Tuesday, August 21, 2007

How Embarrassing!

I'm still blushing, an hour later. And if I didn't blog this, no one would have known about it.

So why am I blogging it? Because something inside me wants to get comments that say things along the lines of, 'Oh, I've totally done that!' and 'That could have been me!' Because, isn't it true that when we do something really stupid and have a completely "DUH" moment, we want to know that we're not the only ones who just drift off into Stupidville now and then?

No? You mean it's just me? Well, fine then. I'll tell you what I did anyway. I know you'll be thinking I've done that sort of thing -- even if you DON'T leave me a comment!


So I check my bank account online (which, by the way, I don't do nearly often enough) and I notice that the nursery charged us twice for a purchase we made there last weekend. I know this because there are three line-items for the same amount -- two +$XX.XX and one -$XX.XX.

(I know, I know. Just hear me out.)

I call the nursery and talk to a really nice young bookkeeper, who feels awful about their mistake. She says that she can't find the duplicate charge, but she'll work with their financial company to remedy the situation and refund me my money. She calls the company, who also can't find the duplicate charge, but because they apparently feel so bad and have such a strong customer service ethic, they find all the numbers I might possibly need to work on the issue myself, they wish me luck and ask me to call them back just to let them know how it all went.

I call Bankcard Services, sit on hold forever, and finally, after about 20 minutes of Muzak, I talk to a real, live person. By this time I'm not feeling my normal, patient self (no really, I am normally a very patient person), especially because, at one point, they caught me in an endless "transaction number" loop, based on the assumption that I had my physical statement, not my bank's online banking web page, in front of me. I only get out of transaction number hell by entering "0000" as the alleged number.

"Steve" -- who I'm sure isn't really named Steve and who really isn't even in America -- is very pleasant, asking how he can help me with transaction #0000, which according to his records, is some hot dog stand in Wichita, Kansas. I confess that I faked it with the number, simply so I could talk to a real voice and then tell him, in a voice far less patient than I was 30 minutes previous, that I was double-charged at the nursery and would like resolution. I launch into the whole explanation about the nursery not being able to find a duplicate charge, inferring that the mistake is with the bank.

"Steve" asks me to walk through the nursery charges one by one for him. So I do: -$XX.XX, +$XX.XX, -$XX.XX. I'm sure my voice by this time is dripping with Itoldyouso. I'm sure I come across as the biggest I-want-customer-service-and-I-want-it-now customer who's called in so far this morning -- maybe even this week.

I'm sure Steve was already rolling his eyes as he patiently listened to me go through the list of charges and debits on my online statement.

"Ma'am," Steve says slowly. "Two charges and a debit of the same amount equals one charge of that amount."

"Yes, but..." I reply in my customer-is-always-right voice.

And then, instantly, I get it.

Dammit. I get it. I am stupid.

I swallow hard, wishing I could swallow the heat that's rising into my cheeks, grateful that no one but Steve is witnessing the moment.

"Two charges and a debit of the same amount equals one charge of that amount."

Of course they do.

I'm so embarrassed that I chuckle. I think Steve might have chuckled too. Or maybe that was my imagination.

"Oh my goodness. I'm stupid. I'm so sorry!" What choice do I have? I figure that if you can't laugh at yourself, you leave the door wide open for others to do so. I'm sure Steve WAS laughing at me by then, but he was kind enough to do so quietly. All he said was, "I'm happy to help, ma'am. Is there anything else I can do for you today?"

"No thank you," I said.

But I was thinking, 'Yes. Could you give me back the past 45 minutes of self-inflicted stupidity? And maybe 45 IQ points to go with it? And can you please not tell anyone about this little incident?'

I figure I'd take care of that little aspect myself. Just don't tell anyone, OK?

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christina said...

Hee! I'm bet we've all done stuff like that before. I know I have. But you know what, I'm sure "Steve" has heard WAY worse and you were probably the nicest, (if the most embarassed!) customer he'd talked to that day.

Anonymous said...

Have I also done something like that??? Of course, and I know I wasn't as polite as you probably were. But, the way I look at it, as long as you admit you were wrong and apologize, no harm done. I wish our not-so-revered leader W would learn that lesson.

Rositta said...

I did a similar thing recently with the cellphone company, boy was I embarased...that's life. Where do you get those great pictures, that chimp is amazing...ciao

Dixie said...

Believe me, Steve's heard worse. And from people who wouldn't admit they had made a mistake if it meant saving their lives.

It's maddening to have your brain shut down like that though, isn't it?

Anonymous said...

I'm sure we've all done silly things like that. At least you didn't yell at him like he was an idiot or anything awful like that.

surfie999@gmail.com said...

I am sure that like the others........we have all done the same. So sure you are right that ego takes over from common sense. And I bet the call centre perosn has heard far, far worse and abusive [ which gets you no where- with any nationality!]

Have a coffee, and relax.

Jen said...

I have...I admit it... I've totally done that. In that almost exact scenario. And to make it worse, I thought it was identity theft and almost cancelled my credit card. I need the monkey photo now ;-)

Rebecca said...

rest assured I do that kind of stuff CONSTANTLY. he hee - you've just got to be able to laugh at yourself.

jennifer said...

I just love that! I do things like that all the time- try to be a responsible grown-up and take care of business, to only realize I'm being flaky silly. You're not alone!

Anonymous said...

Hi Carol. I've tagged you. Details are on my blog. Have fun!

Roam2Rome said...

Ah the joys of bank accounts! Haven't we all been there? At least it was corrected, and you can just laugh about it! :)

Sam said...

(still reading your blog whilst simultaneously tidying my study!)

I had to snigger at this one (sorry!), I am sure we've all been there.

I didn't go as far as calling the bank but it was close! I had a line appear in my monthly statement that said something about a VISA and I immediately thought that someone had been using my name for a credit card as I didn't recognise this VISA bill - I felt a bit stupid when I realised a little while later that this was my Australian travel visa!! (not a VISA credit card!!!)

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