Friday, May 29, 2009

A Nice Thing Happened Today

I just spoke to a wonderful young man. Wes is his name, and dispute resolution's his game. Say what you will about Kobe or LeBron, Wes is the best player at his position in America today.

If you've been following the saga of my computer from hell, you know that I wasn't asking for much. All I wanted was a device which would recognize the peripherals and not annoy me. A machine which promised reliability in the simplest of operations : turning on and off. A machine which didn't thwart my every attempt to cut-and-paste in a document (in fairness, this may have been a Vista issue) and which would allow me to download the driver for my printer from the manufacturer's website and to install that driver efficiently. Without 3 different downloads, each resulting in a different error message/help window. Without random demands to save a document I only wanted to print and then not letting me save it once I'd given up and decided to go along to get along with the damn thing.

This week, after a round of confusing emails, a gentle and intelligent technician visited the patient and replaced its guts. Kind of like buying a Ferrari and then, 7 weeks later, putting in a replacement engine. Even if it is another Ferrari engine, it's not the same. I didn't want to do it, but by the time they were able to diagnose the problem as the motherboard and not as a third-party-software-compatibility-issue my window of opportunity to return the thing had slammed shut.

Yes. All the time I spent believing their drivel didn't make me a good customer at all - it made me a schmuck. And I cried. Again. Over my birthday present.

OK, so stop whining and moaning and put the computer's not working and I hate it I hate it I hate it vibe back into its corner and do something, said I. I had disputed the charge when the first machine wouldn't turn on and that dispute was due to run out yesterday. Yesterday I thought I had a machine that worked. Today, I found out the truth and, rather than try the manufacturer once again, I called the credit card company and found Wes.

Actually, first I had to listen carefully to the prompts. They weren't too slow or too stupid as these things go and with little ado and hardly any waiting Wes's soothing voice said hello.

He asked questions and gave me answers and listened. Really and truly listened to every sad and sorry side of the tale. He made sure he understood what had happened, and didn't mind when I helped him to see it my way. He didn't think I was rambling, he was encouraging me to tell him what happened. He started out by telling me that I was hosed, but he said it in such a nice way that I felt totally comfortable when I began to explain to him why he was wrong and I was right. And he listened. Asked some more questions and thought a bit as (with a dramatic but heartfelt sigh) I said "I'm not asking for that much, am I?"

"No, you're really not."

Even if he had stopped right there, and left me to fend for myself in small claims court (hey, I've got nothing but time and I know I'm right!), I'd have been ok. He heard me, he agreed with me, but I was hosed. But he went on.

He understood my position and he would take over now. I didn't have to do anything. He would see if the company would talk to him. We agreed that all I want to do is return the thing and pretend it never happened. And he's going to deal with it. No forms for me to fill out. No calls to make. No statements to write. He'd been composing as I'd been speaking and he was going to take care of it.

Just like that, I was smiling.

I'd planned to switch to another credit card with different benefits, but after spending a while with Wes I'm staying put. He's made me a customer for life.

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