Thursday, April 26, 2007

Why People Go Postal...or rather, why they use FedEx.

Like many Americans living in the digital era, I enjoy using the internet to browse and shop online. Once in a while, I actually make a purchase, and it's situations like what I had to endure today, that constantly make me regret it.

Three days ago, I bid on, and won the complete first and second seasons of LOST, from a loyal Ebay seller, and much to my chagrin and surprise, he promptly emailed me, thanking me for my purchase, and letting me know what my USPS tracking number would be. If you're a regular Ebay user, you'll know that most Ebay'ers aren't so kind, and you usually just end up waiting around until your parcel arrives. However, this was not the case this time, and it made me happy...until I actually tried to track the package.

This is where my story begins....

Sitting at my desk at work, I logged into the USPS website, and entered my tracking number, which I had copied and pasted from the email my ebay merchant was kind enough to send to me. Within moments, the website informed me that my package had been received and scanned, on April 23rd, in such-and-such town, North Carolina. It was being shipped Media Mail, which usually takes 2-9 days. (I'm betting on it being closer to 9)...I, being the perfectionist I so often am, felt that this was just not enough information. I wanted to know where the package was right now, and when I could expect it to show up in my mailbox. So, I did what any normal person would do. I called the USPS customer service and information hotline. Immediately, I was greeted by a warm, gentle, female voice. She was there to help me with all my US Postal Service needs, and all I had to do was speak in to the phone, and tell her what number selection I would like. First, we tried Track and Confirm. I read off my 16 digit number to her, and she promptly told me the exact same thing, word for word, that the website did previously. At this point, I already knew I was going to need to speak to Customer Service. So, again, like any normal person, I spoke clearly into the phone and said "Operator". This simple word, for most companies, would quickly have my call transferred...but oh ho ho, not the United States Postal Service! Do you know what "Operator" got me? Instructions...IN SPANISH! Guess what happens when it transfers you to the Spanish computer? You can't talk to it anymore, because I DON'T SPEAK SPANISH, and apparently, it doesn't understand English...

So I hang up.

I call back.

Once again, I'm welcomed by the nice, fairly attractive sounding woman. Rather than waste my time, and her megabytes, I clearly speak in to the phone, and this time, rather than "Operator", I try "Customer Service". "Excuse me", she says. "Did you say, Track and Confirm? Say yes, or say no." "NO" I say. "Ok then, please select the number of the option you wish to hear"....."Customer SERVICE".

This is already getting redundant.

"Excuse me, did you say Track and Confirm?" "NO! I SAID CUSTOMER SERVICE!!"

"OK, goodbye."

At this point, I have a handful of my own hair. My blood pressure is rising, my face is turning red, and I'm pretty sure there's an NSync song on the radio. Things are rapidly getting out of hand. I hit redial. She answers, her warm, inviting, sexy voice has been reduced to the equivalent of nails on a chalkboard...and into the phone, I simply state - "Let me talk to a person, bitch, or I will Kill YOU."

"Please hold, while I transfer you to the next available operator."

Finally. I'm in. She actually transferred me. I don't know how, I don't know why. I don't even care. All I know is, Allen has just picked up my call, and do you know what he tells me? "Sir, the number you recieved in that email is only a pick-up confirmation number. It doesn't actually track the package, but instead only tells you when the package was dropped off at one of our Postal Stations".

I thank Allen for his over-achievement and hard work, and hang up the phone.

Is there a moral to the story? Probably not... All I know is, my love for Newman was tainted today, and it's all thanks to the voice of a sultry diva, trapped in computer lingo.

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