Once, I was engaged to an East Indian. He was two or three or even one on the “sweetest romances I have ever had, in the beginning,” list so please don’t assume from this story I’m prejudiced in anyway against East Indians. At work they gave him a Rebel Without a Cause poster both because he was a rebel with too many causes, all against himself it turned out, and he looked like a darker James Dean. I remember when he would slick his hair back and roll up the tee shirt sleeves to assume protector of Pia role. Uh yeah it worked as well as it sounded. This was in the early 80’s. We worked on East 28th between Madison and Park which was a welfare hotel capital then.
Me=native New Yorker with a tude. He=MidWesterner trying to adopt a street face. He was eight years younger than me, had a law degree by 21, and would be getting a PHD in AI. Couldn’t scare anybody, but tried so hard. Oh I do remember this relationship with affection.
The above was me being defensive. Here’s the story:
I live a few blocks from the beach and it’s not illegal to set off fireworks. Or it is but it’s not enforced. We certainly have enough dynamite stores. Fireworks began going off at Midnight and went off all night. It was fine when on the beach. But then I began hearing them from outside houses. Most of our houses are wood framed. Mine sure is. I began to wonder what errant fireworks could do, if a stray one would amble a bit to my house.
I didn’t fall asleep until after six AM. It was a deep luxuriant sleep filled with good dreams and thoughts of the New Year. Then I heard a noise. I don’t know how to describe this song. It’s a combo; the worst of techno, fusion, rap and disco. It didn’t stop and it was freaking loud. Finally I remembered that I had set my cell to that noise because I can never hear it on the beach and I was planning on spending all day Saturday walking.
It was 8AM. Somebody had died. That was the only explanation. Nobody would call anybody that early on New Years Day except in a dire emergency. I found the phone and answered my voicemail. It was Amex telling me that me my card had been suspended, and to call the fraud squad. Three quarters asleep but still no fool I found my card and called the number on it. I was immediately transferred to the fraud squad.
Com(dot)com had tried to charge my card $59.95. Now I would have disputed this charge when I saw it, probably on Monday, but I had an account with them going back ten years at least.
“You called me at eight AM New Years Day to tell me this?”
“Well it very important. Your card was used in a fraud.”
“Actually it wasn’t. Do you realize the time it is in the East Coast America?” (As I could tell I was speaking to an East Indian not in America)
“Yes but this very important. Your….”
“Look deny the charge but the card wasn’t used in a fraud. I had a long relationship with com(dot)com, and your records should indicate that.”
“Is not a fraud?”
“Well I opted out of Amex recurring charges but com(dot)com probably doesn’t know that.”
She said something else. I asked if Amex was aware that I check my bill everyday and pay it every time there’s a new charge. I’m not bragging at all; I think that’s rather compulsive of me but I justify it by saying that I use my card instead of cash. Which means I have way too many skymiles. I figured I could travel the world twice, just stay in the airports, and nobody would want to make a movie about that. I don’t want to spend money on hotels, force myself on friends, and am ambivalent about couch surfing. Really I think a good hotel is one of the wonders of the world. Really I can’t go anywhere until I finish my book….Then I will go somewhere wonderful.
The conversation seemed to go on for hours as they had to reinstate my Amex card as this wasn’t a fraud. I went back to sleep. Unfortantely I didn’t wake up until Noon. By the time I got out my house the beautiful sunny day was turning into a gray and dreary one. I had to do a New Years Walk to Cherry Grove Pier-it’s only two and half miles there and back and I had so wanted to walk further into Cherry Grove. It’s not often this time of year the weather is so perfect. Or was. It began to rain about a minute after I came home.
On the walk I thought about the phone call. Unwillingly. There were a million better things I wanted my mind to be occupied with but something really bothered me.
Ha! Yes I was upset by the timing. More than that I was upset because I live in a county with double digit unemployment. There is a county in South Carolina that has almost depression level unemployment figures. Personally I should be glad as it keeps prices low. Obviously that makes my money go further.
I believe in a global economy. We’re one world; deal with it. But America’s in crisis now. We need jobs and any American would have understood why that call was so wrong on so many levels at eight AM on New Years Day. I thought anybody in the world would understand but the woman didn’t even apologize.
Customer service people in companies like Amex really play a variety of roles. People are calling about their money at a time when money isn’t easy to come by. People watch dimes when they didn’t watch a hundred dollars before. I was pissed. Amex needs all their customer centers for Americans in America. Oh god do I feel guilty for thinking this but.
So I emailed them. This morning I woke up to a cut and paste email sent by a, yes, woman with an East Indian name. Part of it did say
You have plenty of SkyMiles earned on the account. Please note that the Delta SkyMiles program is a Frequent Flyer program allowing you to earn SkyMiles and redeem them for travel awards.
When flying on a qualified Delta, Delta SkyTeam Alliance Partner, Northwest, or Continental flight, you can redeem SkyMiles towards all or part of the price of Delta tickets.
Award Travel refers to the ability for Delta SkyMiles Members to redeem miles for tickets.
Again I feel so guilty for thinking this but I believe that a complaint email should be addressed by a person in the country you’re querying about. Once I almost jeopardized my credit as I called a credit bureau and spoke to a man from another country who wrote everything I said down wrong. It took many letters to straighten that up.
I called Amex and spoke to a wonderful man in the fraud department who totally got me. Chris explained that com(dot)com had tried to put through the charge three times though I had opted out of recurrent charges and this triggered a fraud alert. Couldn’t this have been explained to me on Saturday morning? Honestly I would have understood.
He didn’t know if I were eligible for any program besides Skymiles and put me on with the wonderful Heather from Pittsburgh. I called just a few months ago to ask this question and was told I wasn’t eligible for anything else. Uh but the person didn’t know about Marketplace where I can get hotel rooms, cars (if I drove) and many other goods. It would have been nice if the person who emailed me had bothered to look this up or had said she didn’t know. I get paperless statements and should begin reading everything beside the actual bill.
Then Heather offered me a $150 loyalty reward credit.
Sometimes it really does pay to complain bitch stand up for your beliefs. But this isn’t how I wanted to spend part of the first two days of the year. Does this mean my year will be tangled up in paperwork? Uh!!
I had planned on spending one weekend out of 52 not thinking about bills, not on the computer, not doing anything but what I wanted to do. Until computers can truly think as humans and decide what is really fraud or not humans should oversee them. Until Chris explained to me that com(dot)com tried to put the charge through three times I was amazed that a recurring charge would be considered fraud. While I understand that computer fraud is a growing problem, and am glad they’re working for me, I can’t believe they would call somebody at two AM. I can’t believe how defensive I am about this! This post totally embarrasses me as I sound like such a bigot and I’m not. But I strongly believe in professionalism. This was the first sentence in the email. Normally it would have made me laugh
I do understand the reason of your displeasure as we called you in the wee hours of the winter morning, and a New Yearâs Day on top of that.
Yes those symbols were in it. “Wee hours” generally mean before dawn, and the first half of the sentence could have stood a lot of editing. I’m frustrated about a lot of things and found one stupid thing to take my displeasure out on. I promise I won’t be complaining in here in the next month or so. Unless….