Friday, June 24, 2011

Of Table and Penga Flaws

So we bought a dining table, which makes the house feel more like a home and less like a sock-sliding skate park for Sak.
But the table arrived with a bit of scratching on the top.

So what? Send it back and get a replacement, right?

It's embarrassing to admit, but I have a series of insane, irrational phobias. Enough to fill a few posts, I'm sure.  One of the most crippling is my fear of talking to strangers on the phone. Especially to customer service strangers.

No one likes talking to customer service, I know - but I will do a whole lot of silly things to avoid picking up the phone. Just the thought of having to call someone makes my stomach churn. And I cry after talking to service reps. At least 50% of the time. It's ridiculous. I'm not even a crier.

It started in college, with Charter, our ISP at the time.  They messed up my bill, and after I called them, they refused to change it. I was being double-billed, I think. The person's tone on the phone made me feel like I was in the wrong, which of course kick-started my "injustice" meter. It was upsetting, and multiple calls weren't getting me anywhere. Sak thinks it's because of my voice - I don't have a mean voice, and I cave to super-politeness and allow people step on me when cornered.

In the end, my roommate called pretending to be me, and what do you know, the problem was solved.  She was firm, loud, and convincing. My sanity saver!

We had (and continue to have) similar problems now that we've moved. AT&T has done a number of unsightly things to my account, forcing me to buy a modem I didn't need, charging me for service I didn't even get, and sneaking upgrades into my phone bill so I'd have to pay more.  Plus the $100 rebate for said unnecessary modem never came.  I've called four times, cried after each one, and even cried during one call out of frustration with a lady that once again demeaningly insinuated that it was my fault that there were errors in my bills. Though the double billing was eventually corrected, I still lost over $100 when all I wanted to do was move my existing service to my new house.

I don't begrudge the people on the other end of the phone - I did receptionist work for a short while myself, and cringed internally every time the phone would ring. I'm sure they don't mean to make my life miserable. But I hate the system. Many times I will actually write out, word for word, what I want to say on the phone before I make a call. Because I will blank out from fear and forget. I don't even really like talking to friends on the phone, it's awkward and I never know how to end a call without being rude.

Give me a face to face meeting.  Give me email or other electronic communication. I'll be more than fine.  But phones? I am a complete wuss. A pansy pushover. A doormat.

Anyway, you can see where this is going. I didn't call for a table replacement. I'm keeping it, scratch and all. 
I bought a Minwax stick to try and make it less noticeable though.

You just rub the wax into the scratch, and wipe it off with a cloth.

You can still see it, but if you didn't know to look for the flaw, you wouldn't notice.  Good enough, and if a scratch is the price I pay for not picking up the phone, it's a deal to me.

How do you deal with customer service reps? Squeaky wheel, killing with kindness?


  1. Oh man, I'm with you on the phone phobia! I always try to make Corey do any calls we need to do because I HATE talking to people on the phone!

  2. I hate it, but maybe not as much as you do. I know I hate it less than Todd, so I end up doing all the calling. I've gotten better at it, though!

    I think the table looks great!! (And what a pain it would have been to return it and all, too!)

  3. I so relate to not wanting to call customer service people. For me, I don't have a fear of the person, but of the act of asking for something - even if the company is in the wrong. Thank goodness I married someone who's mission in life is to kick ass and take customer service rep names!

  4. I don't enjoy it but I have to do it often with my job. I try to sound as firm as I can! Even if they don't like what they're doing or they do deal with jerk-face customers, THEY HAVE NO RIGHT to be mean to you!! You should always ask for their full name or something and they might help them tone it down cause you can probably report them (in a letter) to their boss!

  5. we all gotta pick and choose our battles, so good job on saving yourself some stress and just fixing it yourself!

  6. Why don't you get your husband to call for you?

    Where did you buy it from? You might look into their store policy, many places have easy returns. You might just be able to return in-store and then order a new one. Many companies also do business via online, so maybe you can search for customer service email/IM.


Your thoughts - go!