom Hoover.

CS Rep: Oh. I am so sorry. Tom Yuvah.

Me: (It’s as close as I’m gonna get) Tom is fine.

CS Rep: Okay, Tom, thank you. I am (this is a several-minute–long scripted dialog to protect the drunken executive that started all this as well as placate his/her legal team). Do you have any questions?

Me: You said this would only take a few minutes?

CS Rep: Yes. Thank you. I need you to verify your date of birth.

Me: If you don’t know it’s me, why are you talking to me now?

CS Rep: I’m sorry?

Me: Never mind. (I give her my birthday.)

CS Rep: That’s correct.

Me: I know it’s correct. It’s my birthday.

CS Rep: I’m sorry?

Me: Why are you calling me?

CS Rep: We have in our records that you were taking Drug X in June. (Side note: it’s November.) Are you still taking this medication?

Me: My doctor prescribed something else. So, no.

CS Rep: Did your physician discontinue the medication?

Me: (this call has now been going on for eternity) I just told you … YES!

CS Rep: Thank you for that information. Do you have any other questions?

Me: I didn’t have any questions to begin with. You called me.

CS Rep: (launches into a long list of scripted directions and contingencies that I hang up in the middle of)


See? Only a drunk would create such a nightmare. Worse still, she called back about another medication. Needless to say, I no longer use this online pharmacy.

And what’s even worse? I didn’t make the conversation up.

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