I had to call the phone company today because I noticed a peculiar charge had shown up on our bill. Not only was the charge something I didn't recognize, but it came accompanied by a little note from the phone company that said something to the effect of "You can dispute this charge. You also don't have to pay it."
Really? Then why the heck did you put the charge on my bill IN THE FIRST PLACE if you think it's bogus? That was a question I was bound to ask John, the customer service rep who was lucky enough to field my phone call, except then I never did because we got distracted talking about children (he has three girls, ages 5, 3, and 7 months) and the tricks of keeping small toys out of reach of baby hands. Then we chatted about money, and finances, and 20 minutes later I was thinking, "Maybe I should invite his family over for dinner or something," but that really would have been just a little too crazy, yes? Anyway, he told me to call the bogus company directly and demand the charge be removed.
So, at this point, I'm 25 minutes into having an $8 charge removed from my bill. But I call the other company up, and get my sassy voice on and say, "I don't want to hear whatever it is you have to say, I just want you to take this charge off." The poor woman on the other line--who also probably has a family to feed, but I just couldn't get caught up in her drama right then--said okay, and that was that. Or at least, that was that until I get the next phone bill.
Sometimes I wonder how much my time is worth when I make these awful phone calls where I can't get through to a person until I jump through all the vocal hoops. You know the ones.
Please say your account number.
I'm sorry, can you repeat that?
Would you like to talk to a service representative?
What is the matter related to? You can be honest.
Did you say Add More Features?
Please say Yes or No.
For the love, just let me talk to a real person!
Even when I call Kaiser Permanente just to make a doctor's appointment, I have to make sure that I have a good, solid block of time to wait through the tedious world of Being On Hold. Jules is napping. Sydney is watching a movie. The dog is outside. Nothing is baking. I will sit here and dedicate my life to being On The Phone, with nothing but laundry to fold or a magazine to read. But I must make note not to read any articles that might make me cry, or else then I find myself talking to the advice nurse and crying, and then she's not quite sure who she should be making appointments for or whether something really disastrous has happened.
Are you okay? Has something happened?
"I'm fine," I weep into the phone. "It's just that Alison in this month's Real Simple article is such a brave woman, and I got all choked up over her story. And can you imagine raising those kids by yourself with your husband so far away on deployment?"
Pshaw. I'd never actually admit that to the advice nurse. Better she feel pity for me than scorn.
For the record, I've cried on the phone with an advice nurse twice; only once can be blamed on a magazine article. The other time was when after 10 minutes of being on hold, the nurse came on just as I was dealing with a screaming child on the changing table with a poopy diaper.
I had a lot to cry about.
Since I was in the Phone Zone, I called KP today to ask about the symptoms of appendicitis because I was concerned my appendix might be failing me. But one of the symptoms is a fever, which I don't have. I then risked the possibility of sounding like a hypochondriac and inquired about making an appointment regarding all these migraines I've had, but the appointment calendar only goes out 10 days, and nothing was open so I have to call back in a couple days to check again.
Time spent accomplishing pretty much nothing?
The worst has to be when I called a credit card company last month because I received a statement that said I owed 72 cents. Not dollars. CENTS. I was irked because I had already called the company twice before to find out the exact balance so we could pay it off and close the account. I got the amount, but it was evidently relayed to me incorrectly.
So. I call the company and ask what the deal is. Miss Cheery Voice tells me I owe 72 cents.
"Seriously?" I ask, trying to be as equally cheerful. "Can you just waive that? It's 72 cents."
But she and I know that's where the issue is: it's 72 cents. Seventy-two cents isn't going to break me.
Oh, says Miss Cheery Voice, just pay it online. Already more than 5 minutes has lapsed, and I just want to get off the phone. I try one more time.
"I tried to pay this account, and you guys are making it impossible to do that."
This will be the last time; then the balance will be zero.
How much is my time worth? Do I really want to argue with this woman? Am I going to lose this battle?
Yes. I am. I give up and say, Okay. Whatever.
I go online to pay the stupid 72 cents and discover that the lowest acceptable amount is $1. I agonize over giving them an extra 28 cents. In another life, I might raise my fist to the heavens and scream about Principles! and Big Guys sticking it to the Little Guys!
In the end, though, I pay it.
Nap time has ended, movie is over, dog is barking, and dinner needs to get cooked. I can't worry about big guys when I'm tripping over my little guys.
And there you have it: My time isn't worth 28 cents. Not sure if that's a good thing or not.
(c) Creature Bug 2008. All rights reserved.