First World Problems, I realize

Ok, I’m about to go on a bitching rampage of angry. You are hereby forewarned with  this quote from my mother about me:

No – from his grandmother he inherited his vocabulary. Honest. And she was a lady in every other way imaginable – but she sure could make a sailor blush.

And it’s fucking true. Now let’s get to the story of some shirts and promises made and then broken – or at least apparently broken.

Last week I decided I needed to order some shirts. I need them for a show that’s tomorrow night, which is a fund-raiser, and we’re going to launch a couple of cool things and having the shirts would be a great thing, so we decided to order them.

Now, I fully realize that ordering shirts on July 3rd for a show on July 10th was going to be a tough gig. That’s a short turn-around for anything, and I get that, but I checked with several businesses in Montana, and they were all 2-8 weeks out due to prior commitments. So on to the web to see what is out there.

Lots, it turns out, because we like our damn t-shirts. This shouldn’t surprise me as it’s why we’re ordering them as well. But whatever, I did some checking and found a site that said “Order today and get your shirts by July 9th!”

Holy shit! That’s fucking awesome!

And it’s got an online tool for uploading your artwork and making everything happen. Our shirt was done by a professional using Pantone® colors and saving the file as an Illustrator, which I can easily convert to a “.eps” file, which, if you don’t know anything about this, it means it was done in the tools and systems that the printers really want to use to get you the best artwork, so it’s A Good Thing™.

I uploaded the file, and it sorta worked, but failed, and then crashed and then I finally got it to work, but it couldn’t identify the Pantone colors and asked me for the codes, but when I put them in, it said they were invalid. Um, no they fucking aren’t, you crazy system.

At that point I got on chat and talked to one of the technical support people and they gave me the note to pick random colors and include a note that had the real codes in the note so they could fix it. I was confused but at about the same time the phone support actually picked up and they walked me through the process.

The fact that their online system doesn’t have a way to get the complete Pantone code system is a problem, and that they have a work-around that’s hinky is even more so, but whatever, it’s a quick turn-around and I figured they were aware of the hinkyness and their devs are probably working on a way to make this better. I gave them a pass because, hey, they were acting helpful.

While on the phone I confirmed the rest of the stuff I needed and put my order through – including paying a lot of money for the rush of the shirts. That’s the thing that I confirmed with the gal on the phone, and she put me on hold while she went and dealt with whomever to confirm it, but she was confident that everything would be fine and the shirts would be here by the 10th.

Can you see where this is fucking going? In the immortal words of my friend Quay “ooShirts is going to oo shit!” I’d link you to that, but they apparently deleted the comment because they can’t handle adult words. More on that in a damn moment.

Anyway, so everything appeared to be good for about ten minutes. Then I got an email telling me that there was a problem with my order. Never mind that I’d been on the phone and confirmed everything about my order with the CSR, now the system is kicking it out because the Pantone codes were too fucking high. Are ya fucking kidding me with this shit?

So I call them back, and wait on hold for over 10 minutes before getting someone, which leads me to believe that they are busy, which is a good thing for a t-shirt printer. Finally I get a guy on the line and he’s confused as to what is going on, so I walk him through it while he’s reviewing the order and he then tells me that everything is ok, but the system kicked out that email as it was programmed to, but they already knew it and had moved beyond it. Sorry for the confusion.

Happy fucking day, I say, and then, because I’m a neurotic fuck, I ask if they are still going to be delivered on-time, because another delay would kibosh that. He checks, puts me on hold and confirms it with someone, and then comes back and says, yes, it’s all good.

Dandy.

Then not 20 minutes later, I get a call from ooShirts number, and I answer it. It’s the fantastic gal (who’s name I really don’t remember, but she was all on this) calling me because she did as she said and checked on the order to see where it was in the process, saw that the email telling me the Pantone codes were wrong went out and she called me, in a panic, to tell me that the email was a mistake and everything was ok. That was awesomesauce, and really, at that point, most of my concerns were waylaid.

Fast forward to Monday. I haven’t heard anything, or seen anything, and I figured it’d be a good idea to give them a call, so I did. Again with the fucking waiting and the miserable shit hold music, but after 11 minutes I get transferred to a nice guy who I confer all of this information to, and he looks at the order, and then confirms that everything looks good to him, but let him check one other place, could he put me on hold? Why yes, very nice guy, you can put me on hold. Your hold music isn’t quite as annoying as the miserable shit used for waiting-in-the-queue. He comes back on and tells me that yes, everything is good and the shirts will be here on July 10th. And they’ll send me the tracking information as soon as it’s processed.

Again, dan-fucking-dy.

The email arrived today, and I excitedly hit the tracking link to see when everything was going, fully expecting to see “July 10th”. After all, everyone was very nice, very concerned to make sure it would happen, and (seemed) very on-the-ball about it.

Screen Shot 2013-07-09 at 4.01.30 PM

You might notice that does NOT say July 10th. That’s a problem.

