The world needs a simple plan for comprehensive restructuring. I’m sure one exists, but if implementation is accompanied by a degree of complexity equal to my sister’s difficulty in changing from Cingular to Verizon Wireless, we’re dooooooomed!
See Jan Curran Events (link over there )
I’ve had similar experiences with user-unfriendly “service” based organizations. In August of 1984 I stopped into a McDonald’s in Richland Washington for the singular purpose (non-cellular) of buying an ice cream sundae. They had two flavors: chocolate and caramel. For your money, you received a big blob of vanilla ice cream covered with TWO PUMPS of syrup. I paid my money, and asked for ONE PUMP of chocolate and ONE PUMP of caramel. “I can’t do that,” said the waitress, trembling at the very thought. “Yes you can, it’s simple.” I demonstrated the divine art of pumping the lever. “No, I mean I am forbidden by corporate policy. I am not allowed to MIX SAUCES.” I looked around furtively. “Shhhhhh We are alone I am the only customer. I’ll never tell. I’m sure they don’t do a sauce audit measured by pumps — no one will know.” She still refused. “OK, I’ll pay you twenty-five cents extra for one pump of caramel on a chocolate sundae, or one pump of chocolate on a caramel sundae.” Beads of perspiration broke out on her already broken out forehead. “Okay, but I’m not putting the sauce directly on the ice cream — I’ll put it on a little piece of plastic and YOU put it on. I’m not taking responsibility for the sauce being on the ice cream” Damn! This woman seems obsessed with the paranoid delusion that Ronald is not clowning around when it comes to his recent edict: Mix the Sauces; File for Unemployment. She pumps the caramel onto an inverted plastic cup top, and leaves it to me to get the goo onto the ice cream. So much for “we do it all for you.”
This same commitment to the diverse needs of an ever evolving customer base is best exemplified by AOL — they only stopped sending me a bill for $80 after I sent them an invoice for $5,000 — my standard fee for willful misrepresentation by a customer service representative.
My sister’s mind bending adventure with the pretzel logic of Cingular Cellular is exceeded only by my current WWE Title match with Capitol One — even a second grader knows $1,050 minus $700 does not equal $2,500. They found their error once, apologized and said “it will never happen again.” Damn right. Last week they called about the $2500 I have never owed them — when was I going to pay it? NEVER!! Now, how much can I charge THEM? My advice to my sister’s frustration with Cingular may not align with the world’s best legal advice, but I find it consistently effective: Send them an invoice for $5,000 for each individual occurrence of “Screwing with a customer’s right to peaceful enjoyment of goods and services.” (As with any such course of action, consult your doctor, psychiatrist, therapist, and Rabbi)