Tag Archives: customer service

I Hesitate to Tell You that My Life is Bizarre

Being a writer is tough.  I know.  I asked one once.

Sometimes your mind spins in a million directions throughout the day as you take in one seemingly improbably event after another.  You think to yourself: “Damn, this is gonna’ make a great blog post when I sit down to write it!”

But hours later when you sit down to write it you hesitate.

You’re not sure if you can’t prioritize or perhaps you’re thinking back and realizing it only seemed funny to you.  Sure, that cat who was minding its business on the couch in the waiting room of your doctor’s office should not have been slapped by that child who should not have been there and is probably a satanist.  Wait a minute, that actually is funny.  You think back again.  Perhaps you hesitate because you can’t remember and you start to feel like Julianne Moore in Still Alice.  If you haven’t seen it, don’t worry.  Spoiler alert: she battles Alzheimers Disease throughout the flick.

Tonight I hesitate for one reason.  I don’t know that you’ll believe the things I’m about to share.  But hesitation is only good for a moment then it becomes angry and spiteful not unlike Christina Aguilera.  Oh well, here goes…


I cut the cord!

Our microwave broke right before Thanksgiving.  It was three weeks outside of the warranty.  Lowe’s wouldn’t touch it.  An appliance reply lady said it would be cheaper to buy a new one.  We’ve been using a borrowed microwave from my wife’s aunt.  The woman actually has at least two of everything you could ever need in her house.  She lives alone and does not know how to use most of her things.  I contacted General Electric where I received some of the best customer care I’ve had in a long time.  A service rep informed me that they would essentially pay us for the full cost of that microwave.  All I had to do was peel a sticker off the inside.  Oh, and I had to provide proof of purchase.  Done and done.  Oh, and I had to cut the cord off the microwave and send a picture of it.  Rachel at GE did not explain this one to me very well, nor even exactly what kind of picture she wanted.  I experimented before settling on the picture you see here.  On closer review, perhaps I was not supposed to pose with the cord?  Why bring this up now?  Well, after emailing the pictures to GE I got another reply from them that they had not received the pictures.  Turns out the email was still in my drafts folder.  No, I did not take new pictures.  Yes, the check is on its way.  Go GE!  You bring good things to life.


Limey, you’re a terrible friend.

I had friends over this past Saturday and decided to get creative with my bar.  Say hello to Mr. Limey.  He’s British, naturally.  I thought the evening went beautifully until my wife informed me after our guests had gone home that I was a little drunk.  Limey was supposed to see to it that I kept it classy.  Bastard.  He hate me because I’m also Irish.  The next day my wife changed her words a bit to say that I wasn’t “drunk just talkative”.  I’m not sure which is worse.  My apologies to my guests that night.  I thought we had a good time.

My workout is going very well (I think).  I’m on week 3 of BodyBeast.  This is the first phase and it’s called “Build”.  The next six weeks after this are called “Bulk”.  Then the final three weeks are called “Beast”.  I don’t like to brag – because there’s precious little I can honestly brag about – but somehow I was blessed with calves the size of Howitzers.  Think I can skip leg day and continue to work on my pathetic chest?  I think that’s a distinct plan.  Seriously, though, calves?  I only know one person who says “Man I wish I had calves like yours” and he’s a trainer.  I’m also never sure when he’s pulling my leg.  No one walks around saying “Gotta’ get huge calves!”


Thanks, God.  Couldn’t have made this my biceps?

Finally, it is Ash Wednesday.  Or at least it was until an hour and five minutes ago.  At midnight on the dot, this Daddy went straight to the fridge.  As a Catholic, Ash Wednesday is one of our two fasting days.  I’ve gone days in my life where I’ve eaten less.  But when someone tells you that you can’t eat; that’s when you want food.  Also, I’ve been up around 3000 calories a day on this BodyBeast diet.  To drop down to almost nothing really was painful.  Thank God a day is just a day.

And thank you for reading this far.  I’m off to bed.  I’m sure there are many more bizarre events to happen for me tomorrow.  Don’t hesitate to share this post with others.


A Disappointing Dominos Debacle

So we’re clear from the beginning, I’m talking about the pizza place.

Good bye, good pizza...

