Telemarketers are forever calling. Even though we have robo-block with our phone company, they still manage to get through. When the latest one called our home, I decided to have a little fun with him, but ended the call soon into the conversation. I was laughing too hard to continue so I just hung up.
Me: (Knowing it’s a telemarketer from the caller ID) Hello?
Max: Hello, Ma’am. This is Max from – (name of company that I could not understand at all because of his thick accent).
Me: What did you say your name was?
Max: Max; M-A-X.
Me: Oh, Max! Okay. Well, what’s your last name?
Max: Well...W-E-L-L. (I’m openly laughing on the phone). Ma’am, why you smiling at me (Now, I’m really laughing and can’t speak).
Me: (After a few seconds to compose myself) Well is not a last name. It’s part of the name Maxwell. Max is just short for Maxwell, like a nickname.
Max: No, no, that is my full name; Max….(I had to hang up).
I placed my Christmas order for chocolates, as I do every year, with Swiss Colony. In the 35 years I’ve been ordering from them, they’ve always been punctual, with the exception of twice. I called on a Saturday and spoke to customer service to ask where my order was.
Me: I see by the tracking that it’s in Atlanta, Georgia and has been for the past ten days. The Christmas party is this coming Friday and I need some of those packages by Thursday night, four or five days from now.
SC: Let me check your tracking. Can you give me the order number please? (I gave my order number, verified my address, and type of payment.) Yes, I see your order. What did you need to know?
Me: It was supposed to be here by the 15th. It’s stuck in Atlanta so I wanted to know what was going on.
SC: It’s in Atlanta, Georgia from what I can see.
Me: I said that already. I know where it is, but I want to know why it is there and not here. As I said, it’s supposed to have been here by the 15th of December.
SC: I don’t know why it’s there. You are the fourth phone call today about missing packages and all four have been stuck in Atlanta. I’ve already given out three free orders today and I’m not giving out another one (she said this with more haughtiness in her voice than I cared to hear).
Sensing a challenge – Me: Well, it looks like you’re giving out another one then because I need some of those things by Thursday for the Friday Christmas party.
(I felt like a parrot having to repeat myself to her so many times)
SC: Something is going on in Atlanta, and they’ll probably be there by Monday. If not, just give it until Wednesday and then call us back and we’ll send out another order.
Me: Oh, so you’re going to Overnight Express them to me if I don’t have them by Wednesday?
SC: Overnight Express? No, that costs way too much money. They’ll come regular USPS.
Me: I just told you, twice, I need them by Thursday so if I have to wait until Wednesday for you to send out a replacement order, then you’ll be over-nighting them to me. What is your name again?
SC: Hold on. I’m going to put you on hold for a couple of minutes and try to figure this out.
I can tell she’s perturbed. She has so much attitude that I just want to tell her off. However, she’s holding my goodies hostage so I bite my tongue and just remain firm with her.
She comes back on the phone – SC: Did it snow down there?
Me: Yes, yesterday.
As if she’s trying to prove something to me, she says with a full-blown attitude – SC: Where?
Me, confirming what she already knows: In Atlanta.
SC: That is what the hold up is! You’re not used to snow in the southern regions and it’s held up the Atlanta post office. I’m NOT sending a replacement order!
Me: Excuse me. I’m in South Carolina. It snowed in Atlanta YESTERDAY, meaning my packages have been in Atlanta for ten days BEFORE it snowed. Are you telling me they knew it was going to snow ten days in advance and closed everything down until after the snowstorm passed?
(10 second pause) SC: Hold on.
I wasn’t put on hold so I can hear her talking to a supervisor or someone over her. I cannot hear what they’re saying, but the other person does not sound happy. I mentally dared whomever to be upset with me. I was already dealing with this person’s unhappy tone; I was not going to put up with another.
SC: Okay, we’ll send out a replacement order. They’ll prepare it tomorrow and it will go in the mail on Monday (As if it were an afterthought, she snaps), and we’re not sending the free gift with it, either!
Me: That’s fine; I just want the other packages that I have as gifts.
SC: Fine. Your order should arrive no later than Wednesday. If your original order has already arrived, call us back and let us know. You can either return the replacement order or we’ll just bill you for it.
The original order arrived Tuesday night as the post office had extended their delivery times due to it being the Christmas holidays. The replacement order came Thursday afternoon. I did not call Swiss Colony back, either. They could tell by the tracking both packages had arrived.
