Saturday, November 25

JCPenney: Customer Disservice

I had a blouse to return; tags intact, receipt accounted for. I had the kids in the double stroller (the part finally arrived, thankyouverymuch!) We were on the upper level of the mall. I entered the housewares section of JCP and approached the customer service kiosk. Two women employees were gabbing to themselves, and a much younger, disinterested looking male employee stood with his arms crossed, staring off into space.

"Hi," I said to the man. He looked at me expectantly. "Can I return something here if I bought it downstairs?"

He replied, "You bought it downstairs? You might have to take it back there."

I said, "I do?"

He said, "Yeah, you might have to."

I replied, "I might, or I do?" If I didn't have to find an elevator and navigate through the crowded mall, I didn't want to!

"I'll ask," he said, turning to the women, who were studiously ignoring us. Naturally he didn't want to interrupt them, so he stood there, waiting. I did, too, because I found their conversation so deliciously ironic . . .

They were comparing Inconsiderate Customer stories; namely, how much they hated it when customers were on their cell phones while they (the employees) were trying to ring up a purchase. "I told him, if you don't want to make your transaction now, then go to the end of the line!" said one to the other.

Never mind the employees who are chatting while a customer is waiting to complete a transaction . . .

(Yes, I was able to return the blouse right there.)

McDonald's: Doing Without

"I'd like a quarter pounder with NO cheese and NO bun, please."

Jared was giggling as we pulled up to the window. "This can't end well," he said.

I peeked inside the box. Yup . . . there was cheese.

Sent it back. This time they got it right, but here's what it looked like:

Sauce pretty much everywhere except on the meat . . . ah well.

Saturday, November 11

Whole Foods: Unholy

I called my local Whole Foods and asked for 2 cases of their store brand original rice milk set aside for me. I gave my name and said I'd be there within a couple of hours to purchase it. (Thing Two is following in her sister's food-allergic footsteps; I'm on the dairy/soy/wheat/egg/fish/nuts-free diet to accommodate the allergic breastfeeder, and my toddler is still drinking her weight in rice milk every day.)

The guy assured me they had it in stock, and said he'd put 2 cases aside with my name on them.

I showed up at Whole Foods less than two hours later. There was a woman restocking the shelf next to the rice milk. I approached her and explained, "I have some rice milk set aside for me in the back; who can get it for me?" She looked at me and said, "Rice milk," then pointed to the rice milk aisle. I tried again. "No, they put some aside two cases for me." She shook her head. Obviously English was not her first language. She pointed to two other employees nearby. "You ask other person."

I approached the other two employees. "Hi. I called earlier and had two cases of rice milk set aside in the back for me." One of them pointed to the rice milk aisle. "Rice milk is that way," he said.

I tried hard not to roll my eyes. "No, I TALKED to somebody and had them SET ASIDE some CASES of rice milk for me. They're in the back. Can you get them?" The other employee turned and called to a fourth employee nearby. "Hey Miguel!"

Miguel came over, and I repeated, "I have two cases of rice milk waiting for me in the back."

"Rice milk? There's some right there," he said, and pointed to the refrigerated rice milk on the shelf.

Ready to scream, I snapped, "NO. TWO CASES." I held up two fingers. "In the BACK." I pointed to the Employees' Only door, which was only a few feet away. "I called earlier and had them SET ASIDE for me. They have my NAME on them."

"Oh. Hold on." He disappeared. I waited.

A fifth employee emerged. "You're looking for rice milk?" he said.

"Yes," I replied, cautiously.

"Let's go down here," he said, and began leading the way to the rice milk aisle.

"CASES," I managed to say.

"Yeah," he said, and kept walking.

I humored him. We arrived in the rice milk aisle. There was one case of 365 brand Original stacked in the corner. He put it in my cart and then looked around helplessly. There were several boxes on the shelf, but no more cases. He grabbed a case of Vanilla, opened it, dumped the boxes on the floor, and began filling the empty cardboard case with Original rice milk from the shelf.

When he was halfway through, a sixth employee approached us, pushing a cart with . . . two cases of rice milk on it. On those cases was written my name and the words "2:00 p.m. pickup."

SO glad I called ahead to save myself some trouble.

Curse of the Insurance Company

This is a first. I mean, I realize I'm cursed, but this took on a whole new dimension.

I received a letter in the mail from my insurance company. They had been trying to contact me at XXX-XXX-XXXX phone number regarding a program they have (they send newsletters and offer phone support for people diagnosed with various conditions.) The letter made no mention of what condition they were seeking to support me in having. And incidentally, the phone number they had was wrong, which explains why they couldn't reach me. Having no interest in this program, I didn't seek to correct them.

A couple weeks later I received a phone call from them. Apparently they found my phone number all by themselves. The woman informed me that a person diagnosed with my condition could benefit from their support program. I asked, "What condition?" She replied, "Lower back pain."

"Uh, I don't have lower back pain," I replied.

"You don't?" she said.

"No. And since I received a notice saying you've been trying to reach me at the wrong phone number, I suspect you have me mixed up with someone else entirely. Please remove me from your list."

She did. Or so she claimed. A week later I got another phone call from the same program. I told that rep I do not suffer from lower back pain, and asked not to be contacted again. Naturally, a third person called me a few days later; I repeated my spiel, and she confirmed I would no longer be contacted.

Yesterday I was in the shower with my toddler. The baby was in her bouncy seat in the bathroom. She started to fuss, so I leaned over to replace her binky.

My back went into a spasm, and 24 hours later I am still in horrid pain, unable to bend over without a muscle spasm.

NOW I suffer from Lower Back Pain.

I'm cursed.