Good bye, good pizza…

Just about twenty minutes ago I had, for the first time in my life, a very disappointing experience with pizza chain giant Dominos.  I want to be clear in stating that I have always been a fan of their pizza (even though some of the food snobs in my life deride it is “fake”).  Hey, you eat what you like, I’ll eat what I like.  I have an even greater respect for the company’s founder, Tom Monaghan, and his philanthropic giving, especially in the name of his (and my) Roman Catholic faith.  No, this, I hope, is just an isolated incident.

Mrs. Harvey has been gone most of the day.  You see, today is the day of her mother Wilma’s mastectomy (please say a prayer).  Being the courteous wife and mother she is, she had planned ahead for dinner.  She set up an order for a couple of pizzas from Dominos and paid with a credit card.  Wasn’t that nice of her?  When the pizza arrived I made my way to the door where I greeted the delivery man.  As he handed me a bag that had a bottle of soda (she thought of everything) he posed a strange question to me.

“Do you have the card you ordered with?”

I replied: “No, sir, I do not.  My wife ordered it because she was going out.  She’s got the card with her.”

“Oh, well…” he said.  “I’ll, uh, I’ll have to call my manager and see what I’m supposed to do.”

OK, buddy, you do what you feel you have to do.  Now I understand that he’s only a delivery man and it probably is some kind of corporate policy.  But you had to involve the manager?  Whatever.  I went back to chasing after my darling children who were actually being quite delightful.

Almost five minutes later he returned to my front door.  “I’m sorry, sir, but my manager says that I can’t leave the food.”  I put that in quotes because it is a direct quote.  I remember thinking about how odd that phrasing sounded.  You can’t “leave the food”?  Made it sound like I was some kind of indigent beggar or something.  He continued, “Listen, next time you order from us you need to have that card with you.”  Now he was just plain scolding me which I found extremely off-putting.  “Oh that’s quite all right, sir,” I responded.  “There won’t be a next time.”  I guess that isn’t what he wanted to hear because he started to fumble for a different set of words.  If I hadn’t been closing the door I might have heard them.

You know what bothers me most about this (other than not getting my pizza and having to tell the kids we were having something else for dinner)?  It’s the absolute lack of common sense.  Years ago I worked in a department store.  I remember being told by the managers that we, as sales associates, were empowered to make on the spot decisions if those decisions would benefit the customer.  In the past I don’t recall having to show the actual card with these folks.  But clearly, he was fixated on that one thing he had been told in delivery man training — namely “get the card!”  He could have suggested I put my wife on the phone to verify the card number.  Hell, I would have asked her to snap a picture of the card and send it to me if he only needed to “see” it.  But he couldn’t move past the card, the card, the card.

And so after tonight, I don’t know if I’ll be focused on ordering pizza from Domino’s again.  It’s sad, really.  Here in Texas we don’t really have authentic pizzerias like I had growing up so we have to rely on chains.  Already, the Papa John’s won’t deliver to us because of we’re apparently “too far out of their zone”. News flash: we were farther from their shop when we lived in our last house; yet they still delivered there.  I wonder if that house having been inside a gated community had anything to do with it.

Oh well, perhaps I’ll learn to bake pizza on my own…

Lazy (Boring) Friday

At work I taught straight through the day.  I had to sub for an absent teacher.  No problem, though, as it took my mind off being bored.  The year is winding down and the students are, as they say, getting restless.  Through in that their prom is coming up and it gets really crazy trying to capture their attention.  I came home to an empty house.  My wife and kids had gone out to East Texas for the afternoon.  I busied myself by folding several loads of laundry.  Then I went to confession and mass.  That last part has become my Friday night ritual.  If you had asked me ten years ago where I saw myself in the year 2013 I certainly wouldn’t have responded “In a church in Texas on a Friday night.”  But it also passed the time.  After this, I headed out to the Apple Store.  My iPhone (a year and a half old) had been malfunctioning.  The button up top (that actually turns it on and off) would not respond.  I got there just before they closed and they gave me the death stare.  You know, the one that says “I can’t believe you walked in here right as we were trying to start closing and want us to fix something.”  But they did fix it.  Actually they just gave me a new one.  All in all, the day was productive and I managed to avoid the pitfalls of boredom I usually face when my family are away.

Sirius-ly, You Don’t Have To!

I suppose I could let the picture do the talking here.

Six More Months!

