The week of Sept. 3 was pretty rough for me. My NFL Picks were terrible, so I lost tons of money as a degenerate gambler. The pool at my new gym was 78 degrees, which is way too cold for a fat slob like me (more on this another time). And I just found out that they banned soda in New York.
I've never been to New York - I hate big cities, including downtown Philadelphia - so this doesn't affect me directly, but it will because I have a feeling that Philly will abolish sodas next. What am I going to do without my precious Pepsi Throwback?
All of this was a mere blip on the radar, however, compared to the frustration I had dealing with my Visa credit card company. It all started the afternoon before Labor Day. Because it was the beginning of the month, I received a Paypal invoice from my friend Kenny Ortiz, who owns this Web site's hosting company, 4thfloormedia.com.
I logged into Paypal and selected the option to pay Kenny using my Visa business credit card. This normally takes less than a minute, so I figured I'd just click my mouse a couple of times and move on with my day. That, unfortunately, was not the case because I received an alert saying my credit card was rejected.
I didn't understand how this could be. I always pay my credit card bills on time, and I'm well below my limit. I called the service number on the back of the card, and as you can imagine, I was told, "All of our customer service representatives are currently busy right now. Please hold."
I've always wondered, what do these customer service reps do all the time that makes them so busy? I highly doubt that dozens of people call in every hour, so they're definitely not talking to people on the phone. I imagine that these reps are just updating their Facebook profile, sending text messages and whacking off to gay animal porn (not that there's anything wrong with that). Why should they care if a customer is put on hold for a long time? It's not like they lose business if a consumer opts to go with another credit card company.
I was put on hold for 19 minutes. I remember because it was 1:36 when I was told that the customer service reps were looking at gay animal porn, and it was 1:55 when I finally was able to talk to a human being. I was only briefly relieved; I quickly discovered that interacting with this particular customer service rep would be more aggravating than listening to that god-forsaken elevator music for 19 minutes.
Customer Service Rep: Hello, my name LaQuisha, thank you for callin' the Visa credit card, how many I assist you today?
Me: Hi, I was trying to pay for something with my credit card, but it says it was declined. I wanted to know why that was happening.
LaQuisha: OK sar, lemme put you on hold while I get yeh information.
I was put on hold for five minutes. I already entered in my credit card number before I waited for LaQuisha to update her Facebook status the first time, so why did she need to pull up my data while I was on hold for 19 minutes? What the hell was she doing for those 19 minutes?
Five minutes later, I heard LaQuisha's lovely voice again.
LaQuisha: Thank you for holdin', sar, now that I got yeh information, what seems to be the problem with yeh credit card?
Ugh. Did she not listen to me the first time?
Me: Same as last time. I tried to pay for something, but it said my card was rejected.
LaQuisha: OK sar, I'm seein' an outstandin' balance on yeh credit card.
Me: Outstanding balance? But I pay off all of my credit cards in full every single month. I don't understand how I could possibly have an outstanding balance.
LaQuisha: OK sar, lemme put you on hold while I verify yeh information.
UGH! Are you freaking kidding me? I had to be put on hold again? Why does she need time to verify my information? She already has it. Did she feel like she needed to type in my name, social security number and other stuff again just to see if she pulled everything up correctly? I really don't understand why this is an arduous process.
Another five minutes went by, and LaQuisha was finally back. I remember thinking, "If she asks me what the problem is with my credit card one more time, I'm going to give myself a concussion by continuously beating myself over the head with my cell phone." Luckily, it didn't come to that.
LaQuisha: OK sar, I'm seein' an outstandin' unpay balance on yeh credit card. It's a unpay pass due of 49 dollas.
Me: I don't see how that's possible though. I always pay it on time.
LaQuisha: Check yeh credit card statement.
Me: OK, fine, but it just came in the mail two days ago. I don't see... wait... yeah, I see it.
It was in bright red. It said I owed $49 past due. I quickly opened my checkbook, and I noticed that I didn't have a stub for last month's credit card bill. I apparently didn't pay it, which is weird because I didn't have any mail on my office desk, which is where I always put it until I open it up.
Me: Look, I didn't get my last bill, apparently. That, or my dog ate it...
Me: But I only owe you $49, and I still have $5,000 or so remaining on my credit line. I've never been late on a single bill before. Can't I just pay for this and send my check out first thing Tuesday morning?
LaQuisha: I'm sorrray sar, but you can't use yeh credit card until you pay the unpay pass due.
Me: But it's only $49! I have $5,000 or so left to spend according to this statement! What the hell's $49 if I've never been late paying before and I still have $5,000 remaining on my credit line?
LaQuisha: I'm sorray sar, you muss pay the unpay pass due of 49 dollas.
Me: But that doesn't make any sense! I've paid you so much more every single month I've owned this credit card. And I'm just going to pay off the $49 plus everything else I owe on Tuesday!
LaQuisha: I'm sorray sar, you have a unpay pass due of 49 dollas. You muss pay the unpay pass due.
What a f***ing idiot. She kept saying the same thing over and over, so I just hung up the phone in complete frustration. I ripped a check out of my book, wrote down the entire outstanding balance, stuffed it into the envelope and placed it in the mailbox that very afternoon. The mail wouldn't go out until Tuesday, but I was just so pissed off that I wasn't thinking coherently.
I had a fantasy football draft that night and then had to prepare for Week 1 of the NFL, so it was only in the back of my mind until Wednesday morning...
JERK OF THE WEEK NO. 2: LaQuisha
I work on this Web site very late at night. I like to run it like a newspaper, with all of the updates posted in the morning so people can read the articles just as they're about to go to work or school. So, because I'm doing stuff on the site and talking to my girlfriend, who is also a night person, I often go to bed between 4 and 6 a.m.
