Monday, March 09, 2009

this hold music sounds like a perversion of the Knight Rider theme song

Yesterday I attended a lovely brunch with my college girls. It was raining like nobody's business, so I am very thankful that pp swung by to pick me up so I didn't have to take the El and the bus. On the way over there, she asked me what I had been up to and was as surprised as I am that I haven't completed as many projects as I had planned since being laid off.

So I've been paying attention to what I've done today to get a better idea.

Today I got out of bed a few minutes after H left for work (about 8:10 a.m.), brushed my teeth, ate some yogurt and granola and caught up on my google reader. I finished watching The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (which I had seen a few minutes of and recorded last week) and Noises Off (which I started watching last night when I couldn't fall asleep) while working on the calligraphy on EB's wedding invitation envelopes. And then I watched an episode of Monk (the one where he gets buried alive).

Then Citibank crank-called me again. I've been trying to talk to them about the mortgage for weeks and get transferred into their automated telephone system until I want to throw the phone out the window. Seriously, the time ratio of being on hold:talking to a live person is about 12,000,000,000,000 minutes to 1. Every time I have to explain my situation and give all my info, then they give me the "direct number" and "transfer" me--which usually means hold music for awhile and then a few rings before it hangs up on me. Or else I'll be on hold for several minutes and suddenly get a busy signal. It's no different when they call me, either.

Today I talked to--each in a separate call with a separate amount of hold time--Raman, Manisha, Brittany, Ron and now Nick. I've been on hold with the last one for about 1 hour, 4 minutes and 17 seconds now. However, he seems to actually care about helping me and actually said he'd hang with me until I get some help. That right there was worth the wait.

I'm shocked I forgot to tell pp that being on hold takes up a big chunk of my day. Are there any jobs that require listening to a loop of recorded messages backed up by annoying music? Because I'm starting to feel like a pro.

4:20 p.m. I've been on hold 1 hour, 34 minutes and 38 seconds. Now I'm working with someone named Melinda, who is looking into my situation. I've now found out that there's a chance my account has been misclassified all these years. Great. Kudos to Nick, who stayed with me, checking in every few minutes until I got to Melinda.

Sadly, this is the most productive call I've had in nearly a month.

***update 2****
So I'm working with Melinda, who puts me on hold while she goes to check on how my account has been misfiled and I'm waiting. Suddenly some Indian-sounding lady (I normally wouldn't categorize, but I happen to be intimately familiar with how they sound and have recently been talking with dozens of call-center people) gets on the line, says "You're welcome" as if she were in the middle of talking to someone else, and HANGS UP ON ME.

Then I spent about thirty minutes trying to get back to Melinda, dialing through the maze of all the automated menus and the numbers various people have given me. To no avail. I talk to Cindy, Felicia, Clint and then finally Eric, who seems nice. He asks me all my information and then comments on how I must be living downtown because of my mortgage. That jokester. He shut up after I told him I'd been talking to Citibank since 2 p.m. Maybe if I hadn't already spent several HOURS ON HOLD I could have laughed along with him. He says he'll try to get me back to the department where Melinda works and gave me a direct number. He said because it's an internal transfer, I'd be bumped up to the next available person, but he's not sure if Melinda is gone for the day. Then he transfers me.

It rings, then a message says they are CLOSED FOR THE DAY. Then it hangs up on me.


The worst part is that there are people out there with much bigger problems than I have. I pray they're getting better treatment than I am. EFF YOU CITIBANK. Because I'm going to become the nightmare that keeps coming and coming and coming UNTIL YOU TALK TO ME.

Because, you know, I don't have anything better to do.


Becky said...

i spend enough time on hold each day to get a dent in my hair from my call-center-style landline headset receiver. i have to do these stupid next-day call backs to our customers so that if they are unhappy or if something breaks, we are proactive about it and they won't stop giving us their business. but i can easily spend ten minutes on hold, just to have a twenty second conversation. the difference, though, is that i am getting paid, so yours is waaaay worse.

Cool Cat said...

oh oh oh! that sucks but kudos to you for remembering the other people in more dire situations!

good luck tomorrow. and do remember to immediately ask melinda or whoever else is actually doing something for you what their direct line is! i have to make calls to insurance companies sometimes and the same ridiculous business happens...where you cant reach the original person! grrr!

SupaCoo said...

Ok, that is REALLY awful. I hate those automated phone systems more than anything. For some reason, they never understand me. What, am I talking GERMAN or something? JESUS. And imagine that my bank, credit cards, etc etc are only open for about 2 hours of my day, making trying to reach them a real effing joy. Yay, customer service.

marty said...

Good ... God. I HATE call centers. I will do anything to avoid having to talk explain myself 20 times and get transferred constantly.

Good luck!

Jon said...

I once sat on hold for over an hour when a coworker decided to call the same place to get the same info. They got it within five minutes while I was still on hold. Sometimes, I think those places aren't very well organized.

Madelyn said...

The one where Monk gets buried alive is a good one, very suspenseful. As for being on hold, i know it sucks, and anyone else would have given up a long time ago. So good for you, hang in there!

Anonymous said...

How you have not murdered someone or something is beyond me. I can't imagine being sane after going through what you just described. I hope you resolve your problem. Soon.

Alexandra said...

why dont you just make an appoitment and actually GO to a bank?

wow the knit stuff is SO awesome!!! makes me want to have 8 babies so i can ask you to make rainbow collor booties for them all ;)

cadiz12 said...

Becky: Dent in your hair? That is too much time on hold. I hope they're compensating you properly.

Cool Cat: I thought I was doing well asking their names, but I guess that wasn't enough. And I feel guilty complaining when there are so many other people worse off; but these things tend to make me so miserable I just have to vent.

Supacoo: I can't even IMAGINE trying to do this stuff in another country when the customer service window is so limited. Especially with a language barrier!

Marty: I think that's the worst part--I feel like I need a script of my story just to get it right every time.

Jon: I really wonder what it takes to get the mojo. But someone sent me another number to try and I hope it works. I'm going to call when I have H at home b/c he's much more familiar with the loopholes in my situation.

Madelyn: I just got into watching Monk, and now it's the final season.

Anon: I think it has shown great restraint on my part that no one has been maimed in this process.

Ale: I tried but they told me I need to call the customer service. And as for the knit stuff, don't worry, your babies will be fully stocked. Also check your mail, there is something coming for you!

Lia said...

Okay, that's officially horrible. But - if you do figure out Citibank, let me know. I have to get on the phone with them about my credit card, and I'm not brave enough.

Willowtree said...

Im in shock. The fact that you arent blogging from behind bars for killing some random Citibank person is a testament to your excellent character.
I, on the other hand, would be blogging from a mental hospital...
Im not completely sure thats not where Im blogging from at this very moment.
Best of luck with everything!

Chantal said...

That sucks!!! I hate the 1-800-HOLD-FOREVER numbers. In Switzerland, you have to pay per minute for customer service. But it's worth it because you NEVER have to be on hold.

Guyana-Gyal said...

That's telling 'em! I thought it was just Citibank, but judging from what others are saying here, it's everywhere. Except in this small place, we still get people service, as imperfect as people can be.