In all of the thirty-plus-years I have dealt with them, I’ve only had to request a replacement order once because the post office lost the package. In the thirty-plus-years with them, I have never, not once, dealt with one of their customer service representatives with that attitude.
Swiss Colony, not only has the finest chocolates and deserts, but they’ve always had the finest people working for them, except that one. I will not judge them for that; they are way too awesome. I’m pretty sure the other person I heard in the background took care of the situation anyway.
I received a call from one of those telemarketer scammers. I was in a good mood so, I decided to let him go through his scammer spiel.
“Ms. Cox,” he begins as he tries to pronounce my name through his Middle Eastern accent, “do you remember about six months ago you paid $299 for a warranty for your computer?”
“No, I do not remember that,” I stated honestly. “I don’t recall paying $299 for anything, much less a warranty for my computer.”
“Well, you did,” he insists.
I start laughing. “No, I did not.”
“Yes, yes, you did,” he repeats.
“What’s your name?” I ask. “Tell me your name.”
“My name is Henry,” he answers.
“Where are you from?”
“Georgia State or Georgia County?” I ask in attempts to throw him off. It worked because he answered county. “Oh, downstate Georgia?”
“Yes, downstate. Do you remember having a warranty on your computer?” he said trying to redirect me back to the scam.
“No, I do not have a warranty,” I said again laughing and then hung up.
Two weeks later, Henry calls me back, and again, insists I have paid $299 for a warranty for my computer.
“Is this Henry again?” I ask a little amused.
“Yes, it is Henry.”
I shake my head into the phone and explain patiently, “Henry, I did not pay you $299 for any kind of warranty, much less one for my computer.”
“Yes, you did.”
“What card did I use then?”
He wasted no time answering, “Visa. If you give me your numbers on your card I can verify it with the one I have on file.”
I openly laughed at him. “I don’t think so, Henry. Please don’t call back.”
He did call back a week or so later. I just laughed and hung up on him. Again, a week or so afterwards, another phone call. I hung up that time, too. On Henry’s fifth try, I was exasperated.
I finally asked, “Henry, do you know why I laugh at you and hang up all the time?”
“Because I don’t have a computer in my house. I’m old and I don’t use them. My kids have a laptop, not a computer, but they do not live with me. That’s how I know I did not give you $299 at any time for anything, ever.”
I think we broke up. Henry hasn’t called me back since.
I was out grocery shopping one afternoon when a woman and I walked into the store at the same time. I went on about my business and figured she did the same. However, I noticed she always seemed to be on the same aisle that I was and although we had come into the store at the same time, I still felt as though she was following me.
No matter where I went in the store, she was there. I was even more convinced that it was not a coincidence when I skipped two rows ahead and she was still right behind me. I backtracked to the two rows I missed, and there she was again.
When I checked out, she checked out at the next counter. By the time I was walking out to my car, I was perturbed. I wasn’t afraid. No, I was quite irritated. Those that know me, know I have no qualms about speaking my peace. I say things before I think about them.
As I pushed the buggy toward my car I heard someone behind me calling, “Ma’am, Ma’am, can I speak to you for a minute?”
Thanks to those eyes my daughter was convinced I had in the back of my head, I knew who it was. “What do you want?” I said as I spun around to face her.
“I’m sorry, but I was following you in the store,” she confessed.
“Yeah, I noticed. What do you want?” I repeated.
“I noticed that you buy a lot of healthy nutritious foods and not a lot of the processed food,” she explained. “You know, you’re buying fresh fruits and vegetables and not chips and dips for your family.”
Now, I was really confused. Was she really following me around to see what kinds of food I was buying? What was wrong with this woman? With what I know had to have been a look of confusion on my face, I asked, “What about it?”
Without any hint of hesitation, she answered, “Well, some friends of mine and I are starting a new group in town called Over Eaters Anonymous and I was wondering if you’d like to join us?”
“Why would you ask a perfect stranger something like that?” I asked.
With a small smile she answered, “Like I said, I noticed you buy healthier foods and you have a weight problem.”
“I have a weight problem?” I asked incredulously. “What gave me away? Was it the way I walked, the overhanging gut, or was it how my fat ass is squeezed into my blue jeans and will probably need to be squeegeed off of me later?”
“Here’s my card if you decide you’d like to join us,” she said laughingly as she passed me a business card. Right at the top it said “Over Eaters Anonymous.”
