Friday, February 26, 2016

The Gas Company Strikes Again...Part I

Mistakes happen.

And bad customer service reigns supreme throughout the land.

At least this seems to be my life with the local gas company. For nearly 20 years I have been the unfortunate recipient of mistakes and bad customer service. Usually in the same visit. Things have gotten so bad I am more surprised when a visit goes off without a glitch. Shouldn't my experience be the opposite?

Is it too much to expect to place a phone call, discuss the price per gallon, argue over the extra fees (Come on people, a fuel surcharge fee? That's so last year. Besides, gas is the lowest its been in years--next thing you know, they'll be charging a hose connect fee to complete the delivery.), get a final total, go pay for it in person (because they overcharged your credit card on the phone), get and look at the receipt before leaving (because they put it on another account), get thanked for using their service (never happens), and expect delivery of the product in a timely fashion (if it shows up at all)? Well, is it?

Gimme a break!

If you missed the earlier tale of my bad gas experiences, you can check it out here.

In late October when the first chilly morning dawns (Chilly is subjective here, because as the MAFW, my hormones fluctuate on an hourly basis, so your definition of chilly might be slightly different. For me, it's usually noticeable frost on the windshield) I pull out the Farmer's Almanac and read their projections for the winter ahead. I also look at the local television station's long-term forecast and then take an afternoon hike searching for any woolly bear caterpillars (more brown and less black) that might be around (sometimes, old school still works best). Based on those factors and the balance in my checking account, I send out positive thoughts to anyone that might be listening (for patience and a sense of humor) and make the call.

The following conversation occurred last fall:

Rep: "Hello? Heritage Propane. Can I help you?"

Me: "Hi, I'd like to place an order for propane, please."

Rep: "Sure. Do you have an account with us?"

Me: "Yes, I do."

Rep: "Sure. What's the account number?"

Me: "I'm not sure, I don't have paperwork from last year. Can you look it up another way?"

Rep: "Sure. What's your phone number?"

I rattled off my telephone number.

Rep: "I'm sorry, I don't have you in my system. Could it be listed under another name?"

Me: "Nope. I've had the same name for 48 years."


Rep: "Sure." (What is it with the sure?) "Let me check again? Could you repeat the number?"

Me: "Sure..."

Check back for part two on Monday!

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