Monday, July 9, 2007

Customer service

By Saturday, I had to admit that this was the theme of my weekend. So sit back and read while I tell you about two not-so-good examples and one very good example.

It all started on Friday. Natasha had an appointment with the vet. Now Natasha is not the kind of cat who likes to be held so imagine the fun of trying to wrangle her into the carrier. Oh, and her claws are in desperate need of trimming -- something she will not allow me to do -- and so are guaranteed to draw blood when out. Therefore, I was rather cautious in trying to get her into the carrier. I am tired of looking like a suicide attempt survivor. During the 40-45 minute chase, Boris walked into the carrier several times. In fact, I had to dump him out of the carrier once when I was close to catching Natasha. Finally it dawned on me. Boris had an appointment for Saturday. Did it really matter which cat showed up on Friday? I plopped Boris down in front of the carrier and he immediately walked in. Our drive was a pleasant one. Occasionally I'd glance over at him just to see that he was curled up in the carrier, enjoying the ride. It seemed like a good sign. Until I went to pick him up. (I did a drop-off.) I got back to the clinic at the end of the day only to find out that I could not get Boris quite yet because his paperwork was not complete. I waited at least 20 minutes for this to happen. I was mildly perturbed.

Friday night I had the plan for getting Natasha to the vet. After Boris and I returned home, I noticed that Natasha kept sniffing around the carrier. So I left it on the floor with the door open. Sure enough while I was talking on the phone with my mom, Natasha walked right into the carrier. What my mom heard was, "That heifer!" in the middle of a conversation that had nothing to do with cows. So I left the carrier on the floor all night and got up around 6:30 a.m. (The earliest drop-off time is 7:15.) Around 7:00 Natasha came through. After she entered the carrier, I quietly and slowly crept across the living room and then I slammed that sucker shut. During the drive, I was subjected to howling and cat contortions from a cat who barely makes a single sound. I warned them at the vet's office that they might have to sedate her.

I received a call at 3:00 p.m. from the nurse. They had completed all of her vaccines and other medical work. They had not done the pedicure yet though and he thought that it would be a shame to sedate her for just a pedicure. I asked that they keep her a bit longer so that she could calm down and then try the pedicure. I arrived at the clinic to pick her up at 5:30 p.m. To be greeted by the same twit of a receptionist from the previous evening. (I really miss the old receptionist.) She starts to prepare my paperwork and then says that she can't tell what vaccines they have done. I told her that the nurse had informed me hours beforehand that they had done them all. She informed me that the vet was recommending that I brush Natasha's teeth two to three times week. I then asked if Natasha had had her pedicure. (If I have to brush teeth, then I need to know if the cat who will probably object to the whole thing is likely to draw blood.) She told me, "Yes." She then told me that I would have to wait while the paperwork was being completed and that she would let me know when it was done. I waited 45 minutes. And yes, I was pissed off beyond belief. After Natasha was brought out front, I let the receptionist know that I was pissed. Her response was that it was not her fault. It wasn't. But it is her job to deal with the aftermath of when something goes wrong.

So at this point< I got ethnic. (My mother did not understand me when I told her this. I then rephrased it. "Mom, I got black.") At 6:15 she informed me that Natasha was ready. I had been stewing in my juices so I corrected her. Natasha had been ready at 3:00; her paperwork had not been ready. I informed her that there was a huge difference in my understanding of a pet being ready and hers. My understanding did not encompass paperwork. And so after lots of screaming from me and another woman who had dropped off her pets right after I had in the morning, Natasha was released to me. I quickly scanned the recommendations from the vet as well as the services performed. Funny but it seems in the completed paperwork, a pedicure was never performed. (I know this for a fact from the ride home.) And then I noticed that there was not mention of dental problems. I asked the receptionist if she was sure she was reading the correct file the first time around. All she could say was, "I'm sorry for the inconvenience." I picked up a comment card before I left. I'll be dropping it in the mail on Monday.

And so Saturday seems to be all about stupidity. Because when I left the vet's with howling cat in tow, I needed to stop for food. Probably because the last food I had had was at 9:00 a.m. and I was feeling exceptionally evil. This is something that happens when my blood sugar drops. Something that can happen when a meal is delayed by an hour or more since I'm borderline hypoglycemic. (Someone should have informed the folks in the vet's office about this. Because I know that part of the wrath they felt was my crashing blood sugar. Nah. They're just asshats.) But I had a plan. I still had that dinner for four from Chipotle. So I pulled in and started ordering dinner for three. When I got to the register, I asked for the manager. The jerk appeared. I explained to him that I had won a dinner for four. His response? "Well didn't they give you a name to ask for?" I told him that I was given a name in that two-minute phone call but that I had failed to write it down. I was also told that if that person was not present that I should just ask for the manager. Which I did. I also told him my full name because they called me after all and should have some record of the whole thing. He went into the back. When he came out, he whispered something into the cashier's ear and then walked off. Whatever he said made her give me the bag of food. Yeah, I took the bag of tacos and burritos home. I'm just questioning whether I will ever go there again.

My mother says that I'm overreacting over all of this stuff. I'm not so sure.

On Friday while Boris was at the vet's, I went to the dentist. Now I am highly picky about my dentist. There are years I did not go to the dentist because any dentist that I would see, while in my right mind, did not accept that cheap ass insurance. But last week I realized that I have good dental insurance and free time on my hands. The first sign of civility was when the hygienist told me to raise my hand if I was feeling the least bit of discomfort. Then the dentist came in. I explained to him the constant pain that I have been feeling from my upper right quadrant for months. The office decided that (1) I need a deep cleaning, and (2) I need a couple of fillings. The thing is that the painful area coincides with an area in which I have had a recurring cyst. Given the limitations of monetary dental benefits, it was decided in the office that I should go to see the oral surgeon first as I may need surgery once more. (The shadow on the x-ray was huge.) If the oral surgeon clears me, then we'll do the deep cleaning. After that we'll do the fillings.

The folks in the dental office win the customer service award. They were prompt. They also remembered my past history enough to make recommendations that were reasonable in my opinion. In comparison, the vet clinic is on their way out and the restaurant is hanging on a thread.

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