“Sweetheart, there is nothing anonymous about an over eater,” I replied as I stuck her card into my purse. “You can’t miss us. Just look for the sign on our rear-ends that say we’re hauling a double load.”
I wanted to take some online classes so I went to the Unemployment Office and applied for a grant to cover the expenses. I had to jump through all the hoops in order to get it, too. One of the things I had to do was spend six hours taking a test; eight hours if you count the two-hour lunch break we were given.
Those of us who were there for the test were informed that we had to pass a ninth grade level of math, reading/vocabulary, and comprehension. If we received any score lower than ninth grade, we would not be eligible for the grant. Whatever!
We started the testing with about a dozen prospective students. I answered the questions to the best of my knowledge. I wasn’t in a hurry with my answers, either. I also noticed a lot of IQ questions in the mix of all three subjects. I thought that was pretty slick. Although, I didn’t finish the test before anyone else, I certainly didn’t finish it last so I surmised I did okay.
I noticed upon our return from the two-hour lunch break that several of my fellow testers did not return. Once I finished my test, I decided to ask one of the monitors where they all went.
“I have no idea,” she answered. “They just didn’t come back from lunch. It happens quite a bit here.”
Wow! Someone offering to help people get an education and instead of taking advantage of the opportunity, they blew it off. I was flabbergasted.
My test results came in two weeks later and I was called in for a review with my caseworker. As I sat across from her at her desk, she reminded me of the requirements of eligibility; I had to score at least a ninth grade level.
“It seems your math score is the lowest,” she said with boldness and authority while looking at my test scores. “You barely scored on a sixth grade level, and that’s just basic math, but your vocabulary and comprehension scores a little higher at seventh grade entry levels.”
My jaw hit the desk. “What?”
“Yes,” she answered, “And we also put some IQ questions in there to see how well our test subjects would score and you’re in the low-average range.”
“Wait a minute,” I said interrupting her. “I think you pulled someone else’s scores. Maybe one of those who didn’t finish their tests?”
She glanced at the folder again before asking, “Why would you say that?”
“Because I’m a college graduate. I’m a nurse and we have to be able to do math. In order to pass the pharmacology class, we had to score a perfect 100 doing complicated mathematical equations. We have to know how to convert the dosages in case the doctor orders in one strength and the pharmacy can only bring us another, and you’re telling me I barely scored on a sixth grade level? I don’t believe it. As for the vocabulary and comprehension part, I challenge that, as well.”
My caseworker leaned back in her chair and looked at the folder again. Ignoring my response to the math test completely, she asked with a little less boldness in her tone, “Why are you challenging the vocabulary and comprehension?”
I shook my head and answered, “Because I’m an accomplished writer. Not only have I written columns for the newspaper for several years in the past, I also have two books published. You’re telling me I have the intellect of an entry level seventh grader?”
She laid the folder on the desk. With amusement, I could tell at first she didn’t know what to say. Finally, she determined that it must have to do with my low IQ scores.
“Really?” I said incredulously. “Well, I’ve taken two IQ test before in my life and on the first one, I scored 126; the second 128. I believe the genius level is 130. Is this the Unemployment Office’s way of getting out of following through on the grants they offered everyone?”
“No, no,” she denied quickly, “This is all legit.”
I noticed the bold authoritative tone had disappeared. “You are not going to sit there and tell me I scored at sixth and seventh grade level with a low-average IQ score. I know different.” I held my hand out for the folder. “I want to see the test scores for myself.”
She hugged the folder to her chest. “I’m sorry; we are not allowed to show anyone their test scores.”
I was quickly losing my patience. Before I was amused, but now, I wasn’t so humored. “That’s not true, either,” I said looking her straight in the eye. “By all legal means, if my name is on anything, I have the right to see it. My name is on those test results therefore, legally, you have to show them to me if I ask and I am asking!”
“Hold on a minute,” she said as she stood up. Taking the folder with her, she explained, “Let me get my supervisor. I cannot show them to you, but he can. I’ll be right back.”
She returned five minutes later with her supervisor in tow. I sat at the desk with my arms folded across my chest. She could go get whoever she wanted, but I meant to see those test scores before I left there that day.
He came up to me and introduced himself, “We feel you’re a good candidate for the program and we’re going to recommend to the state that you receive a full grant.”
I thought so!