Thursday, February 12, 2015

Tales from the Workplace, Part VI

I am posting stories from my job, because I think they're funny.  I've done my best to disguise my company name, even the industry, and to keep the people I write about and even some details of the situation anonymous.  If you know me, and know where I work, please don't include details in your comments.  I'll have to delete your comment and reconsider posting these stories.

So, a customer wanted to order from us, but they had a LOT of questions.  They had multiple calls with our sales guy to get their questions answered, received an ENTIRE PALLET of our product free, as a sample (we usually send out a small box with samples, so they got special treatment), had more questions, wondered if we couldn't lower our price, had more get the idea.  Then they decide that they would, indeed, like to order from us.  Yay!

So it takes us a few days to create the product, a few days to schedule a truck to deliver it to them, etc.  Since they're a first-time customer, we require payment in advance, but we don't require it WAY in advance--if they pay by credit card, we'll just run it the morning the truck is arriving to pick up the load.  We told them all of this.

The day arrives--the truck is coming to pick up the product.  I call at 8:00 a.m. and get a voicemail recording saying they don't open until 9:00.  Okay.  I call back after 9:00 and am told that only one person has the credit card information, and she's currently on a local radio show so is unreachable.  Um, okay, but the truck's coming at 10:00.  He'll see what he can do.  The truck driver arrives, we start loading the stuff into the truck.  The lady finally calls at around 11:00.  She'd love to pay us, but her credit card has a credit limit of barely more than her bill with us is, and it's pretty much full right now, and while she paid it off the other day and the money left her checking account, it hasn't yet been credited to the credit card balance.  Um, not my problem?  I can sympathize, but what are we supposed to do about it?  You knew you needed to pay for the order before it left, and you didn't send a check in advance, and you didn't plan far enough ahead to clear off enough room on your credit card with time to spare...

She said she'd look for her other credit card, but the card was at home and she wasn't, and she'd have to call back later.  She said I could keep trying the card that was full, but I doubted that would do much good.  (I did try it later, a couple times, and unsurprisingly, it didn't go through.)

Meanwhile, the truck is loaded, weighed, and ready to leave.  So the owner of my company asks the trucking company to do us a little favor (this is not one of the behemoth companies, but a smaller local-ish company, so they agree).  They'll take the load from here to their hub between us and the customer, and hold onto it until we receive payment and release the load from the trucking company to the customer.  Great.  Problem nearly solved!

The lady calls me, gives me a new credit card number, but mutters how she was really hoping to get those airline miles (still not my problem, and if you wanted them that badly, you would have paid off the CC sooner; I think she was hoping I'd just say she could wait a few days [her bank said it'd likely be another two days before the payment was posted, which SUCKS for her, but again, not my problem], but I didn't).  Payment goes through, yay!  So we tell the trucking company they can go ahead and deliver the load, which they say they'll do the next day.

The next day, I get a call from the trucking company.  They've arrived at that customer's location, and there is apparently only one employee on the premises, and he says he can't unload the load alone and will need the truck driver's help.  This isn't something they HAVE to do, and certainly not anything we contracted for, but the driver is willing.  However, the freight company charges $75 an hour to do this, which isn't unreasonable, I don't think.  I tell them that if the customer says they need the help, what can we do but provide it, but to please let me know when the driver's done helping how many hours they'll be charging us for, because we are certainly going to pass the charge along to the customer ASAP and we don't want to wait for the freight bill to arrive.

I find out later that once the customer heard that THEY were going to have to pay for the unloading help, he managed to figure out how to unload the product himself (or find help elsewhere).  But seriously, after all the pre-order runaround, and then the snafu with the payment, you had plenty of warning that this load was coming.  Granted, the one guy may not have been kept in the loop about the holdup because of the payment issue, but again, NOT. MY.  PROBLEM.

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