I read a lot of comic strips. Every now and again, one is so perfect I have to share it. I give you Patrick McDonnell’s Mutts for September 12, 2002:
I have never in my life encountered so much resistance from a company i was TRYING to give money to.
Let me preface this entry by saying that I’ve by and large been very happy with Sprint PCS as a cell phone provider. They give me a metric ton of minutes for a very reasonable price, including long-distance. (The cellphone was an absolute sanity-saver when kitanzi and I were still dating long-distance.) I’ve had very few service issues in the time I’ve had the phone, almost a year now.
So today I went to pay my bill. Shouldn’t be a big deal, there’s a store not far from my office, on the way to lots of good stuff to eat, so I decided I’d swing by there on the way to having lunch with my co-worker, Aileen. Stopped by the store and they said “Sorry, we can’t take any payments now, the computers are down.”
Well, that happens. No big deal, I figured I’d just drop by when we got done with lunch. So we proceeded down to Schlotzsky’s Deli for lunch and conversation, then dropped back by to see if the computers were back up. “Yes they are, but you need to make the payment in the self-service kiosk.”
This rather annoys me, since if I’d wanted to do it all myself, I could have done it on the web and saved a trip. But I dutifully go over to the kiosk, wait in line for five minutes while watching the two “customer service” reps sit doing nothing. I finally get to the screen, enter the appropriate data, and it says “Enter your password”. Um, I don’t have a password, and without one, it only wants to accept cash, not a check. So I go over to the CSR, who tells me the password and sends me back to the computer. It still doesn’t offer to let me pay by check. I inform the CSR of this, and she looks me in the eye and with a straight face, utters the most absurd thing I’ve heard today:
“Well, i can process your payment, but there will be a five dollar charge.”
So, in order to hand my check to a human being, I have to pay an extra five bucks? This is customer service?
I shouldn’t be surprised. They also charge you three dollars to speak to a human being on their customer service line. I think my exact response was “You’ve got to be kidding me?” After being informed that no, this was not her idea of a droll prank, I muttered, “I *don’t* have time for this” and stalked out.
Aileen did her best to remind me that it was a beautiful sunny day and that it wasn’t worth being too upset about, so by the time I got back to the office, I was mostly calm. I went to the Sprint webpage, logged in, and submitted my payment in short order. Next time I’ll just do that the first time.
But am I the only person who finds it morbidly amusing that a communications company is going through so much trouble to prevent you from ever actually talking to them?