you’ve been here more than two or three times, you know about
my hatred of the big companies… at least when they do stupid things.
am a big believer that Dilbert is funny, and that it
resonates with people for a reason… because it’s far too true.
When the big companies do something smart and efficient, I leave
it alone for the most part. Unless it’s something incredible,
they should be trying to make things better and easier. For business,
doing things well is one way to make sure you don’t go out of
when they do something dumb… which is unfortunately often… sometimes
I am just left amazed. And here they go again…
said we needed checks. Like most married men, my wallet is usually
empty. No cash. And I couldn’t tell you where the checks are,
much less whether or not we are running out. But we needed them,
she ordered them, and she thought I’d like to know so I could
watch for any arrival of checks.
had our old address on them. Tigg called to let them know about
the error on her order.
of the most amazing things to me about big companies doing dumb
things is that usually, on the other end of the phone is a person
that actually explains to you the company policy or actions that
led to the mistake. They do this in a way that demonstrates without
a doubt that they are completely oblivious to the fact that what
they are explaining makes absolutely no sense at all to the situation
is the conversation she had, as best as I can reconstruct it (I
only heard her end and was filled in on what the woman on the
other side said later):
“There’s a mistake on my order of checks. It uses the wrong
“Well ma’am, we used the address we had on record.”
“Umm… on record?”
“Yes, from a previous order.”
“A previous order?”
in 2000. Since the bank account information matched the information
from the previous order, that information was used.”
on my order form I clearly wrote out our current address.
Our address has changed since 2000. We don’t live in the same
house as we did then, and the checks I have been using don’t
have that address on them.”
you are an existing customer of ours, they wouldn’t have used
that order slip.”
offer with the form you filled out was only for new customers.
Since you have ordered from us before, you wouldn’t be eligible
for that offer. So, in completing the order, they used the
account information on record.”
don’t understand why they would do that.”
you aren’t a new customer, so they didn’t use that order.”
If they didn’t fill that order, then why did I receive checks?”
set up a charge for you. I’m showing that you still owe us
a balance of $36.00 for these checks. If you would like to
pay that now, I’d be happy to take your credit card information.”
Hold on. There’s a mistake on these checks. You’re telling
me that they processed this order, which according to you
isn’t a valid order, using my old information, which I told
you is wrong and never asked to have used. In fact, I didn’t
ask to have it used. Is that correct?”
the bank information I’m showing is still accurate.”
but the address on the checks is wrong. You’re telling me
that you didn’t accept my order, processed it anyway, got
it wrong on your end, and want me to pay for the mistakes.
I didn’t tell you to use my old address. At all. In fact,
the checks arrived at this house, using the correct address
for the delivery. I’m looking at the package as we speak.
You only used the old address on the checks. You sent it to
the correct address, my current address. I don’t understand
why you would change my order, increase the bill, use the
wrong address, and all without contacting me.”
conversation went on for a few more minutes… yes… a few more minutes.
the world of flow chart simplification, this one is lovely. The
company managed to consider the train of yes-no responses, follow
both instead of selecting one, and screw up the next step in amazingly
that last part. Tigg was right. The package was sent to our current
address. So, the company literally had to pick and choose which
information they took from the form the representative claimed
they didn’t use. The explanation literally flows that: (1) they
never used the order form they received because it wasn’t one
we should have used, (2) completed an order based on the receipt
of that form that they never used, (3) updated the mailing address
for delivery using information from that form that was the wrong
form to use, and (4) left the old address on the checks because
the form wasn’t the proper one to use.
is applying any quality control here? (Although, from their end,
it is an interesting story. They received an order and knew where
to send the bill. “I’m sorry ma’am, what problem?” (Yeah, yeah.
that might not be the really funny part.
Tigg gets the money back for this order (she moved up the chain
to a supervisor, refused to pay the extra amount to get a new
shipment of checks properly printed, and instead requested a full
refund for the order that they didn’t accept but still messed
up that she can’t use), she has them off to the side. I happened
to see the box. Guess what it says on one of the flaps? Here is
listened to you.”
~ ~ ~
the early days of the In My Backpack web site, I was
trying several different ways to present material.
journal entries were referred to as “A Momentary Lapse…” for
a period of time, which eventually transitioned to “Are you
chewing gum?” for a bit. Eventually, after a few restarts, modifications,
and relaunches, the Now Playing area took over.
of occasional segments—appearing perhaps ten times a year or
so—was called Random Thoughts, which I described as…
long for “A Momentary Lapse…”… Not enough for a full article…
Need to get them off my “ideas to work on” list…
essay was originally created and presented as a Random Thoughts
entry. I’m bringing it back as a From the Backpack offering
because I’m curious about the content and the effort. But, worth
noting, it may still seem a bit incomplete, needing more development,
and may or may not have gone through some additional edits and
re-writes beyond my usual finds when searching the archives.