Tuesday, April 5, 2011

The Good and The Bad

I moved into my first house on Labor Day weekend 2008. Running on pure adrenaline, I just couldn't stop. I stayed up late and got up early. I broke down boxes, hung artwork, and assembled TV stands and all kinds of stuff . I had taken that Tuesday off of work and by the time I laid my head on the pillow Tuesday night my house was almost completely unpacked and furnished.

I drove into work Wednesday still dizzy with excitement (or exhaustion). I came home eager to walk through the doors of my house. There was only one problem. The garage door wouldn't go up. So, I did what any single girl would do. I called my dad. He advised me to get a new battery for the garage door opener. I did and it still wouldn't work. I tried the front door but I had put the deadbolt on. I was locked out!

Eventually, I called a locksmith and over an hour and $180 later, I walked through my front door to an oddly eerie silence. There was no hum of the refrigerator or rumbling of the air conditioner. It was completely quiet. Instinctively, I flipped a light switch. Nothing. I had no electricity. I grabbed the cell phone and called the electric company. Weeks earlier, I had gone online and placed an order for my electric service to be transferred. What happened?

After going through several telephone menus, I finally got a hold of a live person. I was relieved to hear a real voice ... but not for long. Calmly, I explained the situation to the representative who answered the phone. He replied, "Well, you should have called earlier. The department you need closed at five. Your service has been completely disconnected, so you'll have to call back in the morning after eight."

When I asked if there was anything they could do remotely, I was told again, in a condescending tone that I should have called earlier and that my meter had been completely disconnected. Frustrated, I hung up.

I had to figure out how I was going to salvage a refrigerator and freezer filled with food I'd brought the day before. I paced inside the house and then I paced outside. As I walked around the side of the house, I noticed the meter. It was still working. I called back.

This time, I (thankfully) spoke with another representative. Still calm, I explained the situation. And I was stunned at what happened next. This new rep apologized. He told me he was going to place me on hold for a minute. When he came back, he apologized again and told me someone would be out to assist me within two hours. After a candlelight dinner with my dog Marty, we were back in business.

Ironically, I was teaching a series of customer service classes at the time and I had a great story of what to do and what not to do to share with my students!