Sunday, July 23, 2006

Waiting for...whatever

To me, one of the most maddening annoyances of contemporary life is waiting for someone to show up to deliver or do something at some vaguely specified time. Usually this means taking time off from work (not that I mind taking time off, but I’d like it to be for something I actually want to do)—a sacrifice that is of utterly no import to Those Who Make Us Wait.

If you’re lucky, you get a window of, say, morning or afternoon. If you’re really lucky, they’ll show up during the window, and if you’re really, really lucky they might appear near the beginning of the window. But then they may show up much later or not at all, and there’s basically not a frigging thing you can do but sit and fume and make up imaginary scenarios of retribution.

The offenders are legion. Let me tell you about Verizon or, God forbid, Comcast. I once waited in vain most of a day for a Comcast “technician” to show up. When I called to find out where the phantom cable guy was, I was informed that he claimed to have called my number but there was no answer so he didn’t make the call. When I said I had been there the entire time and if the technician actually said that then he was a lying sack of crap (I was angry, you know), I was essentially accused of lying myself.

On another occasion, a service representative from Long Fence told me he didn’t arrive at my residence as promised because he called my office number and I wasn’t there. When I pointed out that of course I wasn’t at my office, because I was at the service address waiting for you, he didn’t quite seem to get it.

I hate getting things sent UPS, because UPS apparently can’t figure out that during the day PEOPLE ARE NOT AT HOME. So they leave an illegible “attempted delivery” note, which says they’ll try the same thing tomorrow at some unspecified time the next day, and of course the same thing happens all over again. And again. And then you have to try to make it to goddamn Largo or wherever in rush hour traffic before their office closes. So something that someone paid big bucks to send Second Day Air winds up taking a week to be delivered. Why can’t UPS figure out how to make residential deliveries at times when someone might possibly be home?

I’m ranting because I have been trying to get an electrician to install an electric line to the rear common area of our small condo—a job which required my presence to grant access and direction. The bossman estimator was late for his appointment, which should have given me a clue, but his price was pretty good, so we said okay. This past Tuesday, the electrician arrives two hours late, works a couple of hours and then tells me he needs to go get more supplies. An hour later, he calls to say he had to go attend to an emergency call somewhere else and wouldn’t be back that day. I’m unhappy, so I call his boss who gives me a different story, namely that the electrician had gotten overheated and his nose was bleeding. So now I don’t know what to believe (it was a hot day) and point out that I was missing an entire day of work and the job wasn’t even half done. The boss says he’ll send the guy on Saturday. I say, when? He says 9:00. I say okay.
So Saturday comes and we wait. And wait. Can’t get anyone on the phone, and no one responds to voice mail. By noon, we decide no one is coming and start making other plans for the afternoon. At one, the electrician calls and says he’ll be there in an hour. I consider biting his head off, but really want the job done, so I bite my tongue. He shows up and actually almost finishes the job. But he needs a couple of items that he doesn’t have with him. Says he’ll be back on Sunday.

On Sunday, we stick around all day waiting. Again, no one answers the phone and no one calls. So who knows? I’ll call tomorrow. I can’t wait.

I’m not exactly saying you should never call Silver Coast Electric for any electrical repairs. I’m just saying…


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