Thursday, March 26, 2015

FTSF: I'd rather scrub a toilet than...

I was all set to write a post this morning about my wild and wayward eyebrows bequeathed to me by my father (and his, and his, etc.). I was all flustered and cranky after a marathon sneezing session following some major tweezing work (does tweezing make anyone else sneeze repeatedly?) that still did not make my eyebrows look tame or similar.

But then I got this email from the hubs, and I thought: aha, new most hated chore!


Back when we were new-marrieds, I did more of the irritating service phone calls to businesses. And back then, because we were young and naive, we had cable. And construction nearby. I don't remember all the details, but I kept having to call for service because the cable line got cut or disconnected or some such annoyance (often due to the construction), and if you've ever had any kind of similar dealings with a cable company, you know how it went. Lies and prevarications and empty promises. A different answer every time I called. As the designated caller in our relationship, I faced the brunt of their unapologetic incompetence. And I'm afraid it broke me.

Finally, exhausted and spent, I passed the baton off to my husband who called and found that notes had been recorded in our account: Wife belligerent and overly emotional.*

That's when he became the designated caller. And let me tell you, he is so much better at it. Somehow, he stays cool. He turns on all his charm and catches all kinds of flies with his honey. But in extreme cases, he knows when to pull out the big guns like the BBB and the newspaper. And let me tell you, those magic words can work wonders.

For the eight or ninth time since October, my husband spent hours on the phone with our insurance company this morning. We should be getting reimbursed a portion of the out-of-pocket costs we pay biweekly for one of my daughter's therapies. The place of business where she receives the therapies has sent in the required information (more than once). We have sent in the required information (more than once), and multiple insurance representatives have promised that the process is in the works. Yet, we receive no reimbursement. What my husband discovered today was that, after five months and nearly ten phone calls, none of the paperwork has been processed at all. Why? Because someone, somewhere along the line, did not write Appeals at the top of one of the forms.

This is where I would become belligerent and overly emotional. And this is where Brian coolly brings out the threats.

I still do a few of the insurance phone calls. Usually the pre-therapy, proactive ones. And I've learned some effective techniques:
1. Call as many times as it takes to get two similar answers. Two of the same might actually contain correct information. My record minimum is four phone calls.
2. Write down the date, name, and badge number of the person with whom you are speaking. That way you have evidence if you receive a different answer further down the line.
But I'd still rather scrub a toilet.

How about you, Dear Readers? What's your most hated chore? I bet Ivy's with me.


*OK, vulgar was another of the adjectives used.

 with hosts Kristi and Michelle

32 comments :

  1. I inherited unruly eyebrows from MY dad, too. I don't sneeze when I tweeze (tee hee), but I do think some of those wild ass hairs are rooted somewhere in the vicinity of my shoulder blade, because I SWEAR I feel it that far.

    I have horrible phone phobia. I guess I never really told my husband how sick to my stomach I get when I have to make a phone call until just recently, and he has been so much better about making calls for me that I just can't make. What a relief! He's very good at it. Doesn't get flustered. Doesn't babble. (Seriously, I have written out scripts before of what to say to help me with this stupid phobia.)

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    1. I'm gonna look at your photo more carefully now. I don't think it's phobia exactly for me, but it's something that brings out the procrastinator in me, for sure.

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  2. I think I kind of love that you got a big ol' label in your file - belligerent, over-emotional, and vulgar. When we were newly-married I was also the primary phone call person because the Hub has some kind of terrible phone phobia. He's terrible at it and he hates it. The man doesn't even like to call for pizza. However. Somewhere along the line he became both the default bill handler and phone call maker. Why? His wife may or may not be slightly belligerent, over-emotional, and vulgar. True story.
    Great advice with the call multiple times tip. We always do the name rank and serial number approach, but your rule is outstanding. Noted.

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    1. I know! And of course you are, too. I've come to expect that!
      Yeah, the chances that you get a wrong answer the first time are pretty high so I call until I get a repetition.

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  3. I'd rather clean the toilets than be the caller as well. I am usually the first caller and my husband is the follow up if the time I wasted didn't provide sufficient results. So he should be first and last caller don't you think? He starts off saying, "Hello, how are you today?" to whomever answers the phone and it totally irks me.

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    1. Yes. I officially say your husband should do it all! He sounds like my husband, though. Starts off with tons of positive to smooth the way.

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  4. Oh I forgot to agree that yes eyebrow plucking does make me sneeze.

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    1. So glad to hear that! I hate sneezing! Therefore, I hate to pluck.

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    2. On the rare occasion that I wear mascara, I sneeze then too and end up with a print of eyelashes about my eye.

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    3. I wear mascara nearly every day so I've learned to NEVER tweeze after it's been applied.

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  5. AMEN!!! I would pretty much prefer to clean anything than call the stupid insurance company! Why, oh why, do they make it so hard?

