Thursday, September 25, 2008

Dear, you REALLY suck!!!!

Two friends and I ordered a functional and oh-so-fashionable leather cross-body bag from a Canadian company called Roots as a birthday present for another friend.  I went to the Roots store to buy the bag first, but they had none in stock, so I went home and ordered it online.  I ordered it on September 5th, a Friday, in the evening.  I paid for standard shipping, as I believed a week and a half was enough time to get it to her before her birthday celebration.  Imagine my surprise when I got a call--I think it was on the following Monday--from a Roots employee--let's just call her Wanda--asking me to confirm the same information I had entered online three days prior.  My name.  My address.  The recipient's name and address, etc.  All the information they already had.  And had had for THREE days.   I thought that was the whole point of online ordering--that I'd never have to speak to a human being at the company. Then Wanda told me that she was now able to "release" my order.  "So it will ship out today?"  I asked.  She told me it would and that delivery time was estimated at 3-5 days.  I reminded her that this was a gift, and to make sure that there was no price or receipt in the box.  She assured me that this would be taken care of.  15 minutes later, after changing my mind about the shipping method, I called back.  "I'd like to change this to expedited shipping," I explained.  I was told it was too late--once the order had been released, the shipping method could not be changed.  So regular shipping it was.  I received an order confirmation by email and waited to receive a shipping confirmation as the email said I would.  I waited.  And waited.

And waited.  Then one of my friends who was going in on the gift started calling me.  Daily.  "She still hasn't received it."  "When did they say it was going to be delivered?" "Call them and find out."  On Thursday, the 18th, my friend left me about a 4 minute voicemail--our mutual friend--the one who was to receive the gift--had received a backpack--a nylon backpack with the Canadian flag on it.   A clearance, final sale, marked-down-to-$39.95 nylon backpack with the Canadian flag on it.  Not that there's anything wrong with that.  But it certainly wasn't the chocolate brown leather cross-body bag that three of us had sent her.  And it was received almost 2 full weeks after I had ordered online.  Happy Birthday, Pammie!  On Thursday, the 18th, I called the Roots Customer Service number, which I would advise them to rename the Roots Customer Complaint number, because there isn't a lot of service going on there.  My friend got on the phone with me.  We eventually spoke to Jackie, some sort of supervisor, who told us that standard shipping to the US from Canada was 15 days.  I told her that not only did the website not indicate that--if it had I never would have chosen standard shipping--but that Wanda had told me delivery time was 3-5 days.  "Don't worry," said our new friend Jackie--"we want to get this resolved.  Don't worry about your friend shipping back the backpack--she can keep it and do whatever she wants with it.  We just need to get the correct order to your friend.  I will check into this and make sure we have the cross-body bag and I will call you back tomorrow to tell you what is going on. "  Tomorrow, which was last Friday, came and went.  No call.  I called Jackie on Monday--"You never called me back on Friday and you told me you would," I said.  "No," she countered, "I told you someone would call you back on Friday."  "OK," I paused, "well no one did."  "I apologize for that," Jackie said,  "I sent an email and am waiting for a response."  "Can't you just pick up the phone and actually speak to someone at your company?" I asked.  "No," she replied, "we do everything by email.  I understand your frustration."  I don't think you do, Jack.  Between that conversation and now, I have spoken to Audrey, Robert, and Jackie, who I think is now avoiding my calls.  They all understand my frustration.  They all apologize for the problem.  But somehow, the folks at can't seem to get this problem resolved.  And they've already charged my credit card for the order they can't manage to fulfill.  After I blasted Jackie on Tuesday for not calling me back yet AGAIN when she said she would--for me having to call three times that day to get in touch with her--so she could tell me she still knew nothing --(Guess what, Jackie--I already figured that out), she called me twice yesterday to tell me that......she still had no response from whomever she was emailing at the same company.  So I very politely told her that because fixing this problem seemed to be beyond her, to please have her supervisor call me back the next day.  So, Susie, wherever you are, I'm here, I'm waiting for your call, and I know that you (and all your Roots pals)  are SO sorry for this mess and that you understand my frustration.  Thanks.   That makes me feel MUCH better.  Not.  

The most humorous part of all this is that everyone I speak to at Roots ends every call with "Is there anything else I can help you with?  Thank you for calling"  Yes, you can help me--just get the bag I ordered to my friend.  That would be great.

