Earlier this week the home phone rang and as usual I ignored it because 99% of the calls we get aren’t for me anyways. After a very brief conversation, the wife hung up and said to me; “That’s funny, it was somebody asking if this was Parade of Shoes”.
This reminded of a little story I can tell all of you little bloggers out there in blog land.
Long, long ago, in the hip happening year of 2003. Back before the Iraq war became a total quagmire, and before you needed a second mortgage to afford gasoline. There was once a company that printed phone books in the state of Maryland. One day, this printing company mistakenly printed the phone number of my sweet little bachelor pad condo in northwest Cincy as the number for the Parade of Shoes Connecticut based corporate billing offices. So, if an angry Parade of Shoes customer in Maryland had a billing problem, they called me to complain about it. And I lived happily ever after as I was able to entertain myself for months with this scenario…the end.
Naturally as the bachelor I was in those days, it was not unusual for me to unwind from a stressful day of work by stripping down to my underwear and kicking back with a bottle of vodka. Then just as I would get “loosened up” from the alcohol, I would get a call from some woman who had a discrepancy on her credit card bill. Most of the time it would be a boring call from a fairly courteous woman, and I would quietly inform her that the number was a misprinting. But the best times were when it was some total b-otch who wouldn’t stop yelling long enough for me to tell her it was a wrong number because being the comedian (or maybe bastard) that I am, I always had to mess them.
When it first started, the plan was always just to give them a fake runaround. I would ask the woman to “please hold”, and then I would put the phone down for a few minutes before coming back. Then I would pick up the phone and casually say, “Where may I direct your call?” to which she would ask in an irritated voice to speak to someone about her bill. So I would say, “Please hold for billing”. Then after another couple minutes, I would casually say “Shipping department, how can I help you?” and there would usually be a brief pause as she would recognize the same voice as before. And in an even more irritated voice would insist that her call is for billing. So, I would “put her on hold” again and then come back and say, “Sales department, how many pairs would you like to purchase?” and she would usually recognize the same voice for the third time which would maker her really mad. So typically after yelling into the phone to speak to my manager, I would of course, you got it, take the call as the manager. Then finally when she would get to the point where she would say that she will never deal with Parade of Shoes again, I would say, “Oh, this isn’t Parade of Shoes, it’s Shoe Parade. We are, in no way, affiliated with Parade of Shoes.”
As I grew tired of the fake runaround game, I began taking calls as a billing representative. After hearing about the complaint, I would assure her that the problem would be fixed immediately, no matter what it was. And I do mean ‘no matter what’. Even if the woman thought a 10% discount on $50 shoes would make her bill $20. This by the way would shut her up very quickly; Hmm, I may have to try this with a screaming infant next time I’m near one. Anyways, I would always say that I will have to first clear the purchase through the inventory system before the billing system would allow any changes, and would first need to know the brand, style, size, store where they were purchased, salesman’s name, serial number, receipt number, inventory number, and the destitute third world country where they were manufactured which should all be easily found on either the receipt or the box. Incidentally, when she would tell me the size and serial number off the box, I would inform her that the serial number doesn’t correspond to a size 6 (for example) shoe, it actually corresponds to a size 12 shoe. After asking if she was SURE she wears a size 6 and is not just trying to flatter me, I would regretfully inform her that the discrepancy in shoe and box will make this process more difficult. When they of course couldn’t come up with all the information, I would inform her that we have to use the security cameras at the store to verify that she bought, not stole them. I would then ask what she looks like, what she wore that day, what any companions looked like, and if she has any easily identifiable tattoos. After (and I am not making this up) receiving this information from the caller, I would inform her that we will review all the tape from the store during the time she was there and then send that tape to the department of customer account verification, who would send the report to the bill editing department who would fix the problem. Then I would tell them to look for the changes on their bill after the next 3 months.
By the way, I thought this forum was funny when I found it at Yahoo answers.
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