A Bad Case of Stupid Seems To Be Going Around.

A bad case of stupid seems to be going around. There is an abundance of morons, the supply of idiots seems to exceed the demand. And the worst part of this is that I seem to be exuding the imbecile pheromone in waves.

I know, that seems to be an excessive use of language to expound upon the extreme irritation that I feel. At the moment I want to be the guy leading the villagers to torch the damn castle. Give me a broad sword and a doorway and I swear to you that I none shall pass.

WTF, STFU and a healthy dose of assorted curse words don’t begin to properly express the frustration and anger I feel.

I am trying…struggling…to properly explain what set me off, but words fail me. I can’t quite get it out in a responsible fashion, so I am going to babble and rant for a moment.

One of the benefits of being a responsible adult is that I recognize that my actions have consequences. I understand that acting in haste and anger does not serve me well. So even though I am dying to tell you in excruciating detail about the company and individuals who are the source of this, I am not going to.

Not yet.

I am not going to because they deserve special attention. They merit the sort of treatment that gives CEOs and shareholders palpitations.

So Mr and Mrs. Stupidhead (five year old insults are great, aren’t they) I am notifying you that I have been documenting your actions for quite some time. I notified you repeatedly about these infractions and you agreed that this was unacceptable.

But you have chosen to ignore all of this so I am going to follow through. Your reign of terror is going to end. I am going to take you down a notch or two, myabe even five or six.

And when it is all done, when the dust has cleared we’ll probably find that this was completely unnecessary. Just one stupid moment in time, but stupid is as stupid does, and you are stupid heads.

Alas poor Yorick, I knew him well.

Ma Bell

Dear Ma Bell,

It is me Jack, your long time customer. I am stuck on hold right now while your reps try to figure out what is going on with my bill. You see Ma, I want to pay it, but the darn thing is unclear.

So even though I love you like a mother I don’t have so much spare cash that I can just throw it around. So far the past 27 minutes I have listened as your people tried to explain what is going on.

The not so funny part is that even they are confused by this so they have placed me on hold so that they can try and decipher your billing hieroglyphics. Needless to say I am growing less and less pleased with being stuck here for so long. Even though these CSRs are trying hard I am frustrated because no one is going to compensate me for my time.

This should help explain why you will not receive a Mother’s Day card or gift from me this year. Thanks for helping to waste my time, you suck.

With much love,


The Death of Customer Service

Just in case anyone was wondering great customer service is dead. It has migrated from being something that you expected to having become something that is a pleasant sort of surprise.

I have grown so accustomed to bad customer service that when it does happen I have to pinch myself. I expect that if I could see my face it would show me with some sort of dumbfounded look that would be more appropriate for having been kicked in the gut.

The funny thing is that whenever I have to deal with customer service I spend a few minutes psyching myself up for the experience. It kind of reminds me of the feeling I used to get right before a fist fight, except there is no pushing and shoving and no one on the playground egging us on.

The genesis of this post comes from having spent a chunk of time on the telephone trying to get some answers about a few bills. First I had to traverse the lonely and desolate voice jail systems. Automation is great….sometimes.

I love being given so many different options. Press 1 for billing, 2 for customer service, 3 to make a payment, 19 to be told that you are a dumbass for doing business with us etcetera. The best part of the system is that you are given 57 choices and none of them are to speak with a live person.

Side note. If it is a publicly traded company and I am unhappy with their response I almost always “Google” their corporate profile. There I can find a list of company executives and a telephone number to reach them. Sometimes it takes some doing, but even if I have to go through their IR or PR departments I find my way to the desk of some executive who doesn’t want to speak to me.

Most of the time they will see that the appropriate flunky deals with me so that they don’t have to speak with me everyday. If necessary I can be ruthless and relentless. Answer my call or the consequences will be swift and severe or prompt and persuasive.

Anyway, as I spoke with Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum today I took great pains not to tear out giant clumps of hair. It was exceedingly hard because they were exceedingly stupid. I try not to call people stupid and it is not because the eight-year-old that lives here refers to it as the “s” word.

But sometimes it just fits. As I am speaking to the jackass in Solon I am wondering how hard it is to tell me what the balance is on my account. Apparently he thinks I am speaking about teeter-totters because he keeps mentioning something about tilting over or some sort of incomprehensible gibberish like that.

I ditched him for another native English speaker who can’t speak English either. It is bizarre and incomprehensible. No accent, easy to understand the words, except they can’t construct a simple sentence.

Midway through this experience I start laughing because I have lost my mind. I am laughing because I am thinking about them reciting “Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers” over and over again. And you know that if that was the only line in their script that is what they would say to you.

“Excuse me, can you tell me what my balance is?”
“Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers.”

It is such a dumb idea it is brilliant. I think that I am going to open my own call center just so that I can see this turn into a reality. That maniacal laughter you hear now, well that’s me. I have slipped over the edge and am floating in the pool face down. Ok, can’t be face down because then you wouldn’t be able to understand me, but I think that you get the point.

Poor Customer Service

If you work in a position in which you provide any sort of service I have a simple suggestion. As a general rule of thumb it is a bad idea to lie to your customer. It is one of those things that can have severe ramifications.

Consider for a moment what happens if you get caught in the lie. It doesn’t engender confidence and you risk more than losing a single customer. In the age of the Internet it is exceptionally simple for customers to air their grievances with you and your organization to millions of people. That may sound like hyperbole but sometimes it is better safe than sorry.

And the example above doesn’t take into account whether said customer will be angry enough to try and pursue resolution through other means. Specifically they may choose to go over your head and complain to management and in theory that could find them at the highest levels of your organization. Your position may not be jeopardized by this, or maybe it will be. You just don’t know.

Normally I speak for myself, but I am going to step out onto a limb and suggest that many people are angered by being lied to. I know that it incenses me. It does more than tick me off. I don’t mind when people respond to my questions by telling me that they do not know the answer. I find that to be a suitable response. It may be frustrating, but it is honest.

The impetus for this post comes from an interaction I had earlier today. The yahoo I spoke with lied to me about the difficulty of uploading some information to an online site. Not only did they make up some nonsense about how hard it is to do so, but they compounded the problem by telling me that my business isn’t that important. It was something like:

“Mr. Shack, you are one of many people asking for this information so you are just going to have to wait. It probably will take between 5-7 days.”

Call me confused, but if you can take digital photos of my children and have the results prepared in less than an hour I fail to see why it would take 5-7 days to provide me with online access to said photos.

More to the point when you tell me that I will have access upon the same day as the pictures were taken I wonder why I haven’t got it.

Anyway, this was a very mild rant but I am due for something larger soon. Stay tuned.