“These are the times that try a man’s soul,” said Thomas Paine back in 1776 when the morale of soldiers was ebbing even lower due to the deprivation brought about by the Revolutionary War. The past fourteen months have given me some insight into that famous statement. If you have read earlier posts, then, you know it has been a year of highlights and low lights, good times, excitement and depressing times. But I think nothing has been harder than stopping smoking.
Between the effects of the medication and the deprivation of nicotine, this has been a fight of self and self. There was no one who could have helped nor anything that anyone could have done. It had to be me wrestling against myself, a battle surpassed only by that between the devil and Daniel Webster. It is only now that I can clearly see the progress being made. Through all these months, I kept waiting for my personality to return and to stop being so passive about everything. Good, bad, or indifferent situations had almost no influence on me. I remained a rock, a dead rock, but, still, a rock. And you just know I hated that.
While not showing it on the exterior very often, I love the thrill of that fire-in-the-belly feeling while maintaining completely in control. It energizes me like nothing else. Today, that indifference flew away finally and there once again were emotions that seemed to elude me. Most of my bills are handled easily and adroitly; however, there is this one company who has a monopoly here and as a result their service is awful. Even their internet site isn’t user friendly.
Due to my error, the bill didn’t get mailed in a timely fashion so I called them to make the May payment via telephone which they will do. Due to various distractions, I didn’t check to make sure that the payment went through. A week or so later, I get a call saying that it didn’t go through and we need to get the May payment completed. So, we went through the entire routine once again. Today, I received a message saying that they hadn’t yet received payment. I was upset and couldn’t figure out what was going on and called them back immediately. That’s when it got really interesting.
I knew these people were idiots from previous experience, but this moved beyond idiotic all the way to incompetent. To make matters worse, a crass, uncaring New Yorker type answered the phone. He proceeded to tell me about excess charges due immediately since my last payment had “bounced”. I proceeded to tell him that they had obviously done something incorrectly since the money was ready to be processed. He talked further but his attitude that I was a deadbeat rang through every word. He hung up suggesting that I talk with my bank.
I hung up making several colorful comments as to what he could do with his attitude and ineptness. I called my bank and no notice of payment due had been processed so I proceeded to call this cretin company back. By now, I had had it with talking with their minimum-wage level customer support people immediately asking to speak with the supervisor. I went through everything with the supervisor in a linear manner using an even toned voice that clearly delineated my efforts to get this bill paid in a timely manner.
Understanding that I was clearly the aggrieved party and they were wrong, he personally took care of the payment, discounted all late fees, and gave the about a one third discount on my monthly bill for a year. Now, that’s what I call customer service. Afterward, I realized that I was back and so was that fire in the belly. I was so energized that I could have run a marathon, okay, maybe a half marathon. I’m still grinning and reliving that moment of time; it feels so fine. Maybe now, the times that try a woman’s soul are over. Tomorrow is starting to look pretty good.