I would like to start this post by announcing that the picture that appears next to my 'publication' on my facebook page, invariably has nothing to do with the post. I have tried to alter it, but it seems to be an automatic choice. This is stated as no more than a 'steam release' on my part, as I have yet to master the finer art of complete 'blogging'. The word of the week has been 'frustration'. However, it appears that I am not the only one to not master an art, or to master the finer points of understanding a job, including what I am passing on to existing, or potential, clients.
Having had to be Jason for part of one week, and a part time Samantha for a whole week, I was unprepared for the amount of time I would also have to spend resolving problems, or explaining flaws in other people's areas of expertise. (Not that I consider myself an expert in areas in which I have no training but believe that common sense should prevail. 'Frustration' is the word of the week!)
few weeks ago, I had sent a court document, as is allowed by the rules of civil procedure, by certified mail. The destination for said document was in Denver, Colorado. After the obligatory 'wait time', I contacted the post office, as there seemed to be no movement on their website as to the progress made delivering my letter. Their website simply stated that the 'letter' had arrived at the mail facility. I called the main number, listened to the recording, followed the instructions, and left my name and telephone number on their rather efficient 'call back' system, and then continued with my day. After about twenty minutes, I received a call. The recording asked, "Is this Tracie? If yes, press 1 on your keypad". I did. A couple of clicks later, a human female voice asked me if I was indeed 'Tracie' (both times my surname was added) and I confirmed. She asked me for the zip code from where I was calling. I responded. She asked me for my full address. I obliged. I then told her of my predicament, and she said, "Yes, Tracie. The package reached the post office on August twelve." I acknowledged that she had seen what I had seen on the website. "Can I help you with anything else today, Tracie?", she continued. I was a little amazed that she was unaware that she had not yet helped me at all. I pointed out that today was September 12, and that a month had expired with no action. Why? Apparently this was a very good question, "Tracie". (I had to agree with her on this point.) She mumbled something incoherently, and and then informed me, "I shall start and investigation for you, Tracie. Please help me by providing some information". The first question was, "What is your name?" I was tempted to say 'Mildred', but decided this probably would be counterproductive. I gave her my name. "And what is your zip code?" Was I still talking to the same person? "And what is your full address, including your zip code?" By this time, I was starting to find the whole process rather amusing. Each question she asked was something that she had already had access to, and had repeated back to me several times. Then she asked me for the name of the person to whom I was sending the package. I had not really taken much notice of the recipient, but when I read it, I fought back the giggles. "The Big Gold Sausage Company", I said, trying very hard not to burst into laughter. She halted for a moment, and then repeated the name back to me. I confirmed. I think that she, too, was wondering whether this was a legitimate call. I do not think the name would have been quite as funny had we not been through the repetitive questioning for the past fifteen minutes. I explained that this was a court document, which we were trying to deliver. "You are trying to serve sausage?" was perhaps the last straw!
I was finally given a 'case number' for my 'Sausage Company', and told I would receive an email within forty eight hours. I did. I was informed that as some time had lapsed since the sending of the letter, (the time I was told that I would have to wait before an investigation could take place,) and I quote, "We must reluctantly conclude that this is irretrievably lost". Pure and simple. My tracking number merely tracked the package to its last known point of contact, and basically, "tough!" It was not the resolution I had hoped for, but perhaps one I had come to expect. Remember the word of the week? The Sausages would have to remain unserved, so to speak!
The 'Sausages' were eventually served, as a new mailing was sent, and the recipient was found. Apparently, however, my own company is proving difficult to locate. I received several calls, telling me that my company location has not been updated on a particular mapping site. All except one were recordings. "Your clients cannot find you", said the lady on the other end of the phone. The reasoning did not appear to be understood by the caller. I informed her that my clients had my telephone number, and if they had difficulty in locating my current whereabouts, they would call and ask for directions. Apparently, I did not understand the gravity of the situation. "Your clients are telling us that our map has not been updated", she persisted. Not being able to tell me the location the map showed, let alone my current location, led me to believe that this was, indeed, a scam of some sort. As busy as I was, I did not have time to 'play', but as busy as I was, this was a little bit of respite. "What did my clients tell you?" I asked the abrupt caller. (She had been rather aggressive from the outset, accusing rather than pleading.) I was informed that my clients had let her company know that their map listing was wrong, and that my address was incorrect. They provided my address, albeit one that she would, or could not confirm. I asked why her company needed to inform my clients, what they already knew? We continued round in circles, her insisting that I needed to subscribe to her system, so that my clients, those that had informed her of my whereabouts, could be thoroughly convinced of my whereabouts, and me telling her that if they knew my whereabouts, why would I need to subscribe to her system? On and on it went until she finally gave up! My only hope was that in keeping her on the phone, it took away time from scamming someone else.
It did not take long before I received the call from the Chamber of Commerce. Although the person (another abrupt female) told me that she was from Texas, she did not mention a city. She confirmed the name of my business. "Have you found a place to move to?" was the question. "And you are interested, why?", I asked. This appeared to stump her for a minute and she repeated her question. I repeated mine. It was to let my clients (my clients have been rather prolific of late - it is a wonder they have any time to litigate!) know about my business. I responded that my clients know about my business....that is why they are my clients! My clients, current and future, apparently, would be interested in whether, in the future, I was going to move my business to a new location. It would be most helpful for my profile. "So, you are going to put in my profile, the nature of my business, and that I might, sometime, perhaps, maybe, next year, or within the next decade or two, consider moving my location? How does that influence someone who is looking to hire my services". Once again, I was relegated to the proverbial naughty step by this telemarketer, and she told me in no uncertain terms that my clients, present and future, would be very interested. I was told that it is a major factor when influencing people to employ the services of my company. "What, that I might move in thirty years?" Quite categorically came the answer, "Yes!" It seemed almost peculiar, that whilst she was so emphatic about what my clients wanted to know, did she then ask, "What is it that you do?" Excuse me? "What is it you do at the civil process agency, This would also be of interest to your clients?" Oh dear! After explaining that the name would probably 'give it away', and letting her know that my clients knew exactly what I did, and anyone who was considering becoming a client would probably have some idea of why they would consider becoming a client, I told her that it was perhaps time she inform her clients that she was, in the future, looking to move, and perhaps look for a new career. This time I hung up!
Samantha arrived back at the office on Thursday morning, much to the delight of the puppy, and me! With a full compliment of staff, things did not slow down, but became more manageable. Our loal postman popped in to our office, as he required my signature for a couple of certified mail letters that were being delivered, and rolled his eyes, when I told him the response I received from his company. I then told him about the phone calls I had received and my response. "The Big Gold Sausage Company", once again caused a brief period of laughter, as did the reiteration of the other calls.
The phone calls continued. I was offered a highfalutin security system for my house, won a cruise to the Bahamas, and found out that my business qualified for an unsecured loan of an astronomical amount! I did not press "1" to speak to an operator! Instead, I pressed the 'end' button.
With my weekly routine heading in a normal direction for the next couple of month (at least, I hope) I shall continue to deal with lost mail and solicitation calls. It is all part of my colourful life! I shall endeavour to find a new word for next week. Perhaps 'patience', or maybe 'grace'. I definitely need to recapture some patience, and grace, to show to others and write in ........... another story