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O Customer Service Where Art Thou?

zeroondeck

So I know this is designed to be a blog about my weight loss surgery. However, it is my blog, and from time to time I will write about other things that happen to me in my so called life. Let’s take yesterday for example and let me write about a little slice of my life and the events that transpired. So the day started off with the weather being in the single digits…Fahrenheit that is, not Celsius…I know I have a big following from readers in the Ukraine, at least that is what my log files tell me… I know single digits in the Ukraine is a pretty balmy day, but in the Midwest of the good ol’ USA it is classified as down right friggin’ cold! So as I walk out the door to work to get into my truck/SUV (Chevy Avalanche) I notice the front tire is a little low…no biggie I will stop off on my way to work and put some air in… Well as I pulled into the one gas station that is directly on my way to work, there was not one car at the air pump, not two cars, but three waiting in line to put air in their tires. Now in hind sight I should have recognized that omen right then and there and that this day was not going to go well. Now I left for work with enough time to get to the office on time…but stopping for air was going to cut it close and certainly waiting for 3 people to put air in their tires was going to make me way late if I waited for my turn. Instead I decided that it wasn’t that bad and I should just get to the office and I can fill it at lunch time.
 

 

Omen #2…the commute…so I get back on the road and jump on the highway to head into Akron…now my commute on the highway is a whopping 12 miles…and on a normal day it takes me somewhere in the neighbor hood of 12-16 minutes to travel that distance…Well yesterday being what it was…it took 30. What was the difference you ask? Well no sooner than getting on the highway I immediately ran into heavy traffic and I was looking at nothing but 2 lanes of solid brake lights that blinked off and on as traffic was in a constant state of stop and go…drive 10 -15 feet then stop again….lather, rinse, repeat… Now the road way was a little slick from an early morning dusting of snow and I thought well somewhere there is an accident ahead. Normally I rock theAdam Carolla Adam Carolla or Penn’s Sunday School podcast during my morning commute so I switched over to terrestrial radio and tried to find a local station that would give me a weather and traffic up date. Nothing on the radio other than DJ dribble… I also track ODOT (Ohio Department of Transportation) on Twitter and from time to time they will tweet a road closing or accident info…So I checked their feed on my phone and was reminded that I should “click it” or risk getting a ticket. So no help to know what was going on and where it was taking place. So there I sat, creeping along occasionally getting up to the breakneck speed of 15 mph. When I finally saw the red and blue lights I got a little tingle….okay…end is in sight, and I am secretly hoping to see some smoking wreckage of a car that looked like it played the part of a stunt car in Hollywood movie. Instead what I got was a car that was pulled over by not one but two of Barberton, Ohio’s finest police officers. Now all three of the cars, the perp’s (I like to say perp…makes it sound like I know cop talk) car and the cars of the two local yokel’s were well off to the side, and there was nothing really to see or rubberneck over…but being the society we are…we have to slow down and look consequently making me late to work!
 

 

So I get to the office…try to put the morning commute behind me, get a cup of coffee and I dig into the day… the rest of the morning goes by with out incident (the calm before the storm) and next up in the day is a business lunch with my boss and a potential client about 20 miles away. I head out the door with my boss in plenty of time and I am going to drive so I can stop and get some air in the tire. We get in…I do a cursory look at the tire, doesn’t look any different than this morning and we head off. Now let me back up and tell you that I park in a parking garage on a daily basis…this is important as this comes into play later in the day. I am parked on the 4th floor of the deck and we start heading down the ramps to go get out…As I make the turn down the ramp to transition for the 3rd floor to the 2nd I notice the steering is a little off. Then I feel it…hard to describe it…but we all know when we have a flat tire….I hear the tell-tale thump…thump…thump… So I limp into the first parking space I can on the second floor and with out hesitation…business comes first…we switch off to my bosses car and we are on our way to the meeting. So all the way there, all I can think about is the problem that faces me when I get back. I am fairly certain my truck will need to be towed…reason being from past experience my spare is frozen in place and won’t crank down from under my truck. Basically I will need a tow to a tire shop.
 

 

So fast forward a few hours…lunch meeting went well…though I freaked the waitress out at lunch ….sometimes I get tired of ordering at a restaurant, and I will ask the waitress to just bring me something. This time I did give some parameters and said I would like a soup and sandwich. She freaked a little and pressed me on what I like. I calmly told her that a person of my size doesn’t get that way by being picky on what they eat. I assured her that there wasn’t anything on the menu that I would have a problem with. So lunch that day was a grilled chicken sandwich with a cup of creamy chicken soup. Maybe she over did it on the chicken being it was in both the soup in the sandwich, but overall I was fine with it….sorry I digressed a little there…my ordering idiosyncrasies had nothing to do with the day…So I am back in the office after lunch and I have a busy afternoon, but I figure I will call AAA now and see if I can get my problem logged and set up a time for the tow truck to come. Now I have been a valued member of AAA since 1996, at least that is what my card tells me. So I call in and explain the issue. I tried to be very specific on the phone with the customer service agent and explain to them in great detail exactly what the situation is…flat tire, parked in a deck, spare is unusable, 4 wheel drive vehicle, will need a tow truck to get me out and a flat bed to haul me. They dutifully listen to me and at the end say that you called the Columbus center, let me transfer you to Akron….ARGHHH…I called the number on the back of the membership card ….So once again…new customer service rep and I get to repeat my story to them….lather, rinse, repeat… All of which at the end tell me that they don’t do appointments call back when I am ready to get the tow. Once again…ARRRGGGHHHH don’t these people listen, I implored the customer service rep to please let me talk to the tow company that will be handling the tow. I am sure they would appreciate the advance notice to work around my issue. I could see that I was dealing with a CS rep that only knew how to do one thing, and that was follow the script in front of them. They work and think inside their tiny little box and all they know is what has been force fed to them. Heaven forbid someone have a logical thought about making someone else’s life easier. F’ing myopic thinking idiots…
 

