With love, from the Vinyl Toy Fairy
Several years ago, a good friend of mine mistakenly left his Cartier sunglasses in my rental car. Thinking they belonged to the previous renter, I returned them to Enterprise. I was sure this selfless act alone would grant my access into heaven — until my friend called: “Did I leave my sunglasses in your rental the other day?”
Naturally, within 72 hours of returning the vehicle, the staff seemed to have no recollection of me, the car, the glasses, or anything except this: “We are not liable for lost or stolen items.”
“But the glasses were never lost or stolen. They were left on purpose with so-and-so behind the counter.”
“We’re not responsible.”
After beating my head against a wall to no avail, I was certain of two things: (A) Enterprise? They had it coming; (B) My pal, Mr. Cartier? He was gonna have to give it to ‘em:
Dear Enterprise Car Rental:
A lengthy explanation of the situation followed, complete with my friend’s sentimental reasoning for being so rabid in his pursuit of the lost-but-not-lost sunglasses.
…and so therefore you can clearly see why the prompt return of my property is imperative.
All requests to investigate this matter at the local and regional levels have been ignored — repeatedly and rudely. Apparently, your mid-level management is under the impression I shall eventually become disenchanted with my quest and give up, thus, allowing dishonesty to champion the circumstance. This is not the case. I can assure you I have all the time in the world to devote unto this tragedy.
When I use the phrase “all the time in the world,” I mean just that: I really do have nothing better to do. My schedule allows for my availability during the entire extent of your store’s hours of operation. Additionally, one of my great joys in life is preserving the lost craft of letter writing — such as this charming billet-doux I’ve penned in this instance. Therefore, the concept of spending the rest of my worldly afternoons in your cozy, climate-controlled lobby armed with an ink well, a quill pen and varying papyrus samples, with which to manufacture and distribute my thoughts regarding this unfortunate matter unto the ascending ranks of Enterprise’s supervisory stratum, sounds thoroughly engaging.
To conclude by suggesting I look forward to your expedient reply is a comical understatement. Good day.
The company responded quickly, which I felt was a good call considering my compadre’s communication weighed in like a final warning from Hannibal Lecter. Enterprise stepped up to the plate and assumed responsibility — not for what I did by returning the item unnecessarily, but for acknowledging that my potential good deed was thwarted by its carelessness and/or dishonest staff. Eh, so crisis averted.
What 22K worth of damage looks like. Thanks, Ford.
Sometimes bad customer service sneaks up on you — like the time it took Ford four months to admit my brand new Mustang was totaled and couldn’t be repaired, although I’d been making non-refundable payments on the vehicle AND its insurance policy while the car sat unusable in one of their service bays at an official repair center. Yep.
Sometimes, however, bad customer service hits you in the face right out of the gate, though: A few years ago Verizon purposely drilled a hole the size of a half dollar from the interior to the exterior of my home for FIOS, stuffed the hole with toilet paper until the tech could return, and then, well, never returned. When somebody else FINALLY came back out (after I’d taken several days off from work in order to accommodate Verizon’s scheduling conflicts), the company had adopted a new and improved way of installing FIOS, which made the whole drilling thing unnecessary in the first place. To the company’s credit, months later a structural engineer was sent out to correct the violation. After everything was said and done, Verizon assaulted me with such an ungodly amount of follow-up calls that I began daydreaming about legal loopholes for placing a restraining order against them.
“We’re just calling to ensure your excellent customer service experience with Verizon.”
“Ma-am, would you say you received excellent customer service from your technician?”
Oh, brother. They needed a new system of pandering for those poor folks isolated in the calling centers. And a new script. Making matters worse, I was convinced Verizon put some kind of spybot in my home which alerted them to “convenient” calling times. You know: She’s giving the dog a bath. Call her about our excellent customer service. Or: She needs to pee and just unlocked the front door. Hurry, call and make sure she’s happy with our excellent customer service.
The creme de la creme of terrible customer service episodes occurred in 1994 when my mother ordered an anchovy pizza from Little Caesar’s, which arrived smothered in tuna fish salad. When the mistake was reported and after a second tuna fish pizza arrived, Mom promptly called the sixteen year-old manager in charge. He wasn’t expecting her to hang up, drive to the location, and continue the barrage until they gave us, I believe, a cheese pizza, which was most likely infested with special, flavorless “revenge” toppings. Of course, the final straw was when the staff attempted to convince Mom that there was little difference between tuna fish and anchovies. That’s when Mom went “corporate”.
The common, binding thread of any customer service debacle is silliness. Well, silly in the sense that something ridiculous occurred. These days I like to gauge the impending battle by asking myself, Is this story gonna later translate into a past episode of Seinfeld? And if the answer is Yes, that’s when I roll my eyes and let it go. However, I’m having a tough time forgiving Kidrobot, my vinyl toy fairy.