But for those who need a bit more of an explanation I will elaborate.  I am a huge fan of satellite radio.  I’m a guy with a commute and, spending over an hour in my car every day, I like to have a lot of choice when it comes to my listening selection.

Six months ago I set a reminder on my calendar that I should cancel the Sirius-XM subscription in my Honda Accord.  I did this because this was the day that the six months for $25 deal expired.  If I didn’t act now to cancel I was going to get billed at the usual rate of $1400 per day or something like that.

Imagine my surprise when I called the good folks at Sirius-XM this evening and, after spending just a few minutes on hold, spoke with a lovely lady in Rangpur who miraculously found the exact same deal I was offered six months ago for me tonight!

So now I can drive off into the sunset, er, sunrise tomorrow morning happily listening to Mike Church or Studio 54 Radio or, or, or anything other than terrestrial radio!

Don’t get me wrong, I still actually enjoy listening to some land-based stuff.  For instance, my traffic reports on XM just aren’t as good as the stuff from the local guys.  But this just made my night.

Thank you, Sirius-XM!

My Advice? Make It A Bennigan’s Night!

Recently I wrote of an experience my wife and I had dining at a Bennigan’s restaurant here in Texas.  We had a gift card, albeit several years old, and we were unable to use it due to the parent corporation having declared bankruptcy a few years ago.  We still enjoyed our dinner (I’ve always been a fan of Bennigan’s).  We just paid out of pocket for our meal.  That evening I turned to my nightly therapy and blogged about the whole thing.

Old(er) Bennigan’s signage.

The next morning I was most pleasantly surprised to see a comment on that post awaiting moderation.  The comment came from a gentleman named Paul Mangiamele who said he was the CEO of the Bennigan’s Franchising Company.  He had come across my blog and wanted to reimburse me for the mix up with our gift card.  OK, let’s pause for a moment.  First, someone just “came across” my blog? Wow, WordPress really does get these things out to the search engines!  Second, I did some searching of my own.  There was, in fact, a Paul Mangiamele who happened to be CEO of the aforementioned company.  His company was responsible for rebuilding the Bennigan’s brand one new franchise at a time.  After thinking it over I decided the whole thing was legitimate enough to give it a shot.

And then we went on vacation and one thing lead to another and before you know it I was fishing a faded receipt out of my wallet on a trip to the movies with my wife.  “What’s this?” I said aloud.  We looked it over.  It had a total of slightly more than $48.  Examining it further I noticed the name “Bennigan’s” up top.  OK, let’s see if Mr. M. is who he says he is.  I made sure the credit card number on the slip was securely X’ed out (just the last four digits showing), wrote a nice explanatory letter, printed out the blog post, stuck it in an envelope, and sent it off to an address I found online.  Coincidentally, the company’s headquarters are in Dallas.

Last night my phone pinged.  It was a WordPress comment alert.  I tapped the screen and saw the following.

Harvery (sic), Just received your guest check for reimbursement. True to my word, we will write you a check for $48.13. Please remember to have all your readers and fellow bloggers become raving fans of the one and only BENNIGAN’S…Regards, Paul Mangiamele, CEO and President of Bennigan’s Franchising Company.

All I can say is wow!  So he is real, he is who he says he is, and he is true to his word.  Here’s a guy who believes in his company and its product.  Of all the topics I’ve ever covered this story actually left a mark on me in a few different ways.  First, it showed me that people are reading me.  Sometimes as a blogger checking his stats every day (minute) and reading comments from the same comforting and comfortable people I lose sight of this fact.  Second, it’s almost trite to say that it restored my faith in the corporate world; but in an era where customer service is increasingly abhorrent, Paul’s actions single-handedly grabbed that pendulum and pulled it back toward the “the customer is always right” model I grew up with.

That’s better!

Thank you, Paul Mangiamele, for caring about an unknown customer with a blog and for paying for a meal when you didn’t have to.  To celebrate, we’re taking my visiting niece to… Bennigan’s!  I think everyone who reads this should find a Bennigan’s and show them your support too.

Chatting with Hector

This needs to just speak for itself.
By the way, Hector deserves a medal for putting up with me.
The redactions are places where I realized, two minutes after posting, that I had included our home address, full names, and phone numbers.  Kind of dumb of me.


Welcome to Verizon Live Chat. You have selected to chat about:


 Subject: FiOS Internet

 Question: The battery in my BBU needs to be replaced.