 

So lets fast forward a few more hours and it gets to be 4:30PM…at this point my day is at a place that I can concentrate on my transportation problem. So to let you know, my vehicle is parked in an area where literally every car that is exiting the deck has to pass by it…which also means if a tow truck is trying to get me out it will completely bring things to a stand still. So being the nice guy I am, I call the parking deck supervisor and make him aware of the situation, of which he was appreciative and asked if they are going to block the aisle to wait until after 5:30PM. No problemo…I think I can handle that since when I called AAA earlier they said it would take 60-90 minutes to get me…and for you readers in Ukraine…that translates to 60 – 90 minutes. So I hang up from him and give AAA a call… to save everyone’s eyes the call to AAA went exactly the same as above…including the Columbus to Akron transfer, though they do take my cell number and told me they would update the call through text messaging…I thought cool, I am down with that technology…nice to see a company be progressive. So it is roughly 4:45PM and I figure it will be 6:00PM by the time I get a call. WRONG!!!! My cell phone rings a mere 17 minutes later and I am informed the tow truck driver is at the entrance to the garage….Insert expletive here…5:02PM the deck is nothing but a stream of cars leaving for their commute home and now I have a tow truck out there way earlier than expected.
 

 

So I hurriedly close up shop at my desk and race out to talk to the tow truck driver…though when I get out to the entrance…there is no tow truck…There is a guy sitting there in a pick-up truck with a little yellow light on top and a AAA sticker in his window. I can feel at that point my blood pressure is starting to climb. They didn’t listen to me…how F’ng difficult is it to listen to what I spelled out for them. This guy was here to simply change my tire, which would be great, but as I told him, the spare is frozen in place underneath the car and won’t come down. He was a trooper and said let me look at it I know a few tricks. I thought hey..have at it. You want to crawl on the ground under my truck, be my guest. Let me save you the gory details…after 20 minutes of banging, grunting and cussing the tire won. And I sat there thinking there is 20 minutes of my life I won’t get back.
 

 

So now at this point they are ready to send a tow truck, but I am informed that I have to drive the vehicle out of the parking deck on three tires and the flat of which at this point the rim is actually touching concrete. I call AAA pissed…and when I hung up I was way beyond pissed…their answer is, drive it out or call someone else…not much of a choice huh…So pissed or not it looked like I was going to have to drive it out…All I could think of all the way out of the deck at a blazing 2 miles per hour was that I am looking at a minimum of a $400 bill for a ruined tire and rim. So I get the truck out into an area where the tow truck can get to me and the waiting game begins. By now it is almost 6:00PM and I get caught up on some e-mail…at least what I can do with my phone. Go through and get caught up on Words with Friends with everyone and still no sign of a tow truck…I check for a text message from AAA….nothing. Tried calling the towing company…terminal busy signal… finally the phone rings at 6:30PM and sweet news, tow truck driver is on his way. Which was just a way of buying time… he was on his way..but he was taking the loooong slooow way to get to me. The HOT sign must have been on at Krispy Kreme…30 minutes after I got the call he was on the way he finally arrived. I get out and he barely acknowledges that I am there and starts to get the car up on the lift quickly and efficiently with just a few grunts. He motions me to get in the cab of the truck and we are off…so far he has not uttered a word, only grunts. I decide that I am just going to sit there and keep my mouth shut about what he was doing taking his sweet time to get to me.
 

 

It was less than a 20 minute drive to get to where I wanted my truck taken to and as far as I was concerned silence was fine with me. In 20 minutes this tow truck driver who by the end of the journey I nicknamed Shit For Brains had spilled out most of his adult life story and financial woes. Let me see if I can re-cap. This is what I learned in the 16.4 miles it took to get to my destination. He was once married, but wife passed 2 years ago, 3 kids, son was a principal at a school in Los Angeles, wife passed away 2 years ago, 2 daughters one was doing well and pregnant again, other one was living at home and sponging off him, wife passed away 2 years ago, he was in debt to the IRS for $32,000, was currently being audited back to 2006, wife passed away 2 years ago, his truck broke down last week and he had to break the gear shift, wife passed away 2 years ago. Somewhere around the third time he told me his wife passed away I tried to tune him out…The lights of the NTB couldn’t come quick enough for me. So we pull in to NTB at 7:30PM…they close at 8:00, but I called them ahead of time, they know I am coming and they promised me they would do what they could in the time they had. Shit For Brains got the truck off the flat bed and I paid him the $36 dollars (In the Ukraine that is the equivalent of a goat, a pound of butter, and a 2 dozen eggs) I owed him after my first 3 free miles AAA gives me. Okay…Now tis is the point in the story where all the bad stuff ends and the rainbows, lollipops and unicorns come out. Jay and his crew at the Wadsworth, OH NTB (National Tire and Battery) did me a solid that night. In less than 25 minutes they had me fixed up and on my way. Luckily I did not ruin the tire or the rim….they were able to re-seat it and checked it for leaks…it all tested out and they were handing me my keys by 8:00PM. And when I inquired what I owed them…Jay smiled and said looks like you had a bad night, I got this one, stop back and see us again. Okay, to clarify once again for the Ukrainians, they didn’t charge me anything! Free of charge, gratis, complimentary, at no cost. Can you believe it…A truly crappy day was made a little better by someone that understands the true meaning of Customer Service! Jay…you and your team will surely see me again.

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