Kidrobot makes very nerdy, trendy, LOL generation designer toys. For some reason, I got trapped in a crack within the demographic and began collecting the company’s Dunny series. My boyfriend hid the little guys under my pillows and in my truck. When a new edition debuted, he’d bring home a million gazillion “blind” boxes of Dunnys, and we’d sit on the bed forever, ripping them from their cardboard homes and tinfoil pouches.
“Oh, my God! I pulled the Kozik chase!” We learned the secret Dunny language, you see. (If you don’t have a nerd decoder, that means, Excellent news. The hard-to-find Frank Kozik toy was in this box.) Oh, how I couldn’t wait to rush home when Russell would text: Dunnys and coffee waiting for you. They’d evolved into a sentimental event between us — inane, physical tokens shared and understood only within our Dunny club for two. *sigh*
Because the consumer can’t see what s/he’s “pulling,” which I think adds to the fun of it all, sometimes you end up with duplicates. Russell and I have at least several good sized boxes in the garage full of, oh my gosh, twins and triplets and quadruplets and…you get the swing of it. At 6.95 a pop, these little vinyl toys really put a stealthy, unexpected hole in your wallet, so we started buying them in bulk.
(And, yeah, I know this is really more “Friends” than “Seinfeld” at this point.)
There was more than just the thrill of going broke on Dunnys, though. There were…Golden Tickets. *awe* Having spent so much of my life looking for some kind of portal into the world of Roald Dahl, I’d finally found it. I was Kristan and the Dunny Factory.
You didn’t get eternal life or a dream vacation or anything like that if you pulled a special Golden Ticket from your Dunny box. Instead, you got a really special prize: an ultra-rare, highly limited, incredibly nerdy, BRING-DOWN-THE-HOUSE-TOTALLY-AWESOME, to be announced Dunny. I had to get a friggin’ ticket. Had to.
A year ago, Russell brought home a tanker full of boxes, and we opened and opened and opened until Russell froze. In his hand was the Golden Ticket. The super-secret Dunny was going to be designed by none other than one of the most noteworthy and collectible of all Dunny designers, so we were psyched as we abandoned our box-ship to register the ticket’s code in an email to Kidrobot. Moments later, a confirmation arrived; We only had to wait eight months for our new, little guy to arrive in November. You would have thought we were expecting a baby by the way we behaved. I began rearranging the shelves in anticipation while Russell put pictures of our “sonogram” as a joke on social networking sites. Clearly, we were having way too much fun with the whole thing.
November came. November went. The spot for our new baby was still empty. Russell wrote Kidrobot and nothing. We browsed the forums and learned there had been an accident. Someone in the shipping warehouse reportedly mixed our special guys with the “general population,” who were in turn distributed to stores and sold as regular Dunnys. Russell wrote the company again. No reply. Other Golden Ticket holders reported similar trouble. I’d waited for almost a year for nothing, and it really pisses me off.
I pointed out to Russell that I wished we’d spent the money to save an African village or something. It’s embarrassing, and I feel like I’ve lost a friend in this young company that seemed to “get” me — the same company that plagued me with false advertising and failure to respond or correct the situation. But, really, what’s the point of pushing the issue? The story, like I said before, is awfully silly in the grand scope of things. I hate to bitch and moan about stuff like this when there are more important things going on in the world. The whining just doesn’t hold up:
“Oh, woe is me. WOE is me. I didn’t get my Golden Ticket Dunny. I can’t sleep, and quite frankly I’ll never be the same again.”
“Ah, well, did you hear about all the layoffs this week?”
“Bummer. Man, speaking of bummers, I watched that movie ‘Blood Diamond’ about how folks in Africa are dying and being held as slaves for diamond mining by their own people to meet American demands. You should see that.”
“I saw it.”
“Yeah, oh! Did you hear about the little girl who got a heart transplant this week, and now her older sister needs one, but she is still on the donor list? Man, that’s awful.”
So many bummers, and mine is at the bottom, the very bottom, of the list — thankfully.
The new series came out a couple of weeks ago. I had the money to buy them all and didn’t. If Kidrobot isn’t willing to step up to the plate sometime in the real immediate future, I’ll just have to give them the Wal-Mart treatment, which is a heavy dosage of Fuck You. Spare me the trouble, K-bot. I just want the damned toy. Heck, give me another kickass, supercool toy. Say you’re sorry. Let’s be friends again, so I don’t have to belt out another two thousand words of text. I love you, man. Why you gotta be like that?
We didn’t even make it into the chocolate factory. The game was over before it was a game, and Roald Dahl is probably shooting darts at Kidrobot from atop his eternal magic carpet right about now.
Perhaps, a call is in order for Mr. Cartier, letter writer extraordinaire. He’ll have just the perfect nine-syllable word for this mess.