Friday, September 11, 2009

7 Quick Takes Friday, Vol. 6

1. So the Hokies lost last week, but that's okay. It could have been a LOT worse, we were leading until the 4th quarter against a great team, with zero offense on our part. I think that's pretty impressive actually, and says a lot of great things about our defense and special teams. If we can get the offense to put in just a tiny bit of effort and skill we'll have a great season.

2. Bill and I are heading to Blacksburg for the game tomorrow and had quite the debacle with our tickets. We ordered 4 back in July for this game from a well rated retailer, then I started getting worried when we hadn't received them. So I called and they said "the promoter we get them from hasn't received them yet, we can't do anything until closer to the time." So this past Wed I called and asked why we had no tickets yet and the guy put me on hold supposedly to talk to the promoter then came back saying, "well they just received them. They'll put them in the Fed-Ex on Thursday and you'll get them by Saturday." To which I pointed out that we are 4.5 hours away from the game so getting them by noon on Saturday for a 1:30 game wasn't really going to work. Then it got nasty where the guy was saying that they only guarantee that you have them in time for the event, not in time to also drive to the event. Right. He also got mad because I called him a liar for saying that they just received their tickets. I know that is untrue because everyone else I know got their tickets from whichever source they bought them from, weeks ago. He finally said, we'll upgrade you to overnight shipping for free so you'll get them by Friday at noon.
Thursday at 5:30 I had not received shipping confirmation or a tracking number so I called back. The guy I talked to this time asked me to hold to once again supposedly talk to their source for the tickets then comes back and says "It will be shipping out today and get to you tomorrow by noon." I asked why I had no tracking info yet and pointed out that it was getting late in the day and he said "yes, but they will be putting them in the last pickup of the day. You'll have to be home to sign for them in the morning, I'm sending you the tracking info now." So I wait, and wait and by 1am when I went to bed I still had no tracking number. This is important because I was intending to change the delivery location to my office building so I didn't have to stay home waiting.
When I wake up this morning at 7am, still no tracking number. However their customer service line doesn't open until 8am Central so 9am where I am, so I end up calling out for the morning. I call at 9:15, wait for 20 minutes to get through to someone and surprise! it's the guy I talked to the night before. He checks and says "let me check why they haven't shipped yet" right before putting me on hold which starts up my anger to a little flicker. Then he quickly comes back and says "they are going out today overnight so you'll get them by tomorrow at noon." Incorrect answer. I, as calmly as possible, inform him why we cannot receive them tomorrow (again) and point out that I was told the night before that they were shipping out. He admits that was him and that he actually didn't talk to the promoter, that there was no answer and he "left a message." So yeah, he lied. And I was home waiting for tickets that were never on their way. After I emphatically tell him that no, we cannot get them tomorrow and that is unacceptable he says "hold on I will call them" and then actually (I believe for the first time anyone really did this at this company) called them. I can tell the difference because I was on hold for a really long time. Like an actual conversation length. Then he comes back and informs me that actually they oversold so they don't have my tickets.

Lets summarize, I called multiple times and talked to multiple people who claimed they were talking to the promoters and no they actually weren't. Clearly. Or they would have been told this problem already. I was blatantly lied to about shipping to the point that if I had been able to wait until Sat morning to receive them, I wouldn't have known until the day of the event that I had no tickets because if I had hung up the conversation this morning after "they are shipping out today..." they still never would have checked.

3. When I threw a not very nice hissy fit (and felt vindicated of my calling the guy on Wed a liar) they offered us some really good seats like 9 rows back on the 50 yard line and said they'd be waiting at will call. So now you want me to believe that you'll be able to get tickets to the will call office in about 24 hours when you couldn't manage shipping the originals to my house in 2 months? Yeah, and I also believe that reindeer really do fly with magic Santa dust. No thanks. His response? "Well I'm trying to help you attend something that clearly you want to, for some reason, or you wouldn't be pressing us so hard about these tickets." No I am not kidding. That's what he really said. Two things about that comment: 1) the tickets were expensive. Not like Madonna concert expensive but expensive nonetheless and we bought 4 of them. Needless to say, this is not a small amount of money we are talking about. Why on earth would I just throw up my hands and say "oh well!" 2) "For some reason" is exactly the wrong thing to say about why a Hokie Alumni wants to go to a Virginia Tech game. We take that as mocking our precious football team and thus do not take kindly to it.

4. When I hung up, I had a full refund and everyone's names to then promptly report them to the better business bureau. That's the third time I've had to report someone to the BBB in 2 months, lets just say I have really bad luck with corporations. Talking to others we've realized that while logic would say that companies would get better customer service due to the recession and their want to keep customers, the exact opposite seems to be true. Which is baffling. The story ends well because I found some nice Hokie Alum in my area who has season tickets and had a family emergency this weekend and thus couldn't go to the game. I had to drive out to Manassas to get them, but now I have tickets to much better seats for 1/3 of what we paid before AND according to the guy the people who we are seated with are really fun to watch the game with. Score!

5. Today is the anniversary of the most horrific attack on civilians on American Soil in modern history. I did not lead off with that nor devote more of my post to it, because others will do so in a much more eloquent fashion then I could ever hope. That morning for me happened this way: Alaina and I both woke up on time that day for class but for some reason decided that we needed a mental health day more, so we were still at home. I had on our teeny tiny old dial tv and saw it on the news and said to Alaina that a plane crashed into the World Trade Center. She thought I meant like a little turboprop that got lost, like a 2 person. I didn't have the words to correct her, until she came out and saw it herself. Then we spent the rest of the day contacting our families and holed up at home. My mom was working in downtown DC right next to the 14th street bridge and she says that she was watching on a tv they rolled onto their floor, then turned around to the windows behind her and saw the smoke coming from the Pentagon and was like "I'm getting the heck out of here." Her and a coworker were part of the last bit of cars that made it past the Pentagon before the backups and the shut downs started.

6. A large part of my memory is the surreal feeling I had while looking at the photos of the Pentagon because when I was a child, my mom worked in an office that was directly where the plane hit. I spent a lot of my childhood in that office with her coworkers because she was a single parent and had to take me in anytime the babysitter's was shut down, school closed, I was too sick to go to school but not sick enough for her to stay home, etc. Her coworkers used to give me "work to do," so odds say if you ever went into the DOD OPM office in the mid 80s and saw a small child standing on top of a box making photocopies- that was me. The one blessing that did occur is that a large portion of the hit area of the Pentagon (including my mom's old office with many of the same coworkers that were so nice to me) had been evacuated because of renovations, so they were all in Crystal City.

7. It's strange when a place is hit with unspeakable violence that you spent enough time in to remember clearly, surreal sadness with a tinge of creepy are the only words to put to it. The next (and only other time) I've had that same surreal sense was when Cho killed all the Virginia Tech Students in Norris Hall. I had classes in two of the classrooms he hit so I actually had flashbacks of the rooms, and what the doorway looked like from my desk, and where the windows were. I would imagine what it looked like to the kids in there when he came through and those seconds before you realized he was holding a gun and firing at you. I didn't sleep well for months, and I had graduated years before so I can't even imagine what it has been like for those who were there and survived either 9/11 or the VA Tech massacre to get past it and keep living their lives. Most people are lifting up their prayers to those who died, but the survivors need it even more IMO because they are still here and are most definitely not at peace.


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