Friday Afternoon Confessional: The fight that needn’t happen
I confess when potentially confrontational situations approach, I anticipate arguments raised by the party with which I expect to be in a confrontation. By doing this, I formulate my arguments ahead of time in the hopes of presenting my case calmly and rationally. An unfortunate side effect is I tend to get worked up in these hypothetical arguments and upset with my hypothetical adversaries. I confess this is a silly and ridiculous situation.
It is perhaps most silly and ridiculous when it leaves me geared up for a fight that never happens. It’s ridiculous because I go in ready for the fight, and leave with a slight feeling of bewilderment and disappointment after getting precisely what I was going to fight for.
The best example I can think of was when I was assessed over $100 in fees by a bank whose account I had closed. The bank had advised I leave a few dollars in the account and let a month go by to make sure all my transactions had cleared. Well, I forgot about the account a month later and it just sat there open and accumulating fees for having a balance less than the required amount (or some other damn fee). After a couple of months, the money I had left in there wasn’t enough to cover these fees and they started assessing me with $25 insufficient funds fees. After a few of these, they sent me a nasty letter saying I owed them a pretty large (for me, at the time) sum.
I called their 1-800 number to dispute and ended up explaining the ridiculousness of this situation – in a heated manner – to some poor customer service woman. My tone was heated enough that the woman on the phone explained there was nothing she could do and she was going to end the phone call so I would stop yelling at her. I apologized for yelling and told her I would resolve the issue in person at my local branch.
Expecting the same fight at the local branch, I took the paper trail of my story in and pieced together my argument and responses to anticipated answers. When I sat down in front of the proper bank employee I explained that I was assessed a bunch of fees, basically for forgetting that I had left about $25 in the account like the bank had recommended.
She said, “Oh, this happens all the time and it’s ridiculous. I’ll waive those fees and close out your account.”
“Oh, okay. Thank you.” I then proceeded to walk out of the bank in a kind of haze.
Basically, we’ve come to a point where we’re gobsmacked when we receive competent customer service from a reasonable employee. We’re – at the very least, I’m – so used to getting crapped on by businesses we’re thankful for the business that we thought was going to crap on us but at the last moment, doesn’t. It doesn’t occur to us we shouldn’t have been in the position in the first place. I confess to feeling like this phenomenon has spread out to nearly every aspect of our lives, not just customer service, and also confess to hoping somebody can point out areas where this isn’t the case.
I confess that while I don’t remember making this complaint before, I have a vague feeling that the theme of this confessional is probably familiar in this space. If that causes eye rolls accompanied with “This again?”, I apologize and am already formulating my response to such complaints.
What about you, good reader? Perhaps you are a person whose job is to dole out this bad news to customers and you’d like to confess the inner turmoil that results from having to do so. If so, I promise not to unleash dozens of years of pent-up frustration upon you. If not, feel free to confess whatever else might be troubling you.
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