This isn't over.  It's getting personal now.  Stay tuned.

LATER THIS SAME DAY:   Taking no chances, I called Roots and asked for Susie around 11 AM.  "Hi, Susie, did Jackie tell you about my situation?"  Surprisingly, Jackie hadn't.  So I told Susie everything that had happened, or, maybe, that hadn't happened.  She assured me that she was going to read through my "case notes" and get some information and call me back.  4 hours later, I decided to check back with Susie and guess what?  Susie had gone home for the day.  And hadn't called me back.  I left her a voice message that said, among other things, that I was really very surprised that she hadn't called me back.  Actually, between you and me--I'm not that surprised at all, given Roots' customer service up to this point, or rather--lack of it.  Anyway, I need to get a good night's sleep so I can get ready to battle it out tomorrow.  Details to follow as they occur.  

NEXT DAY:  Damn!  My cell phone's ringer was off and I missed Susie's call.  She left me a voice mail that said that the item was being shipped out today and she would call me later to tell me when to expect delivery.  And guess what?  Hours later I called Susie, since I hadn't heard anything from her--no surprise--and guess where she was?  Yep--Susie was gone for the day.  I left yet another message for her on her voice mail.  I think I might apply for a job at Roots--it sounds great--the hours are great, you get to go home early enough to catch all the TV season premieres, and you seem to have plenty of free time AT work since you don't seem to do any actual work.  I wonder what the vacation policy is.  

TUESDAY, SEPT. 30:  The bag finally arrived.  My friend loves it.  That's what's important, anyway.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Dear American, You Suck

American Airlines' response to my complaint letter.

Dear Mrs. Minivan:

You trusted us with your valuable time on August 4 and you were understandably disappointed when we didn't get you to Chicago on time. There's clearly nothing more frustrating for everyone -- customers and employees alike -- than having to endure the difficulties associated with air travel when bad weather impacts our flights. From the details you provided, it certainly sounds as if the circumstances surrounding your flight were made even more frustrating by the lack of assistance you received.

When bad weather happens, in the interest of safety, we don't have too many options to get you to where you are going as planned. What we can do, however, is display a friendly attitude to help make the situation a little less trying and I'm sorry we didn't do so on this occasion. At the same time, we are glad that you took the time to share the details of your experience. Your comments enable us to see things from our customers' perspective and help us to improve.

Regrettably, prohibitive cost issues prevent us from stocking additional food and beverages aboard for "just in case" delays. In addition, since our catering schedules are carefully planned well in advance, our caterer can't accommodate unanticipated, last minute food and beverage requests for an aircraft full of customers. We hope you understand.

Bad weather is not something we can overcome and the direct impact on our flight schedules is unavoidable. Accordingly, it is not our policy to reimburse our customers' out-of-pocket expenses, make up for lost time, or offer compensation (like additional mileage) when we don't operate our flights as planned. I am sorry. Nevertheless, you have my assurance that we will continue to focus on the on time departure of our flights and our customer service standards.

Mrs. Minivan, we are eager for another chance to serve you -- we will do our very best to get you to your destination as scheduled and provide you with the kind of service you deserve.


Customer Relations
American Airlines

Was that a response or a therapy session?  Because I sure don't feel any better.

This is what I'd like to say back to them:

Dear American,

Thanks for the carefully personalized form letter.  You certainly read the employee manual on how to deal with frustrated customers.  I appreciate all of your understanding and caring.  I am glad that my experience has enabled you to see things from your customers' perspective and that my letter will help you to improve.  And thank you for reminding me that bad weather is something you can't overcome.  If you look back at my original letter I believe I mentioned that everyone knows that "weather happens."  Oh, and when the "just in case" delays become S.O.P.(that's standard operating procedure, FYI, and we all know it IS), it might be nice to have a few extra pretzel packets on board.

Anyway, keep working on your customer service and getting your customers there on time.  From what I can see, you have a lot of opportunities for improvement.  


Mrs. Minivan

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Oh, crap!!

The first thing I'm going to do when I become Vice-President is to go after the dog-owners who don't pick up after their dogs.  This morning I went walking and on my 1 hour walk in this well-known and affluent community I saw no less than 10 fly-covered piles of you-know-what on the sidewalks.  Totally disgusting.  Is it too much to ask dog-owners to clean up their mess?  I just don't understand people but I think the punishment for anyone who is caught on a crap-and-run should be several hours of community service cleaning up doggy do on the streets of their community.  Just my opinion.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

A BIG Announcement!!!!!

