Caught in Customer Service Hell
Updated: Dec 9, 2019
If I were able to re-write this saying, it would read “One who gives charity in secret is greater than Moses. But still can’t get Hamilton tickets.” Read on to see why.
On Tuesday night, my husband and I were supposed to see Hamilton (you’ve heard of it, right? It’s a cute little Off-Broadway production about some senator from a long time ago or something). I had really been looking forward to seeing the show, mostly because I had heard so many wonderful things about it but partially because I wanted to finally stop debating endlessly about whether or not I could actually allow myself to spend an obscene amount of money on two hours of entertainment.
The show was at 7:00 and I got there at 6:40. I left a ticket for my husband at “will call” because he wasn’t there yet and I had to pee. Couldn’t wait one more second. I handed my printed ticket to the ticket collection man (he probably has an official title but I would just be speculating), he scanned the barcode and said “Hmmm.” FYI, this is not the reaction you want when you’ve practically had to take out a second mortgage on your home to buy the tickets.
“It’s saying that you already used this ticket to enter tonight.”
Clearly, I haven’t, since I’m standing here handing you the ticket.
“Go to the ticket window and speak to someone there.”
I walked a few steps over to the ticket window, slipped my paper ticket through the slot and explained to the man inside what had happened. He typed away on his computer for a few seconds and then asked “Did you print two copies of these tickets?” I had not (although I didn’t know that you weren’t allowed to do that). He continued typing. He then called over two more people who gazed at the computer screen, looked down at my ticket, gazed at the computer screen and generally looked very confused.
“You bought these tickets through Ticketmaster, correct?”
“And you bought them on resale from someone who had already bought them from Ticketmaster?”
“It looks like Ticketmaster neglected to cancel the original owners’ tickets when you purchased them, so both the original owners and you have legitimate tickets. But they already used their tickets tonight to get into the show.”
Now, the lobby of this theater was tiny and loud, so I could barely gather my own thoughts, let alone convey a coherent argument through a thick plate of glass to the men on the other side. Plus, Colin Quinn was standing at the booth next to me picking up his tickets, and when I pictured myself having a fit, screaming and yelling and crying and being overly dramatic, I also pictured Colin Quinn writing a skit about me and taking it on the road. So I hesitated. Moreover, throwing a fit (out loud) is not really my personality. Fits are thrown in my head all day, and heads roll, but almost never out loud. I wish I could say I was the type of person who could have said “Ok, here’s what’s going to happen. You’re going to go into the theater, pluck the original ticket owners out of MY seats, show them to the door and gently kick them in the ass as they are ushered into an alley by your security team, because I’m not leaving here tonight without seeing this show, either from the seats I purchased or better ones. You choose.” But I just don’t operate that way. I would love to, really, I would. But I don’t have it in me.
Instead, I held back the tears, I didn’t scream and yell, I accepted the manager’s card so that I could call him if Ticketmaster gave me a hard time about getting a refund (which is not what I wanted…I wanted to see the show), and I left the theater feeling very taken advantage of and very angry (at Ticketmaster, at myself and at the bozos sitting in my seats) and I went home. I honestly couldn’t believe what had just happened.
I called Ticketmaster from the cab and it rang busy about five times (side note: is Ticketmaster just some guy named Jeff who works out of his studio apartment on 48th and 9th? Or is it a real company? I just feel like real companies don’t have phones that ring busy. And they also don’t issue two sets of tickets for the same seats). I finally got through to “Jeff” who had clearly been trained to handle people such as myself. He was so calm that it made me feel worse. How could he be calm at a time like this? Where was the outrage? The horror? “Jeff” said he was sorry for what had happened and that he would put me on hold for “a few minutes” so that he could “prepare” my complaint. Why the quotation marks? Because it wasn’t a few minutes, it was a total of 45 minutes, and I don’t think he really prepared anything because when I asked him to send me a copy of the complaint or at least proof that they were doing “everything they could” to process my complaint, he told me that Ticketmaster doesn’t put anything in writing. Let me tell you what I would like to see happen: (1) I would like Ticketmaster to send me tickets to Hamilton for a show this month, the same seats or better, and (2) I would like Ticketmaster to trip and fall in the street and get run over by a mack truck. Doesn’t matter which one happens first, although I would like to be issued the tickets first in case Ticketmaster dies from massive injuries resulting from getting run over by the truck.
On a positive note, our credit card company already refunded us and I was told that they had never heard of this happening before. So it probably won’t happen to you. I still hate Ticketmaster. And I’m also thinking of finally suing someone (Ticketmaster) for my favorite tort from law school, negligent infliction of emotional distress. Let me know if you want to join and we can make it a class action.
So that was Tuesday.
Thursday I get a charge on my credit card from Nordstrom for a pair of Heely’s that I had ordered for my daughter’s birthday. That sounds innocuous enough. Well here’s why it wasn’t. I ordered the shoes a few weeks ago. About a week later I received an email from Nordstrom saying that the shoes were on backorder. I thought it was very responsible of them to keep me in the loop. A week later I received another email saying that the shoes were going to be backordered for longer than expected and that they assumed that I would like to cancel my order and that, if that were the case (which it was) I didn’t need to do anything and my credit card would not be charged. If, however, I would like to wait for the shoes, I should email or call customer service to let them know. Responsible! In the meantime, I purchased the Heely’s from Amazon (aka my one true love, soul mate and best friend). They arrived 17 minutes later by drone, and the drone even put them on my daughter’s feet and showed her how to use them.
Thursday I got a charge on my credit card from Nordstrom for the shoes. Irresponsible! I was really baffled. I looked back at the email to see if I had misread it but I hadn’t. They were supposed to cancel the order if they didn’t hear from me. I called Nordstrom today and the customer service representative said “How strange. I’ve never heard of this happening before” (Sound familiar? I’m starting to think it’s BS).
So that was today.
And finally, the ongoing Stadium Tennis saga.
I signed my daughter up for tennis lessons at Stadium Tennis in the fall. In October she fractured her arm at gymnastics, causing her to miss five tennis lessons. I called and spoke to Stadium about it and they told me to send a doctor’s note and that they would refund the money from those fives lessons. That was October. It’s April. Ask me if I’ve seen any money from them.
I can’t even begin to detail the number of times I’ve called and emailed about this issue. They ignore all of my correspondence for weeks at a time, and then they send me a long apology email about how negligent they’ve been yada yada yada and I’m convinced that the refund will be forthcoming. At the end of the fall session, I was told that if we signed up for the spring session (which we planned to do because we’re idiots), they would just deduct the amount of money from the spring session that they owed us from the fall session. They did not. And you know what they had the nerve to say when I called for the 57th time to complain? “If you sign up for fall of 2016, we’ll deduct the money from that session.” Fool me once, Stadium Tennis.
I hate you, Stadium Tennis. I hope you and Ticketmaster go on a date and trip and fall in the middle of street and get run over by a mack truck. But not before you issue my refund.
Now, there may be some of you out there who are thinking, “Oh poor baby…Hamilton tickets, Nordstrom shoes, tennis lessons.” Stick it. I bet you’ve spent money on something before that didn’t pan out either. Don’t be the pot.
And on that note, I wish you all a lovely weekend, free of phone calls to customer service representatives of every kind.