Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire

I lied to someone today.  It wasn’t a white lie or simply a misunderstanding.  It was a bold, intentional, in your face LIE.  I did it right in front of my children and I am not really ashamed of that fact.  Actually, I’m just a bit proud of it because while I don’t want my children to lie I also don’t want their time wasted on bureaucratic run around just because of somebody’s “policy.” 

See, our bank – the small, hometown bank which we chose precisely because it was a small, hometown bank and not some monolith constantly under attack by hackers and identity thieves has decided on a merger; not with a monolith … it’s more like a monolith-in-training.  I say “in-training” because if the new bank really were one of the “big boys” we would not be getting a new account number or if we were getting a new account number we would not have to manually change all of our automatic bill pay information.  (Does anyone else see the inconsistency here?)  I know this to be true because hubby, being the stellar programmer that he is, commented on how if their system were designed correctly they would just flip a switch or a tag or something and all of our transactions would seamlessly flow from the old account to the new one without our changing a thing.  So that is one big benefit of monoliths.  Whatever the problem is, they have encountered it before and they have a system to overcome it, which is great …. usually.

This process of manually updating our bill pay info led me to call the customer service (That’s a euphamism, BTW.) of a particular credit card company which automatically drafts our bank account each month and in return gives us a stellar 0% interest rate. (Amazing what creditors will do when you tell them you’ve decided not to pay any more because their interest is outrageous… that’s another story though.)

“Hello, my name is Customer Service Rep #1.  How may I help you today? (This of course after the obligatory “mother’s maiden name”, “first dog’s favorite chew toy” and “teacher you had a crush on in H.S.” security interrogation)

“My bank is changing my account number and I need to update your automatic draft records to reflect the new number.”

“Oh, I’ll have to transfer you to the department that handles that.  Please hold.”

…….zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz …..  (This is me holding.)

“Hello, my name is Customer Service Rep #2.  How may I help you today?

“My bank is changing my account number and I need to update your automatic draft records to reflect the new number.”

“Alright, I just need you to answer a few questions for security purposes.”

“Didn’t I already do this?” I’m thinking to myself.  “Fine,” I say.

First question:  “Who am I speaking with?”

“My name is Toni.”

“Can you tell me the name of the primary card holder?”

“Yes, that is my husband, Will”

“Can you answer 5 different security questions about Will?”

“Yes, I can”

“Thank you.  Now what would you like to do today?”

Insert image of a broken record here

“My bank is changing my account number and I need to update your automatic draft records to reflect the new number.”

“I’m sorry ma’am.  Only the primary cardholder is authorized to make bank changes on this account.”

First of all that would have been nice to know before I did my imitation of a dog at the circus and second,

“That doesn’t make any sense.  I’ve made changes before.”

“Those were non-bank changes.  You are authorized to make non-bank changes.”

“That’s absurd. Either I am authorized or I am not.”

“If you would just have your husband call and give you authorization we can process your request.

“But my husband HAS called to give me authorization!  He’s called on every account we have because he doesn’t have time to deal with this sort of thing.”

“Ma’am I can’t do anything until your husband calls and gives you authorization.

Sufficed to say from this point the conversation began to go in circles and the more it circled the more it began to resemble an ever downward spiral to nowhere.

“You know what, why don’t you let me speak to your supervisor?”

I would like to say that the spiral reversed once management got involved.  I would like to but I can’t.  It took several more rounds before I even figured out what the authorization glitch was.

“Blah, blah, blah.  If you had a joint bank account maybe we could do something but…”

“Wait! Stop right there!  This IS a joint bank account.”

“No ma’am it’s not.  Our records only show Will’s name on the account.”

“You’re telling me you have a check in front of you that only has Will’s name on it?  That’s impossible.”

“No ma’am I don’t have a check.  I can see in our system that it’s not a joint account.”

Sgt Supervisor was unwilling to admit that maybe, just maybe someone in her department had failed to get all of the information and that maybe, just maybe, I knew a little more about the status of my bank account than she did.  She refused to allow me to fax or email her one of my our checks for proof.  She refused to contact my bank or allow them to contact her and after several more circles, she refused to accept any more possible solutions.  At least that’s how I interpreted “Ma’am you are not our customer and I ….” yelled in my ear.  I don’t really know what else she said because I hung up.

I sat at my desk fuming at that the absurdity.  I wanted to give them money but their own systems prevented them from accepting it.  I know some of you are thinking, “Why didn’t you just have your husband call?”  Maybe I should have and maybe I would have if the last thing he’d said to me this morning hadn’t been, “I have a really, big meeting today with several VP’s from the UK.” which is his nice way of saying, “Today’s big so I’ll be completely out of pocket.  Don’t call the office.”

So, I sat at my desk until the anger began to wash out like the tide.  I could wait until Will got home and have him call then but I don’t take kindly to being yelled at and I don’t like having to deal with a mixture of stupidity and red tape and I don’t have three years of theatre training for nothing.

“Hello, my name is Customer Service Rep #3.  How may I help you today?

“My bank is changing my account number and I need to update your automatic draft records to reflect the new number.”

“Alright, I just need you to answer a few questions for security purposes.”

“Fine,” I say.

First question:  “Who am I speaking with?”

“My name is Will.”

Eventually, I got to the draft department and Customer Service Rep #4 who must have heard about the lovely conversation I had with her supervisor because early on in our security routine she asked,

“Is this really Will or is it Toni?”

I very belligerently replied that indeed I was Will and I resented her ridiculous question.  After that she proceeded to update my bank account.

“Will there be anything else today, Mrs. Mr. S.?”

“Yes actually,  I would like to authorize my wife to make any necessary changes to this account.”

“Yes… sir.”

Do I think I really tricked anybody?  No but somehow it was even more gratifying knowing I was found out and that they couldn’t do a thing about it.

“Mama, why did you pretend to be daddy?” Sister asked when the conversation was over.

“Because the people I was talking to are a special breed call time stealers and I am Daddy’s time protector so I put on a disguise to get them to leave Daddy alone.”

“Oh.”

Long live the time protectors! …. especially the ones walking about with our pants on fire.

 

This post was actually written last Thursday… I just wanted to be truthful about that. :)

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One thought on “Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire

  1. Ugh! That whole routine with “customer service” is all too familiar. It’s ridiculous. Good for you for taking control. And I’ll admit – I’ve done the same thing.

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