 16:44:05 A Verizon eCenter Representative will be with you shortly. Thank you.

 16:44:05 This session is being transferred.

 16:44:50 This session is transferred to Hector.

 16:44:50 Agent Hector has joined.

Timothy Hester: Hello Agent Hector.

Hector: Hi

Hector: Thank you for using Verizon FiOS Technical Support. I apologize for any delays in reaching an agent today.

My name is Hector, for security purposes please post the name, address, and telephone number on the account as well as a good can be reached telephone number.

Timothy Hester: REDACTED

Timothy Hester: REDACTED

Hector: Thank you.

Hector: Are you the account holdr?

Timothy Hester: Pretty sure I am, otherwise it’s in my wife’s name.

Hector: May I have you wife´s name please.

Hector: Sorry

Hector: I got It.

Timothy Hester: No problem

Hector: It is under your wifes name.

Timothy Hester: OK

Hector: I´ll be glad to help you.

Timothy Hester: thanks

Hector: You are welcome.

Could you please tell me Mr. Hester approximately for how long have you had FIOS service?

Timothy Hester: Since October of 2008

Hector: Thank you.

Hector: Please allow me a quick moment to verify your account Sir.

Timothy Hester: Absolutely.

Hector: Thank you.

Hector: Another quick question, your Verizon service was FIOS service since 2008?

Timothy Hester: yes

Hector: Thanks.

Hector: Thank you very much for waiting Mr. Hester.

Hector: I just double checked and unfortunately the guaranty for your BBU as expired.

Hector: To request a replacement Mr. Hester you need to call this number to purchase it: 1 877-503-3537, they handle specifically BBU replacements.

Timothy Hester: To be sure, we’re talking about the battery in the box on the wall in my garage, right?

Hector: Yes.

Timothy Hester: OK.

Timothy Hester: so i call that number. any idea what they cost?

Hector: The Battery Back Up Unit Sir.

Hector: Approximately $56 dlls.

Timothy Hester: Yikes. OK.

Hector: On this department they only take credit card payments.

Hector: If you want to pay in a different way Sir. I would recommend going into an electronic store.

Timothy Hester: Perhaps if I sing a song for them they will give me a discount.

Hector: Perhaps =)

Timothy Hester: I would sing for you but it would be lost in the chat. Oh well. Thank you for your help. The BBU just beeped at me again. I will try to return to my normal existence but it will be hard.

Hector: Before you go, we can try something Sir.

Hector: If you wish.

Timothy Hester: Yes?

Hector: To check if the battery is dead, or if its just a connection problem.

Timothy Hester: OK

Hector: After we check, we´ll be sure.

Timothy Hester: And then my children can stop crying!

Hector: Then lets do it as fast as possible =)

Hector: Let’s try manually rebooting the Optical Network Terminal (ONT).

To do this from your Battery Backup Unit (BBU):

1. Please go to the smaller beige box and follow its power cable to the 3-prong power outlet.

2. Disconnect the power cable from the outlet, you may hear a beep.

3. Go to the larger beige box, remove the battery panel to reveal the black battery. Follow the black/red leads until you get to a plastic coupler that hooks into the BBU.

4. Once disconnected, all lights on the larger box will be off.

5. Let it sit for 1 minute then reconnect the battery and plug the power cable back in.

6. Please let me know once you plug it back in so I can test to see if it’s coming back up.

Timothy Hester: You know, Hector, I’m just messing with you. What should I do to check thing?

Timothy Hester: Doing that right now.

Hector: Jejeje, ok, I´ll be right here

Timothy Hester: Big battery!

Timothy Hester: Big, big battery!

Timothy Hester: There are no more red lights!

Timothy Hester: Hector! You saved me!

Hector: =)

Hector: Excelent

Timothy Hester: Thank you, kind Hector. Now I’m going to shamelessly plug my blog to you and ask you to read it and share with your friends

Timothy Hester: harveymillican.wordpress.com

Timothy Hester: The laughs are on me.

Hector: I´ll check it out Sir =)

Timothy Hester: Bless you.

Hector: Is there anything else that I might be able to help you with mr. Hester?

Timothy Hester: No, that should be all. I’m just glad it’s not beeping at me anymore.

Hector: Thats nice 🙂

Timothy Hester: Thanks again!