Monday, July 7, 2008

Why English Teachers Get Grey Hairs

I ordered something from an online vendor. Said item should have arrived by last Wednesday at the latest. Because it still had not arrived today, I spoke with the customer service line for the site. Or at least I tried to speak with whoever was manning that line.

Me: I'm inquiring about order #555666. It has not arrived yet.

Them: Hmmm, order #555666. We show that it has been shipped.

Me: That's what you showed two weeks ago. The package was supposed to arrived in 3 to 5 business days.

Them: Well then, it should already have gotten there.

Me: Well, no, that's why I'm calling. It hasn't arrived.

Them: Are you sure?

Me: (Gritting teeth) Yes, I'm sure I haven't gotten the package yet.

Them: That's really strange. It should have arrived already.

Me: Do you have a tracking number for the package?

Them: I'm sorry miss but we delete tracking numbers six days after an order ships because the order has already gotten to where it is going.

Me: Is there some way you can find out what happened to my package?

Them: Let me put you on with my manager.

Long Pause

Them: This is________. I understand you've lost a package?

Me: (Teeth being worn down to stubs from gritting) I ordered something that has never been delivered.

Them: Have you checked with your neighbors?

Me: (Patience long gone) Yes! And the package simply has never been delivered!

Me: You know what? Please cancel the order. I don't want the item any longer.

Them: I'm going to have to check with the shipping department before I can cancel the order miss.

Me: Why?

Them: To find out if the item has already been sent.

Me: (Slightly dumbfounded) You told me that the item shipped two weeks ago. Your web site shows that information.

Them: Yes miss, the order was shipped from us to the shipping department who is responsible for sending out the package.

Me: Let me get this straight. When you posted on your site that my order had been shipped you meant that you had sent the order to your shipping department? That didn't mean that the order was on its way to me?

Them: No miss, we shipped the order to the shipping department. They are the ones that do the sending.

Sound of a phone line being disconnected.

I called my credit card company and put a cancellation on the charge for the item. In a strange sort of way there was a certain logic to the manager's conversation. I suppose that if you complain to the complaint department then you must ship to the shipping department. And I used to think that I spoke English.


Anonymous said...

Your experience is becoming commonplace. Welcome to the world of outsourced customer service, where the person you are talking to is probably on another continent, in a different time zone and for whom English is surely not a first language.

Anonymous said...

Even worse than that is when you have to listen to pre-recorded messages and decide what option corresponds to your case before you can actually talk to a real person.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry miss but we delete tracking numbers six days after an order ships because the order has already gotten to where it is going.

That is possibly the most idiotic policy I have ever heard of. A company with a stupid policy like that deserves to go out of business. Who were they? Tell us so that we don't make the mistake of ordering from them!

Anonymous said...

I can top your experience. I called the help line for a business and couldn't understand the person's English at all. I kept asking him to repeat things for me and to go slower. He then got frustrated with me and said "Why you not spik Spanish like other Americans?" I hung up and I also cancelled an order I had made. It's not one company that has this problem--it's hundreds.

Anonymous said...

I'm with Sam. Why is it that I called a US company that has been in business here for over 100 years and on the menu they gave me "To continue in English" was the fourth choice, not the automatic default?

Anonymous said...

Thought you might enjoy this one. My English/Hebrew name is Masha. I got a letter from my insurance company and I called to ask a few questions. I didn't really notice but on the letter they sent it to Mr. Masha___ instead of Mrs. Masha___. The person at the insurance company did notice. He told me that he could only discuss the information with Mr. Masha because that is the law. I tried to explain that they had made a mistake but I was told that I would have to submit in writing proof that it was Mrs. not Mr. Okay, a mistake is a mistake. Why was this one so funny? Because the procedures that were being billed for were a mammogram and a visit to the gynecologist!