After all was said and done, it seemed to be the month everyone tried to screw me.
First there was Dan, my son’s pitching coach. Dan charges, of course, by the lesson, and I’d started out buying a 5 pack and followed it up with a 10 pack, so let’s say 15 altogether. I had six lessons left when I reach out to schedule the next two (Parker was learning to hit so both boys were getting lessons now). After we’d settled on a time, Dan replied: “We also have to re-sign you up on Tuesday.”
After being confused by this statement, I wrote: “Thought I had 6 or so lessons left. I can check.”
What followed was quite a bit of back and forth debating how many lessons remained. Now, I certainly make mistakes, but I pride myself on being pretty organized. I took a good 30 minutes after his text to research both my calendar and our texts to see what was what. I wrote down the date of each lesson we’d had so far. I saw I was right – we had six left.
One of the dates Dan said we had a lesson turned out to be a time he suggested but I declined. The unfortunate element of getting into something like this with a service provider is you never really know if they truly accept your version of reality, or if they’re just surrendering in order to keep a customer happy. Either way, these misunderstandings are unfortunate. I’ve often wished Dan had a better system, like having parents initial a form next to the lesson number just received so all were always on the same page.
The first was for the usual monthly retainer I pay him to keep the books, record transactions, handle whatever forms the government demands I fill out, etc. The second was for filing my taxes, which I had assumed was included in the retainer. Once again, it looked like someone was either being sloppy or trying to get over on me. I fired off a nice email to him (always stay nice) and got an out-of-office reply – I’m still waiting to hear back.
And then the coup de grace came from Regus — the company which runs the office space I use. Now, I have been a Regus customer for a good six years and, in that time, they have managed to screw up my billing every single time I’ve switched plans (which is about 3 overall). And when I say screw up the billing, I mean they continue to charge for the old plan (which supposedly has been cancelled) AND start charging for the new plan.
The last time I changed plans in January, I specifically told the manager of the problem I’d always had and he assured me it wouldn’t happen again. Well, wouldn’t you know it, a few days ago I was notified of two charges being applied to my credit card by Regus — both for similar (but not exactly the same) amounts. The charges looked like monthly fees, each for a different plan. When I tried to find the invoices that the charges were for, I found one but not the other. I sent the transaction statement to Regus and asked where the missing invoice was, which they quickly found and sent over. I was stunned. The invoice was for one of my old account numbers.
After letting them know about this I, of course, received a reply that I was right – “It seems like they are still generating an invoice with your old account and we need to correct this.”
And oh, it gets worse, rather than saying we’re going to fix this, I was told:
“The easy and the quick way to correct this is, you can call Help Desk at Regus @ 1.888.866.9799 OR I can raise a ticket to our billing team which can take a long time. Let me know if you have any further questions.”
Now I was mad. So YOU screwed up as a company, and are telling me the easy and quick way to get it solved was for ME to take MY time, get on the phone with a stranger and play, “parse the account numbers” until they understood what the hell I was talking about. No thanks.
I replied: “Please raise the ticket and have them ensure I didn’t miss any other bills that were generated from this old account which I paid. Let me know how it goes.”
The next time I went into the office I had a talk with the manager Lara, who had sent the above emails.
“Lara, I’ve got to tell you something, and I hope you understand. Nothing is more important to me than my time. I’ve got a business to run. I’ve got to spend my time thinking about it and not fixing a problem your company caused. I don’t care if it takes longer for you to solve it, because that’s your time being spent, not mine. In fact, the suggestion that it’s easier for me to solve your problem than for you to do it infuriates me.”
But then again, I’ve always been pretty intolerant of wasting my time. I can remember waiting to interview for an assistant manager job at a pool when I was 17 or so. The manager wanted me to get the job; and all I had to do was get through an interview with the recreation director or whoever she was. I was on time for my appointment, but from where I was sitting, I could hear her having a nice personal chat while my appointment time came and went. It was at least 15 minutes past our meeting time when she came out to get me. I was visibly irritated and, when she asked me why, I told her.
Yes, this caused a big hullabaloo, but my manager (I’d been a lifeguard at the pool for years) fought for me to get the job and won.
People guard their money with their lives, yet fritter away their time as if it’s nothing. To me, there’s actually nothing more important. Napoleon once said, “Space we can recover, time never.” Small wonder then I’ve got little patience for those who look to waste mine.