Saturday, December 17, 2011

We Apologize for the Convenience

- A Comprehensive Guide to Shopping, for the Woman at the Center of the Universe: Holiday Edition.
     Hello there! remember this post a while back where I told you about all the sordid secrets of customer service people and how they are selfish and want to keep you from getting the things you deserve? I walked you through shopping for towels and how to get the best ones at the best prices. After all, you deserve them because of your rich Husband and tiny dog!
     Well in case you didn't know, the Holidays are here and you know what that means: Shopping! Mostly for yourself but you are also required to buy a few trinkets here and there for other people. I know, it's a huge inconvenience. I mean really, who wants to spend their own money on other people? It's just not right.
    Thankfully, I am here to help you through this experience. I'll show you all the loopholes in that horrid system designed to keep you from getting everything you want. Ready? Great! Shove your swollen feet into some pumps, grab whichever one of your several Coach purses match them best, and let's get started!

    Step 1: Appropriate use of the Internet.
           - You and I both know the internet is a scam. It's made to appear like the more convenient option- who wouldn't want to lounge about all day in their designer velour sweatsuit drinking exotic lattes, all the while  avoiding crowds by picking out all the best gifts from their iPad screen? But you know what they say: "anything that sounds to good to be true probably is".
    Here's the catch- Shipping & Handling fees. So stupid right? Charging six dollars just to ensure that your item is packaged correctly and then shipped,  flown, trucked, and hand delivered from China to your front step, and it's going to take 5-7 days? Ridiculous.
    Here's what customer service minions don't want you to know: You can beat this system, avoid shipping fees and have your item exactly when You want it.

    The trick is to use the internet for browsing. Shop around and find an item you would like. Then, instead of ordering it on for a reasonable price, proceed to step two.

   Step 2: Calling the Store.
     - Don't worry about which store, just pick the one closest to your house that you like the best and give them a ring.
   When they answer they are going to say a whole scripted message involving something like "Merry Christmas and thank you for calling! This is (insert name you will never remember).... "
    Just go ahead and interrupt them. This throws them off just enough that they will pay more attention to you. Don't bother being polite either, just tell them what you want and why.
    Hint: If you already sound slightly annoyed they will try even harder to help you because they want to make you happy. It's their job.
    After you tell them what you are looking for they will try to transfer you to another department. They will make something up like-
    "Let me get someone in the correct department who can help you find what you need."
  This is just an excuse to put you on hold. They just don't want to help you because they can tell how special you are and they are jealous.

  Step 3: Greatly Exaggerate the Amount of Time Spent on Hold.
    Hang up, call them back and complain that you literally just spent twenty minutes on hold. It doesn't matter that you are talking to the same person who put you on hold less than 30 seconds ago. These people are not very smart. They will probably believe you.
   This time, tell them that if they put you on hold you will file a complaint. That is the magic phrase that let's them know that you know all their tricks and secrets. They will then look up the item for you, regardless of whether or not they were already in the middle of helping a customer who is actually standing at their counter. Don't worry, that customer is less important than you and can wait.
    The employee will then ask you a few questions such as
    "Did you see the item on our website?"

    Step 4:  Lie. 
   Telling them you found it on a completely different site just gives them an excuse to say they don't have it. Tell them you are looking at it on their website as you speak.
   When they admit to not being able to find the item, accuse them of lying. This always gives them the right incentive to take that extra step to help you.
    Unfortunately, sometime you are going to get an employee that is just too stupid to get you what you want. They will say things like "I am unable to locate that item on our website" or "I have never even heard of that device and neither has my manager, are you sure you are looking at our website?" or "I know for a fact that we don't carry that but Target does".
  Step 5: Be Very Loud and Very Angry.
     No one ever get's what they want by being nice. Nice people get taken advantage of. If you act like you are better than everyone and and DESERVE to have everything you want, people will respect you and do everything they can to make you happy.
    The employee is going to tell you that they simply do not carry that item. At all. Not a single store or warehouse in the entire world that is at all connected to that company has a single one of them.
    This is an obvious lie.

    They have one, you know they do. They are just trying to keep you from getting what you want because they are so jealous of you.

    Hang up and go to the store. Walk in and demand the item. The employee will then have no choice but to go find the item you are looking for, and just like that they will bring it to the counter.
    It might not look just like the one you saw online. It will be a different brand and probably a different color, and instead of being a blender it will be a microwave, and at first you will be a little confused. But the employee will assure you that this is in fact the item you wanted for your sister-in-law's Christmas present and wouldn't you know, this one comes with a complimentary 10% off coupon!

