How to Complain
Greetings stress jockeys!
Today the Read&Delete breaks new ground with our latest instructional feature entitled:
HOW TO COMPLAIN.
Let's face it folks-- in the natural order of events in our daily lives we've all been cheesed off at one time or another by a plethora of phenomena ranging from the rarified air of pure incompetence all the way down to out and out larceny. Sometimes it seems like everybody remotely connected to humanity is working overtime just to tick you off.
One of life's ongoing traumas comes from dealing with medical professionals. After much experience being under the care of various physicians, I have discovered that most doctors either do not have or do not use any arithmetic skills in the performance of their duties. This is painfully evident from their billing operation, judging from the series of irrational numbers that the 'front office' boldly submits to the insurance company. Maybe your insurance company looks it over and maybe not, but they will deny it anyway, citing either confusion or apathy. Then you get the bill, and you start to wonder why they really needed to send your urine sample to an anesthesiologist, or why your wife's latest checkup includes charges for a prostate exam. As a veteran of the billing wars, I can tell you that there is no solution or even armistice in the offing when it comes to battling the minions involved first in trying to separate you from your hard earned health-care dollars and then your sanity.
Your government is hard at work. Nobody is really sure what they are doing, but they are hard at work. All that you can be certain of is that they want your money. They are busy collecting trillions of dollars from billions of people, hemorrhaging most of it off as administrative costs. As incomes go, the top 1% ( the super rich) pay 30% of the tax bill-- the bottom 50% (the poor folks) pay 3.9%. The other 49% of the population (middle class- us) foot the remaining 66%. There is a term used for the idea of paying by mail for a product or service and not receiving what you are paying for. That term is "mail fraud". Unfortunately (or fortunately- if you are a federal employee) the US government cannot sue itself for its own larceny. So every payday you see mo' money slipping down the dark drain of progress.
Your washer\dryer\dishwasher\refrigerator\furnace\central air\water heater is not working properly. You call the store you bought it from for service - because you paid extra for a 'service contract'. Sometime between two days and eight months later the company sends over some grease laden Homo Erectus to repair it. Six hours later the guy has the thing taken apart and pieces are spread out all over the Western Hemisphere. Soon there are two other Neanderthals here to 'help' (at least they have opposable thumbs) and a supervisor shows up just to see what is going on (probably out of morbid curiosity). Every part of your house is now covered in layers of dirt, mud, oil, dust and\or lint.
If you have never, ever, EVER complained in your entire life-- you obviously haven't dealt with a building contractor. If you have high blood pressure, hypertension, panic attacks, stress disorders, heart disease, alcoholism or epilepsy ---don't get involved with contractors. All of the above disorders can be caused by having a room addition put onto your home. One common thread runs through all of the contracting trades- be it concrete, electrical, carpentry, painting, roofing or whatever-- contractors have absolutely no sense of time. Everything that exists can cause a delay in the work. The weather can be too hotcoldwetdrydarklightwindycalm or else there's a wedding on that weekend. Somebody ordered/sent/invented the wrong part, or else it's on backorder. In the meantime the area in and around your house looks like Bosnia, and you receive more than your share of dirty looks from your neighbors.
Apathy-- larceny--- incompetence-- a trinity of synergy-- found in its purest form only at your local automotive repair shop. Laissez- faire, I don't care, c'est la guerre-- caveat emptor. Bring your car into the shop, go into the waiting room and lie down on the altar- you are about to become a human sacrifice. You are likely to be both emotionally and financially disemboweled by a team of professionals, who will expertly grind you down until you become a walking misanthrope. By the time you get your car back for the third time, (which still isn't repaired, by the way) you will fear and mistrust all lifeforms.
The eleventh plague..... telemarkers.
WHAT TO DO ABOUT IT
OK. Somebody's got your goat. How do you get it back? How can you get some satisfaction after being robbed/ignored/abused/lied to/shunted to voice mail purgatory? Who do you complain to anyway? Do you keep on calling until you wear out your button-pushing finger- and you punched so many touch-tones that your phone qualifies as a musical instrument? No, no, no,no,no! According to conflict resolution experts Cody Pendant, Hugh Sless and Warren Tevoid, specialists working at the Amanda B. Reconwith Center for the Off-Centered, there are many courses of action that you can take prior to not taking it anymore. Here is their list of ten sure-fire conflict resolution steps that you can try: (I have included stories of my own personal experiences using these tactics.)
#1.Get the facts straight.
If you stood waiting in line at the license bureau from Tuesday afternoon until Friday night, don't tell them that you were there on Saturday morning, they might think that you were exaggerating. Get the names of those you spoke to, be it Donnie Dimwit in tech support, Cindy Clueless in customer relations or Betty Jo Blather, who makes her living fielding complaints -- while reading from a third grade script. Remember these people's faces- so you can smile and wave to them while you sit in front of them counting your change six times at the drive-through line at restaurants and ATMs.
#2. Write a letter.
People will promise nearly anything when you call them up on the telephone. The problem is that the promises can 'evaporate' as soon as you hang up. This is especially popular in the area of medical billing and insurance claims. The entire medical insurance industry prides itself upon having customer service employees the attention span of a two year old. They sit in front of their computer terminals supposedly entering in all of your pertinent information for the claim as they are talking to you on the phone. Are you sure? Maybe they are playing solitaire, or surfing the web. Even if they really are entering your information, they are typing it in using some horrid shorthandthat nobody can recognize. They do this for 2 reasons: