Friday, February 29, 2008

Instant karma's gonna get you

I gave my mom a gift certificate to Ebay for her birthday – I thought she might think it’s fun to look around at the weird stuff that people seem to hold on to for awhile but are willing to part with for a few bucks, like this
and this. She’s never e-bid before and I didn’t think she would if not e-nudged, so I thought it would be a no-brainer.

So, I used my PayPal account, which for you non-Ebayers is their preferred e-payment system, and purchased an e-gift certificate to be sitting waving at Mom in her inbox on her birthday. Of course, you see where this is e-going. It wasn’t there. Hmmm.

Let’s give it a day and see if it e-shows.

Still nothing? Okay, lemme call Ebay. Oh, I should call PayPal? Okay. E-bedtime though, will do it tomorrow.

PayPal doesn’t want to be talked to – robotic beings rule the world and the humans are dead, apparently. The phone menu dead-ends 3 different times. 15 e-minutes of pushing buttons (literal and figurative) later I’m chatting with my new friend G. I tell G. the e-problem. Hmmm, he says, and puts me on hold.

10 minutes later, G. has the e-solution. All Mom has to do is open a PayPal account and link it to her email; the gift certificate will appear as a balance in her account and she can bid away. Thank you, G., I say. Hey, by the e-way, I’m sure you hear this all the time, but your phone menu is really frustrating. Right, he says, I know. The next time you call (I have to call again?!?) don’t say anything at the prompts. Be e-silent.

Cool. I call Mom and tell her what’s what. E-bedtime though, she’ll do it tomorrow.

1 PayPal account later, $0.00 account balance. Hmmm. Gimme your password, I’ll bet it’s just something that needs e-clicked somewhere. Nope. Back on the phone, this time being e-silent.

15 e-minutes later, I’m chatting with my new friend D. I’ve just come from the weekly Lenten study about wrath, during which I marvel at people who rage out at the baristas at Starbucks about the quality of their foam. I have work to do. I want to watch Project Runway to see if Romi can knock off that creepy Chris guy. I think I have the flu. In all fairness to D., I am full on e-grumpy. I tell D. my problem, and that I’m concerned that the solution G. gave me didn’t e-work. What’s your mom’s email address? Hmmm, says D. and puts me on hold.

No, no, no, what G. told you wasn’t right (silly girl, listening to the advice of the company’s customer service rep) – here’s the e-problem. You need a redemption code for the gift certificate. Shall I email it to you?

NO! I want you to tell it to me now. (random series of letters and numbers given and confirmed). I know you can’t e-control what your other agents do or say, but I can’t believe it took 2 phone calls to fix a simple problem and what one of your people told me was just plain wrong! This is ridiculous!

D. e-apologizes on behalf of G., and says he’ll email me the redemption code just in case. Thank you for calling PayPal.

THE PLEASURE IS MINE! I e-snarl. Cell phones don’t have the same satisfaction of hanging up on someone when you’re angry.

The next morning, I check my email to find that D. did indeed send info on how to redeem the gift certificate, including the redemption code. There’s also this snippet, pasted directly from the original:

Thank you for contacting PayPal. This is D; we spoke on the phone earlier. I wanted to forward instructions on how to use the gift certificate that you sent to your mother. I also wanted to apologize in behalf of our company for the misinformation by the previous representative and also for the inconvenience that this issue has caused. I want you to know that I have personally reported this incident to my supervisor. I hope that in the future, if I am given the opportunity to assist you again, you will be more cheerful next time around. I was really hurt that you were taking out your frustrations on me even if I was able to resolve your problem.

Okay, now I feel e-bad. It has to be a thankless job as no one calls customer service just to say “hey, you’re doing a great job in there.” The fact that I had just been contemplating the separation from God that wrath can create not 45 minutes before speaking with D. made my heart sink. It made me feel like a miserable person. I wanted to call D. and apologize, or send coffee and donuts to wherever his cubicle may be. But then I see it… the address line at the top of the screen…

D. e-tattled -- this email went not just to me, but also to my mom.

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