    And just like that, you've outsmarted those sneaky Customer Service Associates. In the span of only a few hours you tricked them into giving you the item that you're pretty sure you secretly wanted all along, and that they had been trying to keep you from getting. And you got a coupon on it that almost paid for the tax! You truly are a special and intelligent woman who deserves to have everything she wants.
   And just between you and me, that employee probably doesn't even realize she got tricked. She probably thinks she got the best of you and is just happy you're gone. But you and I know the truth.

   It will be our little secret.




Friday, December 9, 2011

The Dangerous Combination of a Final Exam and Over-the-Counter Medication...

Today I managed to make it to class wearing that oh so stylish combination of sweatpants, snow boots, and several layers of t-shirts and hoodies (having misplaced my coat, an appropriate thing to do in the middle of a Colorado winter).
Somehow my brain thought that the only necessary make-up for my sick-white-person-in-the-dead-of-winter complexion was mascara, and a shower would have required getting out of bed 10 min earlier, which wasn’t worth it either.
Since I had only managed to bring a pen and my water bottle(which contains an in-genius mixture of Cough syrup and Emergen-C probably not technically legal on campus) I had to borrow paper from the cute guy sitting next to me, who looked me right in the eye and asked ever so innocently,
 “How’s your day going?”
I can think of a dozen semi-normal responses. But the one that my brain decided most appropriate at that moment was “I’m not wearing any deodorant.”

Monday, December 5, 2011

How I became a Scrooge and Cindy Lou-Who became an Alcoholic.

    Let's not kid ourselves. Last month was not about Thanksgiving. Right after Halloween we begin to tout an ideology of thanks and giving lots of it and whatnot, but we Americans know which day is really the most important come November: Black Friday.
     I used to think it was inappropriately named, since it sounds so dark and sinister. Black Friday. Surely something horrible must have happened on this day in history right? Similar to Bloody Sunday only having to do with Native Americans.
    Well, I totally Googled that shit and it turns out Black Friday got it's name because of the horrors of pedestrian traffic in Philadelphia due to all the crazy sales and people trying to get to the airport.

    I'm going to pause and let that sink in for a minute....


    So Black Friday got it's name long, long ago, when a bunch of crazy people flooded the streets in search of the perfect transistor radio for their boyfriend's Christmas gift. That is the dumbest thing I have ever heard. 

Obviously Scrooge worked in retail.

      Speaking of dumb things, customers ( I know, nice segue).  Most people don't seem to realize this, but the crazies don't disappear after Black Friday. Nobody gets all their shopping done on Friday and because of that they are angrier than ever by mid December. 
     Retail workers have always known that people get crazier around the Holidays. They also get meaner, sneakier, dumber and more violent, which makes for an all around interesting workplace. People who are perfectly sane eleven months out of the year are suddenly willing to bash a stranger's head in for a marshmallow gun or an electric razor come December. Sales Associates spend the entire month of December just hoping the next person in line isn't the one willing to curb-stomp them over a Special Edition Wii.  

    Folks, I love Christmas. Like, REALLY love it. I'm a regular Cindy freakin' Lou-Who. I started listening to Christmas music back in October, I force people to go caroling and as I'm writing this I'm also drinking hot coco, listening to Carol of the Bells and gluing glittery pine-cones to the tops of Christmas presents. This season is like crack to me. All the giving, and caring and love and whatnot. 
     But retail can ruin all that for just about anyone. Yesterday I spent twenty minutes on the phone being berated and verbally abused by a customer until I finally put them on hold and yelled "You're ruining the magic of Christmas!" into the receiver before transferring them to my least favorite manager.
   You know what would have been an even better Dr. Seuss story? One where Cindy Lou-Who worked at a customer service counter and the Grinch just kept coming in and trying to return all the Christmas decorations he'd stolen from her the day before.
    That story wouldn't have ended with a hand-holding sing-a-long. It would have ended with Cindy going all Psycho on a blow-up Santa lawn ornament and drinking an entire bottle of Peppermint Schnapps in a tragic attempt to get Mariah Carey's version of "O' Holy Night" out of her head. 
   I'm just saying, it's a lot harder to get into the true spirit of the Holidays when every Who down in Who-ville is rushing the mall with a can of pepper spray just to get their hands on an Xbox.