I signed my name on the bottom right corner and tore the check out of the checkbook to discover we were out of checks. No worries, I remembered ordering a great new design a couple months ago, in preparation for this occasion. I opened the closet and reached up to the top shelf where I put all the other boxes of checks and opened the box…..wrong box. I tried again….wrong box. Another time….wrong box. Really, how many checking accounts do two people need?!
Then suddenly I remembered: I ordered those checks, but they never came!
A quick search online led me to discover that the company sent a receipt and billed our credit card, but no checks. And these were the really cool ocean wave design!
But, tropical photography aside, who got our 4 boxes of blank checks??
As my pulse rate started to increase, I dialed the number for Customer Service. They couldn’t even find my record. Great! I’d given our entire bank account information to an illegitamite online “business!” They suggested I call “Accounts Receivable” which I was sure was the woman sitting across the room from Mr. Customer Service, sipping magaritas in an apartment in the Cayman Islands.
I wasn’t shocked when Mr. Accounts Receivable couldn’t find my record either. Click. Click. I can hear him typing my information. (or Instant Messaging his friends while he “searches” the company records for the appropriate amount of time). Meanwhile, I am scrutinizing our last 6 months of bank statements to look for even one unaccounted penny and I’ll be calling the Better Business Bureau who has likely never heard of these people I naively trusted.
“Wait, here’s something. It says we shipped the checks in June.”
“Oh, sure, I bet it does,” I thought.
He continued to spin his tale, “They were delivered. And it doesn’t show that your checks were ever returned to us so I won’t be able to refund your money.”
“Well, my main concern is that I never received the checks (and therefore, wouldn’t have been able to RETURN them!) and I’m worried that if you sent the checks, and I don’t have them, someone has four boxes of our blank checks.”
“We could print another order for you, ma’am, but you’d have to pay for another order since we already sent the first one….”
“….which I didn’t receive,” I finished his sentence. “I’m afraid I’ll have to close this bank account so that won’t help anyway.”
“Ma’am, why don’t you open your checkbook and read me the check number in the top right corner,” he suggested. “Sometimes, people forget that they are using the new checks already.”
“I think I’d know if I’d gotten the new checks. The ones I have now are the ‘Safari’ design and I know I ordered the ‘Tropical.'” Obviously, this was much easier to remember than what check number I was on! I was starting to get irritated with the condescention to my projected lack of mental fortitude as I pictured myself as the victim of identity theft. Someone was buying motorcycles and big screen TVs in Vegas while Mr. Accounts Receivable tried to conduct an IQ test on me!
Finally, his customer service training kicked in and he said, “I’m sorry, but I won’t be able to help you unless you cooperate. Could you please read me the check number in the top right corner.”
It felt like the dream when everyone thinks you’re crazy and you have no idea what they’re talking about.
So, in a rush of panic, I blurted, “May I speak to your supervisor?”
And just about the time I’d determined this little fiasco would take us 14 years to work out, I heard it:
….before I go insane I hold my pillow to my head and spring up in my bed screaming out the words I dread:
I think I love you! (Enter ghostly soprano backup: I think I love you) Elevator music. I was on hold.
Well, it was better than getting hung up on. So, as Mr. Accounts Receivable walked across the room to get margarita-sipping Miss Customer Service, I sang along:
…and if you say, “Hey go away,” I will, but I think better still I’d better stay around and love you. Do you think I have a case? Let me ask you to your face:
Do you think you love me?
Well, I think I love you…
Thanks to the Partridge Family, I had a little moment of clarity and refocused.
When Miss Customer Service came on the line, she was very agreeable, presumably because Mr. Accounts had told him about the mentally unstable woman on the other end of the line. She assured me that, although the records showed the checks were delivered, they would be happy to refund the payment if I could show proof of billing. I scribbled down her fax number, thanked her for her assistance and hung up the phone.
I looked up the receipt and hooked up the printer. In a day full of inconveniences, it was out of paper. So, I went to the closet, reached up to the top shelf and grabbed the ream of paper that sat right behind 4 shrink-wrapped boxes of new checks.
A sick feeling came into my stomach as all the adrenaline used to “make it right” on the phone turned into embarrassment.
After pacing in circles wondering what to say, I picked up the phone. Grudgingly I dialed the familiar numbers and asked for my beloved Miss Customer Service. Hold. Maybe because they had a note on my account to “not take calls from the old crazy lady,” she couldn’t be reached. I asked the woman on the line if she could please let Miss Customer Service know that I was mistaken and had found my missing boxes of checks and would she please apologize for the inconvenience. And maybe pass on an apology to Mr. Accounts, as well?
It was humbling.
But I think I learned my lesson.
I’m sleeping and right in the middle of a good dream, and all at once I wake up