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  6. First thought is that you need to meet my daughter...she is obsessed with her eyebrows! Hates them! Lol!
    Next, I have to say I'm proud to know you have belligerent and overly emotional in your file! Half the time the people on the other end of the line are brain dead robots, good for you for being REAL!

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    1. I don't actually hate mine. I like the connection with my father and ancestors. But I don't like plucking daily (and I don't like sneezing), and it really must be done daily to keep them under control. At least now they're starting to turn white!

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    2. Oh, and REAL, I am. Appropriate and civil, not so much.

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    3. This is awesome. I am sure I have been profiled as "crazy and unreasonable" a time or 700....great post!

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  7. Oh there is nothing more FRUSTRATING that having to make those dreaded calls!! My hubs takes to them much like yours... as I am the one who will bring the crazy and pour it all over the conversation out of sheer irritation!! I absolutely HATE wasting my time doing that dreaded chore!! And getting nowhere too...

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    1. The crazy! Yes, they definitely bring the crazy out of me. Like a pot boiling over!

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  8. I will do every other chore - the phone calls are all for Matt. When I get flustered and upset, I tend to cry, and all my credibility goes out the window.

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    1. Yes! Don't you hate it????? I feel them welling, and I get so MAD because I think they make me sound and look weak, which I am NOT, but my passions overflow in tears always, always.

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  9. I think the cable people ruined it for all of us. I don't remember my parents fighting with customer service peeps over the phone, but, gah, it's like the worst thing ever these days. So tiring just to get stuff made right! I'm going to go scrub a toilet now. :)

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    1. Well, that'll be more pleasant than one of these phone calls!

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  10. UGH I cannot stand making those phone calls and is it wrong that it totally awful that the note on the cable company's file about you totally cracked me up? LOL. (and vulgar)
    Love it. So annoying that somebody didn't put Appeals at the top of the forms. I hope they get it figured out soon!

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  11. Insurance company true story: I got rear ended. A button broke on my dash. First 10 people on the phone refused to authorize the repair, even though I showed the broken button to everyone, including the adjuster. I just kept calling, and calling. Finally, I got I guy on the phone to whom I laid out my story (keeping it polite). He listened and then said "who am I to say that something didn't fly through the air during the accident, hit the button and break it? Is that what happened?"

    Me: Nope.

    Him: Who am I to say that something didn't fly through the air during the accident, hit the button and break it? Isn't THAT what happened?

    Me: (belatedly catching on to what he was trying to do on a line that was probably being recorded). Uhhh....yeah, sure.

    Him: Well then!! That's settled. I'll process your claim right now. Thank you and have a nice day!

    So sometimes customer service people who care actually have to circumvent the system to take care of their customers. It's grotesque, but big companies don't really seem to want to care about their customers. Reminds me of that insurance company scene from The Incredibles (if your kids are too old for it, watch by yourself anyway!)

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    1. Hey! You have a good story! And you back up my call for perseverance. I swear that's how my husband gets it done. He keeps calling until he gets the right answer.

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  12. YOU my vulgar friend are my new HERO!!!!!!!
    and for the record, I can't stand to clean toilets.

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  13. My husband makes me do all the calls to places. He has some weird social phobia with it, like even when we drive thru McDonalds, he'll make me lean over the passenger seat to make the order for him. He's afraid to talk to people. He finds the courage when it's just him, but if I'm there to do it for him, then he makes me do it. In the past, my father handled this stuff, and he bugged phones recording a days worth of conversation during peak moments, like if I looked suspicious, but also, every time he had to call a utility company, so I know customer service was horrid back then too if my dad wanted to record conversations as evidence, but I swear the work ethic in America overall is going down so bad that's why we never get the right answer. It's not that they mean to lie to you. They just don't know their job and refuse to tell you they don't know. So they make something up. I have an attorney and for over 6 months I called leaving messages with my caseworker, no calls back. Finally I find out I no longer have a case open with them, and instead of saying that to me, the secretary kept sending me to someone random, and that person never returned my calls because I didn't have a case open with them, and I'm like, "You dragged me along for over 6 months because you didn't know how to handle your job!" The reason it's that way is their management doesn't want to hire anyone who is as good at their job as they are, because they don't want to feel intimidated or their job threatened by a newb. I think it's one of the biggest downfalls to our economy and why many places are going overseas for labor. I hate calling people like that because this is the type of stuff I'm thinking about WHILE I'm talking to them, so I basically feel like I"m negotiating with a terrorist every time I have to call my cable or insurance company.

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    1. Oh, I'm sorry you have to make the calls. But does he scrub the toilets?
      I agree that the people who answer the phone are poorly trained. That's why you have to call over and over. But I don't think that's what drives business overseas, and I don't think the people who answer in India (or wherever) are any better trained. It's just a big mess!

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  14. Those calls are SO annoying and tedious! What I like about this is that you knew when you'd hit your limit and passed the responsibility on to your husband. I have a hard time letting go of stuff like that thinking I"ll somehow change the system and it'll all become easy breezy.

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    1. I have my moments like that, for sure. They've lessened over the years, though.

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