I keep my phone on full volume just in case of emergencies, but everyone knows not to call me before 11, so it's not a big deal. However, my phone rang at 8:15 in the morning Wednesday, awakening me from my slumber. I reached for my phone, nearly knocking over my glass of water in the process.
Female Voice on Phone: Hello, may I speak to Walter Chere... Chere... pinksky?
Me: Uhh... umm... yeah, this is Walt.
Female Voice on Phone: Hello, my name LaQuisha from Visa credit card. I'm callin' cause you have an outstandin' balance of...
Me: Ugh! Are you serious? I just spoke to you on Sunday!
LaQuisha: And you also have an unpay pass due of 49...
I lost it.
Me: WHAT THE HELL!? ! I CALLED YOU PEOPLE ON SUNDAY AND I SAID I DIDN'T HAVE MY LAST BILL! I SAID I'D SEND OUT PAYMENT ON TUESDAY MORNING, SO OF COURSE YOU HAVEN'T GOTTEN IT YET! WHY THE F*** ARE YOU CALLING ME THIS SOON!?
LaQuisha: How much you pay on the bill that you send in?
I told her the exact amount down to the very last cent because I remembered it so vividly. I had to repeat it thrice, however, because I got a "Whachu say?" from LaQuisha after the first try and then "how many cent?" after the second attempt.
LaQuisha: What kinda job you do?
Me: I'm self-employed.
LaQuisha: Oh, OK, well everythang seem to be in orda. Is there anythin' else I can do for you today?
LaQuisha sounded upset that I yelled at her that last time. She quickly said, "goodbye" and hung up the phone, but it left me wondering why my occupation was important to her. It was apparently OK that I was self-employed, but what if I said I was a teacher or a policeman or a garbage man? Would everythang not be in orda?
This entire experience agitated me to no end. It still frustrates me that I couldn't do anything with my credit card because I had $49 past due when there was still $5,000 available for credit. If the $5,000 is irrelevant in this instance, then what's the point of it? Why even have a credit limit if they're not going to own up to it on their end?
Of course, my exchange with LaQuisha was much more annoying. Would it kill the credit card company to put a literate person on the phone who actually listens to what I'm saying? Is that too much to ask?
You know, I suddenly understand why it takes 19 minutes for customer service reps like LaQuisha to answer the phone. They're not updating their Facebook profile, looking at gay animal porn or sending texts. I'm convinced that they're just staring blankly into space with drool coming out of their mouth.
JERK OF THE WEEK NO. 3: The Replacementender
Based on everything that happened with the credit card, LaQuisha, the Giants costing me $330 and the cold pool making me miserable, I needed a beer that Friday. I couldn't go to Tango all August because NFL preseason games were scheduled during the weekend, but I was finally able to go out with my friends.
The first thing I noticed when walking into the bar was how packed it was. Tango's crowd had really diminished over the summer, but there were so many people there that particular night, including numerous hot chicks. I asked some people what had changed in the past month, and apparently it was because they reopened the band area. I hate bands, so that didn't interest me, but if it brings more people, I'm all for it.
The second thing I noticed was that the Blondtender wasn't there. The usual guy bartender was behind the bar and he was with another blond-haired woman (near 30) I had never seen before. It was very strange not to see the Blondtender working on a Friday night, so I asked my friend Glimmer what happened to her.
Me: Hey, is the Blondtender not working tonight? If she is, I need to be prepared to cover up my anus just in case she tries to rape me with a cucumber again.
Glimmer: Umm... the Blondtender doesn't work here anymore.
Me: What do you mean? Why'd she leave?
Glimmer: They fired her.
Me: Fired her? How could they fire her? What'd she do? Is it because she raped me with a cucumber? If so, I'll vouch for her and say that I really enjoyed it. I don't want to be responsible for her firing!
Glimmer: No, it wasn't because of that. I'm not really sure, but I think it had to do something with her letting her brother go behind the bar and play pool for free, and stuff.
The Blondtender shouldn't have done that, but it was still an outrage that they fired her. How could they fire the Blondtender? She was Tango. As my friend Caveman once said, "She's one of the few reasons I wanted to come here tonight!"
My friends all seemed upset that the Blondtender was gone - even the female ones because they all thought she was cool. Glimmer and my friend Pat suggested there was a silver lining, however.
Glimmer: Well, the replacement bartender...
Me: The Replacementender!
Glimmer: Umm... sure. The Replacementender does have a nice a** though, so that's a plus.
Pat: Oh, yeah. Her a** is pretty awesome.
Glimmer and Pat talked it up so much that I had to investigate out of pure curiosity. This proved to be difficult, however, because the guy bartender kept serving me. Not that I was complaining very much or anything because he gave me a beer for free. Still though, I wanted to see the Replacementender up close to see if Glimmer and Pat were correct.
Well, Replacementender finally approached me just as I was about to leave around 1:30 (I had some work I had to finish). She asked me what I wanted, and when I said "a cup of water," she gave me a disgusted look.
The Replacementender turned around, so I looked down. Based on what Glimmer and Pat said, I was expecting to see the most glorious a** of all time - one that would put Jennifer Lopez's to shame. I figured that angels would start singing as soon as I gazed upon the Replacementender's behind.
Instead? Meh. It seemed pretty ordinary to me. So, either one of two things happened. Glimmer and Pat may just have a poor taste in a**holes, or the Replacementender knew I was going to check her out, so she used her female magical powers to make herself look uglier.
My night was completely ruined. I slumped out of Tango and headed toward home. Halfway there, I suddenly felt my butt hurt a little bit. I knew then that the Ghost of Blondtender was trying to anally rape me with a giant cucumber. And I have to say that I enjoyed it a little bit.