There is no lesson in the second kick of the mule.
Why is that fundamental truth so hard to accept?
Today, I spent 50 minutes on the wireless with AT&T, trying to find the equipment that was supposed to arrive at our house yesterday, so that we could initiate our new fiber optic internet and landline service. I just knew, last week, when I placed the order with Judy, that things were certain to go awry. Without exploring the details, I’ll stipulate that the last attempt to establish a business relationship with AT&T, more than 8 years ago, was so frustrating, so screwed up, and so difficult to untangle that I swore never again to subject myself to their vast incompetence.
Today, when I called, a gentleman named Paul answered, and after the obligatory rigmarole about my identity, we got down to business. Where was the equipment that I ordered last Wednesday, that supposed to arrive yesterday, for the service that was turned on last night? He didn’t know, but asked that I give him 2 or 3 minutes to track it down. Sure, I said, before hanging up 25 minutes later, having never heard another peep from Paul.
The second call landed me in the helping hands of Elizabeth. After a second bit of rigmarole about my identity, we got down to business. Where was the equipment that I ordered last Wednesday, that supposed to arrive yesterday, for the service that was turned on last night? She didn’t know, but asked that I give her 2 or 3 minutes to track it down. Sure, I said, but don’t treat me like Paul, or Mt. St. Helen might erupt again. Just saying.
5 minutes later, Elizabeth returned with the bad news. The order was supposed to have arrived yesterday, but since it had not, she was going to call UPS, put the delivery on hold, and re-send the equipment. Whoa, said I; let’s give UPS a chance to deliver the equipment this afternoon. Just give me the tracking number and I will not bother your department again. My last problem with you folks started like this, with multiple shipments, lost shipments, return authorizations not received, et cetera. I do not want to go there. Well, she said, I don’t have the tracking number, but let me put you on hold and I’ll get it from the shipping department.
5 minutes later, Elizabeth returned with the bad news. The order had not, in fact, shipped. She didn’t know why, but if I could hold just a little bit longer, she would take the matter up with her supervisor.
10 minutes later, Elizabeth returned with new information. A new order had been placed, and they were shipping it out via 2 day UPS, at no cost to me (?), with arrival on the 12th. Elizabeth, I asked, if it ships today, via 2 days UPS, then it will arrive on Thursday, the 11th, right? Well, she said, it won’t actually ship until tomorrow. I decided not to press the girl, who was obviously struggling with the entire process, thanked her for her help, and asked her to tell Paul to suck it…….
Before I could refill my coffee cup, I received an email from my friends at AT&T confirming my order. It looked exactly like the email I received last week, and look how reliable that was. But something caught my eye, and a closer examination of the email revealed a listing of my account number, order number, and telephone number. Only problem was that the phone number on this email doesn’t match the phone number on the first email.
I can’t wait to have to untangle this mess – two telephone numbers, two bills, different service dates, and God knows what else.
What else could possibly go wrong?