Okay okay okay. I’ve been good for days now — hardly any whining, bitchin’, or complaining. Is it okay if I go back to my old self? You know, the cranky, surly self? ‘Cause I’ve been saving it all up and it’s gonna blow pretty soon. I’ll try to ease in slowly, ‘kay?
So here’s the deal. Whatthehell ever happened to customer service? Is that gone, along with the friendly little clean cut guys that used to pump your gas, check your oil, and clean the windshield? I mean, really, whatthehell??? Here’s what I’ve been through just in the month of December. Granted, it was the Christmas season, and everyone needed something yesterday. But still. Y’all know it took forever for me to get into the spirit of things. But darn it, when I was ready, I was ready. It started out with a clown, which I had to find for my wonderful autistic nephew. He places his “order” for something he really wants with me every year, and I have never let him down. Last year was a Ronald McDonald doll, which used to be everywhere but now is much harder to find. This year was a talking clown. Easy? You would think. But since he sleeps with this stuff, travels with it, and is prone sometimes to being a little rough with things, I needed something soft. No ceramic faces. Found it, finally, on the internet. Trouble is, the little guy didn’t talk. It was supposed to, but it didn’t. So I had to order again — hoping against hope that the place would have another one. They did, and they shipped it, but the problem was this — they never kept me posted on anything. Day after day I waited for an e-mail of some sort telling me “yes, we have it and it’s being shipped on. . .” or “no, you’re outta luck. . .” But I got nothing. And because it was to be wrapped and shipped by me once I got it, I was going against the clock. The replacement clown got here, and they told me not to worry about sending the mute clown back. He’s sitting in my game room — with this maniacal look on his face — scaring the hell out of all of us. Reminds us all of “It,” and we don’t like that much. Anyway, Bozo got here, and the rest should have been history.

But. It didn’t stop there. Enter UPS — the brown guys who pride themselves on fast, efficient service. I have no problem with the drivers — they get their packages, they deliver until the van is empty. Great service. But let the business end get involved, and down you go. And fast. I ordered a couple things from a catalog which has always been very dependable in the past. This order consisted of two separate gifts which were intended for the exchange we have at work prior to our office party. People up here are really fun to exchange gifts with, because everyone works to get cool, unique gifts. So I was very happy with my selections. I pressed the “submit” button and we were off and running. According to the tracking system on the UPS website, the package was on track for delivery on the 15th, and my party was the 16th. The 15th, 16th, 17th, 18th, and so on came and went. Beginning on the night of the 16th (after the day in which I spent apologizing to the two intended recipients ad nauseum), we got on the phone with customer service. By the 22nd, after eight different “managers” promised to call us back (no one ever did), they admitted, finally, that they had lost the package and offered to call and reorder the items, to be shipped overnight, at their expense. Oh, how very nice of you. Except they didn’t do it. They claimed that the catalog order company put them on hold. Excuse me, I have been on hold with UPS since the 16th of December. I think you should be able to handle this for me. So. Time to go out and buy something crappy to replace the really, really cool stuff that I intended to give. Then. Guess what? It’s the night of the 23rd. Make that the morning. Early morning. We are sound asleep when the Ring of Death occurs. You know the one I’m talking about. When the phone rings in the middle of the night and you know it can only mean one thing. Someone is dead. I looked at the clock. 3:30 a.m. Hello? [insert a pounding heart here.] Hi! It’s so-and-so at UPS. Did I wake you? I found your package. Can you come get it? Now? Ever? Umm, I’m thinking “no.” Tell your manager, the one who promised to hand-deliver it no matter what, to get it to me. Click.

Enough, you say? Yeah, me too. But wait! There’s more! Buy the mega-aggravation package and we’ll throw in, at no extra charge, a trip to the United States Postal Service! What a bargain! Packed up all the in-law presents. Huge box. Label, with all the pertinent delivery information, intact. Packaged to USPS standards. Nothing flammable or hazardous, thank you. I’d like to ship this priority mail so they’ll be sure to get it in plenty of time. Sure thing, ma’am. That’ll be a million dollars. No problem. It’s worth it to not go parcel post. Stamp. Seal. Pay. Goodbye, and Merry Christmas (oops, Happy Holidays). This was on the 16th. Anyone wanna wager a guess on when it got to the in-laws? Yesterday. Tuesday, December 27th. Yep.

I’m baaaaaaaaaaack.