Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Tears and the Telephone... The Recovery of A Thousand Dollars From Bob the Banker... Everything Takes an Hour in Texas...

The first I knew of the problem was when my wife slammed her hand on the desk and demanded my phone.

I'd just helped her pick out a new Dell computer to replace her Inspiron, which I was going to upgrade and use to replace my computer - a win all around. Then Sarah opened her email and found a message from her bank letting her know that they'd declined the charge, for her protection. Because my wife is a 1337 haXX0r who'd bought an apron and a desk earlier that day to test out the credit card she'd stolen from herself.

I handed Sarah her phone, in case they were checking numbers, and went off to heat up a frozen pizza for dinner. I'd been fighting our home wireless network all day, and after that evil bastard I had no desire to witness the coming conflagration.

I could hear the conversation getting more and more heated, and then "Dave!" Sarah saw me come in to the office and told the guy on the phone "You're going to have to talk to my husband, because I'm about to start yelling at you." Then she handed me the phone and burst into tears. "It's the Gremlin," she explained, and went looking for tissues.

I put the phone to my ear and heard... something. Bob (not his real name) had a thick accent, and there was static on the line. I could have handled one or the other, but the mix blended into a symphony of gibberish and I could only make one word of his out of ten. In return, I had to yell all of my answers and tried to keep them to three words or less.

I eventually deciphered that the bank had canceled the charge to prevent possible fraud, and Bob had been trying to make Sarah call Dell to resolve the problem, because the bank certainly wouldn't do it again. Finally Bob agreed to conference me into a call with Dell to have them put the charge through again.

Let me be abundantly clear: Bob the Banker was going to call Dell's support system with me.

We waited on hold together for ten minutes, during which Sarah came into the office for a hug. Finally we got through to Al, who took my order number and offered to transfer us to the department that could actually rerun the credit card. Then he hung up. This is Dell's standard practice, apparently.

Bob called Dell back. Another ten minutes on hold. Chris picked up and took my order number again, also my address, name and phone number. He transferred us to the Very Important Department, which we got to fifteen minutes later. Donna picked up the phone and said "Hello?"

I opened my mouth, and then Bob began yelling into the phone at the top of his lungs right over me. So I shut my mouth and let him go on, then I noticed that Donna was saying "Hello? Can you hear me?" I said "Hello!", but Donna had already hung up. I heard Bob mutter "Are you serious?", and by God I felt for the man at that point.

Bob gibbered at me in a futile attempt to get off the phone, but I had him conference us in to Dell again. This time we got Jose, who in defiance of every law of telecommunications was the easiest man to understand I got the entire evening. He put us through to the hold system for the next twenty minutes.

At this point I was an hour into the call and was getting a little loopy. Sarah had brought me the pizza and a drink, so at least I wasn't hungry, but the entire call was so absurd that I couldn't stop giggling.

Finally Ellen picked up and offered to run the charge again. I confirmed with Bob that yes, it would work this time, the charge was run, and everyone confirmed that it had gone through successfully this time.

Ellen hung up and Bob asked if he could do anything else for me, a question so jaw-droppingly stupid that I assume it was part of his script. I blanked, trying to decide if I should demand he raise Sarah's credit limit or lower her interest rate, when Sarah saw my expression and snatched the phone out of my hands to lay into Bob for a good five minutes.

And that should have been that, but like any good monster movie Bob came back for one last scare. I found an email in my inbox saying that Sarah's contact information had been changed, something I should not have gotten. Apparently Bob, out of confusion or pique, had swapped my wife's email address with my email address, something I had never given him. When I worked up the nerve to tell Sarah she immediately called the bank, and the first thing she got was an automated message asking her if she wanted to activate her new credit card?

I took Lina outside to run around in the back yard. Every man has his limits.