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Tuesday, May 3, 2016

What we have here is a lack of communication

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Remember the line from the Paul Newman movie where the cruel gang boss said that the problem was a lack of communication? Of course the problem was not the communication. The problem was the people involved.

Last week our family stepped into a quagmire of communication problems over a cell phone. Of course cell phones are wonderful things. They can let you talk to someone half the nation away who is riding in a car while you are on horseback in Missouri. It's unbelievable. But first the cell phone has to work properly.

One that we had ordered did not work properly. In fact it did not work at all. So Lester called customer service to get help. After reading off many lists of code numbers from the innards of the phone, and giving our vital statistics including the last four numbers of his social security number, the service operator assured Lester that things would be taken care of. But she needed to transfer him to another department.

Fifteen minutes later, after hearing the same commercials a dozen times, another voice (with an accent) came on the phone and thanked him for his patience. If she had actually seen him she could have known that there was not much patience left, but when she began asking the same questions over again, there obviously was none left. All the numbers from the ailing phone had to be repeated as well as the social security number, landline telephone number and names.

Finally, she suggested that we go to a local dealer who would be able to help us. However, when that trip was made we discovered that if the phone had not been bought at the store, they were not able to help us. It seems there is a difference between a store that sells equipment and a corporate store that can also give service.

Another series of calls to customer service got us a very nice man who was trying to help by arranging a switch if we would go to Joplin where there is a corporate store. Since we had a doctor appointment in Joplin we opted to try that procedure.

The doctor appointment went nicely but the hour and a half standing in the store did not go as well. I'll save the details since I can't remember them all and didn't understand what the problems were, but we finally left the store with a more expensive phone since they did not have the model we had ordered in that store.

When we got home and inserted the card that was left from the previous phone; it didn't work. Customer service was called again and they checked to find that the card was no good -- it had been used up somehow. They would send us a new one or we could go to town and buy one and they would reimburse us.

Another round trip to town found a wonderful clerk who not only could sell us the card, but he put it in, called the server and got it going for us. A very happy Marilyn was reunited with her cellmates and texting partners. We were ONLY out quite a few dollars, some of which are to be refunded, two trips to town, raised blood pressure, and tears.

I remembered those nostalgic days when we complained that the teenagers talked on the phone too long and one of our biggest problems was seeing the kids race each other to get the phone when it rang. Those were the good old days!

Carolyn Gray Thornton
Middle Age Plus