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June 13th, 2007

What?

I recently got married and prior to the wedding, I wanted to get contacts (for both the wedding and honeymoon). I went to a new eye place since we moved recently and made an appointment. The eye doctor conducted the eye exam in all of 5 minutes and I thought to myself that he must either be really good at what he does or really bad. He gave me two trial pairs of lenses and I paid $260 for the eye exam and 6 months worth of contacts (6 pairs). Shortly after, we got married and took off on our honeymoon.

The contact in my left eye started to bother me the first day into the trip and I soon discovered that it came apart in pieces in my eye. I was shocked but figured that it was just a fluke. I put the new pair on and the next day, the contact in the other eye also came apart in pieces in my eye (I almost had to go to the eye doctor out of the country because I couldn't get it all out but finally did). Mind you, I've had eye exams and contact lenses before and I've never, ever had a problem.

Upon returning from our trip this week, I called the eye place and they put the doctor on the phone. I explained the situation and said that I didn't want the rest of the contacts that I ordered (I still hadn't received them but I knew they were coming in to the eye place) but that I wanted to exchange them for different ones. After I finished he said "Oh, I know you've thought about what you'd say all day to me, but you did great". The tone of voice was so obnoxious and I was just too shocked to respond. Clearly, the guy didn't believe me and for some reason or other he thinks I'm trying to trick him? The part that gets to me is that it's not like I canceled that order on the lenses. I just asked if I could order different ones because these clearly didn't work for me. Anyway, I'm dreading my appointment today because apparently he thinks I'm a liar. My husband thinks that I should just ask for all of my money back. The whole situation is really upsetting.
I'm staying home today because I still feel sick, but there are some needs of mine that will drag me from an almost comatose state and demand they must be satisfied. One of those needs is good coffee. I dragged myself from my bed, got the coffee going on the stove and I realized I didn't have any sugar or creamer in the house.

Since there is a supermarket a few blocks away from my place, I thought, "OK, I'll just throw some clothes on, leave the stove on low and just go and pick stuff up. I won't even take my cell phone. What could go wrong?" Oh boy.

First thing, on the way there, I'm waiting at a stop sign and when it's my turn to go, my car sort of lurches forward and just. dies. OOKKAY. I know my car is old, but THIS I didn't expect. I put the car in park, then I start it again and it goes. WHEW. Get to the supermarket. Now, this isn't a fancy supermarket, but they have surprised me with a few gourmet items like smoked hungarian paprika or REALLY good olive oils, so I thought. What the heck, I'll ask for something else I need to get for later.

I flag this girl down that was talking to some of the butchers and I ask her, "Hey, do you guys have some powdered egg whites?" (BTW, powdered egg whites is something you put on royal icing. You can do it with raw egg whites, but this is safer.) Now, I HATE it when clerks at food stores do what this girl is about to do. Her face went blank, then sort of curled into this incredulous grin and said, "WOW, um...I don't know. WOW. You know I've never heard of that before. Um...", she turns to the other employees, "you guys have heard of powdered egg whites?" She manages to say it in a way that also conveys that somehow I'm a freak for asking. Like I just made it up or something. The answer was NO.

OK. Fine.

I get my coffee stuff, pay and go out to the car. Turn the key. Nothing. Turn the key. NOTHING.

F.U.C.K.

I think. OK: I'll call triple A. Oh. That's right. No phone.

I go back inside. Since it's still early there's very few people in yet. So I walk up to the same girl from earlier and I say, "I'm sorry to bother you with this, but I went to my car and it's dead and I need a jump. Do you think you can help me?" She looks at me like I don't realize that I'm not in a gas station or a mechanics shop. Did I look retarded? Did I ask a retarded question? In my head, I was asking for help. She turns to the same butcher woman from earlier and asks her. Then, the butcher woman laughed at me. She shook her head and said, "Just go to the front desk." As I walked away I heard them BOTH laugh at me.

I go to the front desk. I wait. All I'm thinking now is that I haven't brushed my teeth, I look awful, my face feels greasy, my glasses are dirty and my stove is on. A woman comes up and asks me if I need anything. I ask for help again. AGAIN, this OTHER woman looks at me like I'm retarded. I remember my Triple A card, so I ask her for a phone. She points me to the phone and I make my call. I get my car jumped and I go home, feeling like an idiot.

UPDATE: OOKAY. A little clarification. No, I wasn't asking the store staff to fix my car. No, I wasn't blaming them for the obvious bonehead move of leaving my stove on. I mentioned the stove because I THOUGHT i was just recording my state of mind and the thing about the car was how the experience with them showed them to be a little heartless. I KNOW they can't fix my car. I KNOW it's not their resposability. I just thought it was kind of crude that they could laugh at me for asking, but they didn't have the sense to think, "Oh, well, I can't help you with that, but here's a phone."