So I called. I got some gal this time who, after I explained what was going on and why I was frustrated, had the audacity to tell me there was nothing she could do other than file a claim and then the Claims Department would be getting in touch with me in a couple of days.

Are you fucking kidding me?

We went back and forth a bit, and I asked the following questions:

  • Who in claims will be handling the issue?
  • Can you transfer me to them?

She gave me a couple of women’s names, which is great, but then told me she couldn’t transfer me to them, I’d have to go through the claims filing, and again, that would take a few days.

I asked to be transferred to her manager. She told me she couldn’t do that either.

At this point, and I’m quoting, “I call bullshit on that.”

“Sir, if you can’t keep it professional…” she started.

Mind you this was the first unhelpful person, or rather, overtly unhelpful person I’d dealt with at ooShirts. I said it’s not unprofessional to point out the truth. She didn’t like that and hung up on me after telling me she would no longer be able to help me.

I didn’t yell. I didn’t call her names, or scream, or jump on her case. I called bullshit on what is patently bullshit. Had I called her an ignorant douchecanoe she would have been very justified in hanging up on me right then. I’ve done that to customers when I’m being abused. But having a customer call one of your policies bullshit, especially a policy that is so obviously in conflict with your stated sales goals, is not abuse. That’s life, punkin.

So she hung up on me, and I had to call back. And I did, and got a very helpful guy on the phone, who I ran thru the details of my issue as well as tried to helpfully inform him of his wrongness on what UPS can and cannot do with packages in shipment when you’re the shipper, and he told me that, yes, that was true, and their policy doesn’t give me, a customer who was lied to, access to someone who can resolve the issue.

Well fuck. Why bother to confirm the order the five times I did it when they aren’t going to abide by their promises? I’m sorry, but why bother to put up a sign saying you can do something if it’s a fucking lie? Are you shitting me? That’s fucking ignorant in the extreme.

I already used the online tool to file a claim, and irony of ironies, that tool seemed to have worked perfectly because the nice CSR guy was able to confirm that in the view he has of the whole mess. I was flabbergasted on that.

And yes, I’m posting this publicly, because at this point there is nothing anyone can do as the cut-off to contact UPS about the shipment has long since passed us by.

I would love nothing more than to put at the top of this post an update telling everyone that UPS was wrong and the shirts arrived at the promised time, and that everything that ooShirts said they’d do they did. Or even better, that I’m just a fucking prick and everything was fine. Great. I’ll be happy to do that if the shirts show up tomorrow.

That’s highly unlikely to happen because ooShirts failed, somewhere, and the system they expose to their own CSRs doesn’t have the information to identify the point of failure.

But, what can you fucking do? We ran up against a deadline, and something broke. In the overall scheme of things, this isn’t even a blip. No one died. No one was even injured. And it’s just a promise from a business that hopes to grow to be the premier source for t-shirts.

Oh wait, there’s the problem. There’s the exact fucking problem.

While writing this got an email response from the help desk, with the name of the person in Claims that would be dealing with the matter – Alan. Not even one of the names I was given earlier, which I don’t remember but were both female. Although in thinking about it I might have heard “Ellen” but I don’t think so. Regardless, a name has now been given but no action has happened.

Moral of the story? Don’t promise what you can’t deliver. It makes people cranky, but it sometimes happens and it’s out of your control. When that happens, don’t act like you’re not able to understand because that’s where you get people like me mad. And I’m not one to be nice when you’ve just made it quite clear that you don’t give a fuck about me.

That’s exactly what ooShirts has done. I asked, I wanted to work with them, and I wanted the order to be delivered as it was promised. When dealing with the unhelpful woman who couldn’t transfer me and took the hyper-defensive stance that hearing the word bullshit is unconscionable and must cause a disconnection of the call, then we have a problem.

You may not like my language. I don’t give a fuck. I use the words I feel are appropriate to the situation. I didn’t call her a name, nor did I raise my voice. I opined that her company’s organization structure and her inability to connect me to someone to help was bullshit. It completely is, there’s nothing anyone can ever tell me to change my mind on that.

I’ve worked in call centers. I’ve even been the person to defuse angry callers that are being abusive to the CSRs, and believe me, there’s a huge difference between me calling a policy bullshit and being abusive. HUGE. When you have someone on the phone and your company has failed them in some way, you better act like you care, and try to do something to make it right, because if you don’t, then it becomes a moment when you will spark a fight.

And I take my fights outside.

Balls is your court, ooShirts.

3 comments

  1. Want me to make you some shirts for tomorrow night? They wouldn’t be professional screen-printing, but I can pull off locally hand-printed with a basic design… :)

  2. I appreciate the offer, but the real reason to have the shirts was to sell them to our fans in support of getting my friend Leslie out here for the master class on August 24th. We’re good. I’m just being a bitch. And I’m oh so good at being a bitch.

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