Efficiency, Efficiency

I started the New Year off by having your typical nine-day cold in three days.

See, one of my New Year's resolutions is to be more efficient. Because it's really not fair that my husband is the lone defense of our family when it seems like everyone in the world is out to steal our money. For example, one YEAR ago, we sold my husband's car before we moved to New York. That car was equipped with Satellite radio (which, dudes, is so awesome) but the receiver went with the car so I canceled the service. So far, so good.

In November, for some reason, the satellite radio service started charging us again.

Which, um...what?

My husband noticed the charge on my credit card and asked if I would call to resolve it. (See, if I cared were more efficient, I would have noticed it first.) So, I, who hate these sort of calls worse than anything, made the call.

Naturally, I had this whole conversation with this woman from some other country where her job was outsourced and whose first language was not, I repeat NOT, English.

I explain laboriously.

"So, you wish to cancel your membership?" she asks.

"No, the membership is already canceled," I say patiently.

"Did you receive a three month credit?"

"Well, yes when I first subscribed to the service. But, see, I canceled the service when we sold the car."

"So, you have sold the car?"

"Yes. ONE YEAR AGO, we sold the car."

"Let me pull up your account."

"Yeah, good call."

"I see here that you canceled the service in March."

"Yes." (There was a little lag time due to me not having a resolution to be more efficient LAST year.) (Oh, just...hush. Hush UP, now.)

"Then I don't understand why you are being charged now."


"Let me put you on hold while I find a supervisor."

"Oh. Great."

So, I'm on interminable hold (and WHY, OH, WHY must there always be some Peter Cetera song when one is on hold?? WHY? Wait, I know why! Because I've been very bad and this is HELL!) until the woman comes back to tell me that I will hear from a dispute resolution person within 72 hours.

Note how I am not holding my breath.

ANYWAY, this is but one paltry example of the many ways in which we Coopers have to stay on top of things in order to have money for yarn our children's college funds. (Don't get me started on how much easier my life would be if people just DID THEIR JOBS so that we wouldn't have to do it for them because that is EXACTLY why people don't invite me to parties anymore.) So, I resolved to be of more help to my husband who HAS a really big job, thankyouverymuch, and doesn't really have time to fight with the AT&T people every single freaking month over our cell phone bill.

So you can see why, with all I have to do making phone calls I absolutely hate to make, why I didn't have time to get sick. I mean, our Austin house sold in October and we just discovered that the home insurance company there never processed the policy cancellation and they owe us money. I need to be able to breathe to call and fight with them, right? So, when the first signs of my impending cold appeared, I started POUNDING Zinc. Dudes, it's like a MIRACLE drug! I'm serious --remember how sick I was with my last cold? I was on the couch for a solid week. But this time, it's only three days later and I am well enough to start working on my New Year's resolutions--working out and being more efficient managing our money and running household errands, planning menus and keeping the laundry from taking over and... and... an...

Wait a minute. I'm feeling a little stuffed up and hack...hack... I may need some time on the couch... no, y'all, seriously.


Unknown said…
i hate making those calls too, navigating through the "if you want sardines for lunch press 1" phone system...explaining and re-explainiang...arrggghh
Ei said…
I had one of those situations recently. I found it easiest to cancel the credit card.

Hugs, sorry Barb.
I hate those calls! So I leave them to Larry.
MadMad said…
UGH! I got all hot and bothered just READING your post. On the handy other hand, sometimes I really want to yell at someone, so I save up those calls for then. Save is a euphemism, too, actually, since I don't often go more than an hour or so without needing to yell at someone...
Marion Gropen said…
Ah, yes. THOSE calls.

In an earlier portion of my life, it was my duty to make those sorts of calls for an entire company, when (well, if, but it was usually WHEN) my subordinates couldn't get satisfaction.

I have a couple of suggestions. First, write them a very stiff little note, with lots of bullet points and back up documentation. Paper leaves a trail. (And if the first note doesn't bring a response, cc someone WAAAY up the food chain.)

Second, assume that the person on the other end is NOT listening/reading. They're hearing or seeing exactly what they expect to hear and exactly what the other thousands of people have said, whether or not that applies to you.

Your first task is to make him or her PAY ATTENTION and take you seriously.

Good luck with this mission if you decide to accept it. This tape will self-destruct in 10 seconds. . . . 9,8,7 . . . .
Miri said…
Oh my word. I spent my entire day on the phone with people from another country who thought the notes that a "plant" was down meant there were green and growing things in the way of my phone lines.

I blogged a tiny bit about it, but I have to say, you said it better.

Way to go, Barb. Fight the fight! With efficiency! And then hang up to blog another day!
Mary Ellen said…
Wow. I need to learn to be more like you. I often can take a 7 day cold and turn it into 6 weeks of pneumonia.

But I can ROCK the dispute phone calls. I (almost) always win!
Stefanie said…
After we sold our big black Chevy suburban, for years afterward we got parking tickets in the mail that the new owners were racking up. You're not the only one with car, money, and new owner troubles. ;)
Mrs. G. said…
I claim to be a feminist, but I refer to these as Man Calls.

I feel for you.
Mrs.Q said…
Yep. Those calls suck. I feel for you. I might even have a glass of wine on your behalf. Just, you know, for the extra moral support. I'm good that way.

Good luck!
Anonymous said…
Oh, don't you just love it? I find myself behaving quite badly with these people. I can't help it. Reminds me... I have a call to make...
Kathy Ireland said…
Well, you could be working as a slave, like I am, and have to not only make these calls for yourself, but for 5 other STUPID men!

Not that I'm bitter.

I love my job, I love my job...
I especially hate the calls that go, "We could never possibly release that information/money/etc., because YOUR NAME IS NOT ON THE ACCOUNT." I'd feel uniquely stupid when this happens but I always make the call at my husband's behest and you'd think that, because he was the one that opened the account in the first place, he'd know that he neglected to put my name on it.