So today, after dealing with the Bank, I ripped the head off of an alarmingly incompetent Tim Horton's employee. It seems to me that I encounter many alarmingly incompetent people in my travels. I don't know if I encounter more of them than average, or if I simply lack requisite patience to deal with them. I suspect the latter is true.
The Bank was incompetent. In all honesty, I would have been laughing my head off had this been happening to someone else. But it wasn't. It was happening to me. And the humor of the situation somehow escaped me at the time.
I repeatedly explained to the manager on the other end of the line that my student line is required annually for tuition, was in good standing, and was unilaterally closed. But she couldn't find a record of me anywhere on the system. And to add insult to injury, she didn't even believe that I dealt with that branch. Or even with that bank. She just kept asking me if I was sure that I had the right number. She then asked me to call back on another day with my old account number, at which point I screamed "This is ridiculous!!" and she elected to go into the back to find the hard copy of the file.
She located it, but it didn't help. Our next problem was one of timelines. She simply could not grasp the concept that this is 2006. Nor could she accept the fact that 2005 precedes 2006 by exactly one year. When I told her that I had registered last summer and paid last fall, she accusingly responded that her records show that I last registered in August of 2005 and paid in October of 2005. And I cried out, "That's what I just said!!"
She insisted that the account was dormant for inactivity. And as she insisted that I would now have to reapply and that the whole thing was somehow my fault, I swear that I started to involuntarily twitch. I reamed into her but good and told her I'd be looking for another bank to give my business. And then I said something insulting but well-deserved, and hung up on her.
Right around the time I was hunting around for my bottle of vodka and high-powered sniper rifle, she called back saying that she had found a way to help me. I did what she requested, then tried to calm down and continue to work on my file. But my concentration was lacking, I couldn't stop twitching, and the girls in my area decided that a walk over to Timmy's might be calming. So off we went. A quick walk, a bit of caffeine and sugar, and I should feel better. Right?
And that's when the Tim Horton's employee dared to cross my path. I tried to be polite. Honest, I did. But I know that I came across as impatient and unpleasant. And while I think she deserved some impatience, I was probably a bit more impatient than was required in all circumstances. Really, it was mostly just the day I'd been having. But honestly, what has become of good customer service?
Let's start with this: When someone orders a Coke, and you respond with "Can or Bottle?", it would be good if those options are both products that your location carries. When your customer responds "Bottle", she usually doesn't expect to hear "Oh, we don't carry bottles at this location".
"A can will be fine", I said. "Could I get a straw?"
"They're right there", she replied, gesturing to the counter behind her. Where I am not permitted to go, as I am not an employee.
"Could I please have one?" I asked politely. And she rolled her eyes and got me a straw.
"We don't have chocolate dip donuts."
"Yes you do. They're right here in the case."
"No. We don't have chocolate dip donuts. Just these chocolate cake ones."
"These ones. Right here. That I'm pointing to. With the chocolate icing"
"Oh. Those are honey dip."
"They have chocolate on them! You know what ... just please give me one. Thanks."
And then? I went to pay. With debit. Other people were paying with debit. It was working just fine for everyone else. My coworkers had no trouble. But this young lady couldn't figure out the machine. And my transaction didn't go through. I was still trying to be patient, as I said "Let's try it again".
"Oh", she responded, "I think it's down. Did you wanna pay with cash?"
"No, I don't want to pay with cash!" I snapped. "Please try it again!"
This time it worked, and I headed back to the office, victoriously carrying my prey: a can of Coke and a chocolate dip donut (or ICBM, or whatever you want to call it).
The good news is that the situation with the Bank is all straightened out. I got my donut and my Coke. And I guess it really doesn't matter to me if you call it a chocolate dipped intercontinental ballistic missile; it's still a donut. It still has chocolate. And it's still delicious.
Really, I have very few problems that can't be solved with chocolate.