Thanks for the feedback so far and the comments.

911 operators count, right?

 http://www.cnn.com/2007/US/06/13/hospitaldeath.probe.ap/index.html

Is it the 911 operator's responsibility to determine what constitutes an emergency? I know the 911 system is grossly misused by people calling over trivial things, however, I believe it is a bit of a risk to flatly refuse to send help for someone because you never really know when someone is in need. Must be a bit of the boy/wolf syndrome. In any case, I feel as though the attitude of at least the second 911 operator constitutes as terrible service. If he or she really couldn't do anything in this situation, perhaps it would've been best to repeat that point instead of taking attitude with a bystander who called 911 in distress. Maybe there are some people in this community who can help clarify correct procedure in this type of situation.  

 


It’s only a little thing, I know, but it *really* bloody irritated me. Usually, our Tesco’s drivers are absolute sweethearts (Tesco, for the non-Brits, is a big supermarket chain with online ordering / home delivery service). They’re cheerful, friendly, helpful, very apologetic if anything’s wrong (and generally the wrongness isn’t even their fault, but a glitch on the part of the ‘pickers’ back at the store, who are the ones who actually take the stuff off the shelves and bag it). They also have certain procedures they have to follow, one of which is that cigarettes MUST be handed personally to an adult, not just bagged with the rest of the stuff.

So, this morning. As I’m glancing quickly into the bags as I take them out of the trays, I spot some items I haven’t ordered – yes, there’s a whole trayfull of someone else’s stuff. Being a boringly honest sort of person, I don’t pretend I haven’t noticed, but give that tray back. He takes it back to the van, I carry on unloading the rest of the delivery, he comes back. Then, since the ciggies aren’t forthcoming, I say “Cigarettes in one of the bags, then?” while rifling quickly through them – if you spot something missing at the time, the driver logs it for a refund there and then, saves calling the helpline. No, he says, they were in one of the trays.

Um, no, they weren’t, or I would have got them, wouldn’t I? And I haven’t. And it’s pretty obvious that someone who doesn’t take advantage of free smoked salmon, grapes and the other goodies that were in the returned tray is hardly Ms Crafty Scammer of the Year. But no, he stands his ground – he put them in the tray, all the trays are empty, therefore I must have them and I’m trying to pull a fast one. No, he didn’t *say* that, but it was clearly implied. I point out things like it’s a very small hall, I haven’t even moved out of the doorway, and I’ve just gone through all of the bags *again* in front of him. We go around it for a few moments, then he shrugs, says “ring the helpline then” and huffs off.

Cue a rant at the nice lady on the helpline, who is a model of Customer Service patience and efficiency, and tells me she will email the store manager immediately. Five minutes later, store manager is on the phone; he also listens patiently to the rant and agrees that implicitly accusing customers of trying to rip off the store, as well as not following required delivery procedure for ‘secure items’, is not good. Then, I hear a bit of mumbled conversation in the background, and he interrupts me to say “Um – yep, we’ve just found the cigarettes. They were here all the time; no, he didn’t put them on the tray in the first place. I have a driver out your way in an hour, we’ll drop them off. I’m really sorry about this.”

In the meantime, of course, helpline lady has emailed to tell me they’ve refunded the cost of the missing items, so when the second driver turns up (rather bemused by this Very Tiny Delivery he has to make) I confuse matters further by pointing this out, and asking him to tell the store manager to charge it back to the account. Because I don’t try and get stuff for free, which was why I was so damned annoyed in the first place.

Seriously, when is it ever acceptable to ignore your own company procedures about delivering adult-only items, and then virtually accuse the customer of stealing the item? I didn’t mind that he’d forgotten something; it happens, no biggie. I *did* mind the attitude, and the fact that if he’d done what he was supposed to do, the situation wouldn’t have arisen in the first place: if you have to hand over something personally rather than bagging it, then there’s no question that you did put it on the van, and the customer did receive it. And if someone has just *handed back* a whole trayfull of expensive groceries which they could quite easily have hung on to, and said nowt, are they really going to pretend a packet of fags wasn’t there, when it was? Grrrr.
I need some advice.

My husband used to go to a therapist. His mom set up all of his appointments. He found out that his therapist told his mother what happened during the appointments. Understandably upset, he told his mother he wasn't going to any more appointments. For some reason, his mom kept scheduling appointments that my husband never went to, but has been charged for. We've gotten a lot of letters over more than a year now asking for one hundred and twenty dollars.

I don't exactly know what to do from here on. His mom won't pay for them, we can't just afford to fork over 120 bucks for appointments we never went to or asked for... I don't know how to go about this. Any advice?

edit: I should add, he was under 18 when these appointments were made. Does that make a difference?

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