I wanted to let you all be the first to hear the big news.  After much thought and careful consideration, I have decided to run for political office.  At first I thought I'd just run on the local level but after reviewing my qualifications I have decided to go national.  Yep, that's right.  I am officially throwing my hat in as a Vice-Presidential nominee.  I'm not sure of all the logistics and rules--don't know if I can run as a write-in candidate, but I'm going to give it my best shot.  If it doesn't work this year, I'll be back in 2012. 

Let's just take a minute and let this sink in before I go over my qualifications for you.  OK, here we go.  I realized this morning, as I got ready to go to a PTA meeting, that I would be a great Vice-President.  I've always been very involved with the PTAs of my sons' schools--I have many years of experience working in a group, often with very difficult people.  Have you ever dealt with a mother who's been told she can't park in the pick-up line at 3:15 and run into school for "just a minute?"  Or one who is trying to save the whole front row of seats at the school play?  I have.  It's not pretty.  So Afghanistan and Iraq should be a cinch to deal with.  

It's no easier on the home front.    Have you ever tried to wake up a sleepy 6-foot-tall 9th grader who doesn't want to get up?  Or remind several male people to put the seat down?  Or tell your husband where the jelly is or where the paper towels are for the 5000th time?  I do all this--and so much more--every day!  So as far as domestic policy is concerned--I truly believe I am ready.

I am a great multi-tasker.  Even as I am typing this I am on a phone call and checking out the news headlines on Yahoo.  Yet I am giving each of these tasks the careful thought and consideration it deserves.  

I was just suckered into--I mean--I was just made recording secretary of the high school's PTA.  That's a BIG job requiring careful listening and good penmanship.  Not to mention computer skills.  And organizational skills.  I went to the meeting as an ordinary mom and hit the ground running as the recording secretary.    I also campaigned for another spot within the PTA.  I had to make a campaign speech off the top of my head and I can basically sum it up like this, "It's time for a change!"

And so I say to you, my dear readers and friends:  We need a change right now.  It's time for a change.  Now more than ever before.   I'm all for a woman VP or President--but it has to be the right woman.  Especially when she is going to be a heartbeat away from a 70-something President with some not-so-insignificant prior health issues.  I think you know who I'm talking about.  We need the right woman.  Not one picked because she has a great pair of glasses or whatever--but one picked after careful vetting and consideration.  Mine are nice though.  (I'm talking about the glasses.  Not the whatevers.) Yes, we need the right woman.  We need me.

Some differences between me and you-know-who:

1.  She went to 5 colleges in 6 years.  I went to just one.  For four years.  A good one.
2.  She got a passport last year and has been out of the country once, on an official tour of military installations in Kuwait and Germany.  A spokesperson's claim that she's also been to  Ireland was actually a refueling stop during the Kuwait/Germany trip.  I've been out of the country many times.  I know all the good places to shop.  If that's not a good start to our foreign policy I don't know what is.  
3.  I stand for freedom of speech, freedom of choice, and freedom to read whatever you want.
4.  I will work hard to protect the rights of women, children, the earth, and polar bears.
5.  I think sex education is a good thing.  Sometime when kids don't learn about stuff like that they actually get pregnant at age 17.  
6.  I do not have a baby.  Or a pregnant teen-ager.  Both of whom just might need a lot of face time with their mom in the near future.  
7.  I am a people person.  I play well with others. If my mother-in-law ran for political office, I would support her.  If only for the sake of harmony at the Thanksgiving table.   And I make a great brownie.  And fabulous short ribs.  What world leader wouldn't listen to our point of view over a short rib dinner followed by a plate of homemade brownies?  It's a win-win.

So.....domestic experience....check. Foreign experience.....check. Organizational skills....check. People skills.....check. Good listener....check. Multi-tasking skills.....check. I think I've hit all the major categories. Check. Check. Check.

So, for those reasons, and so many more, I urge you to vote for me on November 4th!!  My campaign starts immediately.  Donations and volunteers are needed and much appreciated. 
Change starts now!..........

This post was approved by Mrs. Minivan.