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Friday, May 4, 2007

Dreary Friday...

You know, today just seemed to be one of those pseudo-worthless days. It really was. The weather sucked (it was generally overcast and/or light rain), it was Friday (so the ambition to work wasn't high), and I was just tired all day. That kinda followed through when I got home, too. I made some supper and decided to just sit down for the evening. We watched 'A Prairie Home Companion' because it'd been a while, and all was good.

I saw a really funny thing (to me) at work today, and it made my morning at least. In one of my daily work-related e-newsletters I receive, there was a quote to the effect of:

SELECT * FROM user WHERE clue > 0
(0 rows returned)

Basically, this is an SQL statement that queries the users table for records where the clue value is > 0. In layman's terms, it's looking for non-clueless users (and obviously not finding any). Since I use SQL statements and queries every day at work, this sort of humor is not lost on me.

Since I don't really have anything exciting to write about and since I'm thinking of it...I'm sharing a follow-up to a story that I don't recall posting about (and in a quick search doesn't appear I posted about). You see, now several months ago when I purchased an item, I was offered a $10 rebate by signing up for a trial service (one of those deals where you sign up, submit for your $10 rebate, then call the number and cancel the service before you're charged for it). So, being the somewhat thrifty one I am, I went for it.

That was mistake #1. Now, the process actually went pretty well (I did just what I'd mentioned, submitted request then canceled service) and I thought I was all done with that company. Thought being the operative word. Shortly after Kirstin was born, we started receiving calls from this company (presumably trying to sell me something of great value which I couldn't go without). I never really did find out, because every time someone actually answered the phone, nobody would pick up on the other end and some sort of automated thing would ramble off some numbers to call back (and apologize for nobody being available).

Well, having a very new born child in the house when this happens doesn't exactly a stress-free environment create. This went on for nearly a month; the calls would usually be 2-3 per day, about 3-4 days per week. And here again, nobody ever available to answer. At least not when I was home. So one time I called the number back (on my dime, no less) and went through the automated process to remove my number from their calling lists. Of course I got the standard disclaimer that it may take up to thirty (30) days to fully remove me from the list! THIRTY DAYS! Ah well, if it ended eventually, I'd be happy.

Well, the calls kept coming, and about a week and a half later, I was finally able to talk to someone. Long story short, I asked the gal about the do not call registry and requested to be put on their no call list (or removed from it completely). Each time I asked about this, I was told that she would do it. Note, each time I asked. There would be periods of silence, then I'd ask to be taken off the list. She would say 'I can do that for you...' then silence, and I'd ask again. Never a confirmation. This leads me to believe that she was not to actually be taking people off their list. So, after that brief encounter and based upon a question I had about the 'nobody is available' answering machine message when they called (I asked her why that was -- I knew she wouldn't have an answer for me), I asked to speak with a supervisor and then waited about 8 minutes for that to come through. Of course, while I was waiting (I wasn't on hold), I asked the gal another two times to please remove me from the list...to which I got the same response as before, 'I can do that...'

Anyway, I got through to the supervisor. I asked my question about their system, to which I was informed that it should not be doing that (which of course I rebutted again), and then informed her that if it's not to be doing that she should have someone look into it, because that's what's happening. And after that encounter, I once again demanded to be taken off their lists. I was once again informed of the thirty day problem and some BS excuse they have for taking so long. Working in a data-oriented technical occupation (such as a software engineer), I know exactly that the reasons she gave me were completely bogus. But that's neither here nor there.

After some more exchange about this, I explained my frustration and then when she started getting defensive I put it all out on the table (in a mild-mannered yet forceful way):

Listen, I have a one-month old that wakes up every time you bastards call, and when I don't get to even talk to anyone, it gets really fucking old, really fast.
She apologized for my inconvenience, then assured me I would be removed from the list (and if I received any further calls in the next thirty days to please just ignore then).

I was thinking about that on my way to work this morning, and realized that we have not received a single call from that organization since my exchange that night. I'm guessing that speaking with the supervisor and explaining the situation (going so far as to include the quote above) got some action to take place.

The moral of the story -- don't be afraid to stand up and demand that 'your will be done' as it were, especially when you've been reasonable in the past. This sort of thing has worked for me in the past, and I only really break out the big guns when I'm feeling particularly unheard. And if your voice still seems to go unheard (especially for the telemarketer angle), claim you have a one month old child that wakes up every time. Nearly guaranteed to probably get some action. :)

So anyway, that's my story for the night. Seeing as how it's now past 11:30, I'm heading for bed.

Until next time...

--MZ

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