May 1st, 2005

Delta dawn, Delta warn...

Steve came over at just after 11, and we headed to the airport to apply our vouchers to the two Delta tickets he bought yesterday.

***Begin Customer Service Rant***

Great. There's only one person ahead of us in the "Purchase Ticket" line. It's a female army soldier, in fatigues, and her husband half-watching little "Zack." 5 minutes go by, she shifts legs, 10 minutes, 12 minutes, agent at desk gets involved on the phone, 15 minutes....

Another Delta employee (from the Kiosk area, which is not busy) comes over, and asks us what we're trying to do. After hearing she says, "Pick up the phone (the one right next to us in the line), and someone will help you there."

I respond, "But we already have our reservations, we're just trying to apply these vouchers to them."

"Yes, that's okay. They can still help you. They have to input the numbers from the vouchers, etc., and then they can just send them to the agent's printer there, and all he has to do is hand them to you."

I pick up the phone, which automagically dials, and I get Ms. I've-Been-Smoking-for-Forty-Years-So-My-Voice-Sounds-Gravelly, who starts off by telling us we can't "combine" the two vouchers we each have. One is a "voucher" and the other is a "certificate" -- some nonsense like that. So, I tell her to apply the highest amount one -- we each have one for $125 and another for $25, which we got during a disastrous trip (entry is worth reading at least down to the man with the two watches on) to Montreal for vacation last July.

She asks me for the number on the certificate, and while she's starting to enter it, I say, "So how's this going to work? We've already paid for these tickets. They're on my American Express card. Are you just going to put a credit on my charge card?"

"Oh. Oh dear. Oh no. We can't do that. You've already paid for the tickets?"

I say, "Yes, my friend bought them on the Internet yesterday, with the guy on the phone talking him through it. He told him to complete the transaction, and that as long as we got down to the airport within 24 hours with the vouchers, they would redeem them."

"Oh no. If you've bought the tickets already, you can't use the vouchers on this trip."

Well, needless to say, this set me off. I immediately went into "Mary mode," which is not a pretty thing. My arms go akimbo, and I start talking with attitude in a neck-slinging way. Fortunately for her, she was on the phone, and couldn't see all this.

I said, "The people talked us through this yesterday. DELTA people told us what to do, and we did it. So how are we going to take care of this?"

During this rant, she did the ULTIMATE CUSTOMER SERVICE NO-NO in my book: she talked on top of me. Bad move.

She says over me, "You're going to have to go to the airport and take care of this."

Me: "I AM AT THE AIRPORT! So how are we going to take care of this?"

You'll have to talk to the agent at the counter.

So during this mess, the 20-minute person in front of us finished up, and the person behind us went up next. Now THEY are in the midst of a 10-minute ordeal with what they're trying to get fixed.

So our 10-minute run-in-and-take-care-of-this-and-get-on-with-our-day ends up taking an hour. The good news is that when we finally got to see the agent, he refunded the two tickets we'd bought on the Internet, purchased two new tickets and applied both the voucher and the certificate, which Ms. Camel-Lights said we couldn't do.

As we were walking out, I said to Steve, "We should go ahead and pay our parking here, because at the exit, they have only one or two lanes open to pay, and about 60 lanes for the prepaid cards." He didn't have the ticket with him, so we just went to the car.

Sure enough, we get up to the booth, and there is one line open to pay with five cars ahead of us. We wait. No movement. A red car is at the booth. Wait some more. No movement. A few cars zip through the prepaid booths. We wait. The line behind us is growing. It's 12:27 on Steve's car clock. We look at the ticket for the time we arrived 11:29. Two cars behind us go over to one of the two toll booths that say "CREDIT/PREPAID," and we wonder what that means.

Does it take a debit card? Credit card? Or is that some kind of credit for overpayment a previous time or something? People don't look like they are waiting long enough or punching in enough numbers to be a credit card. Should we leave this line? Give it a try? Will it let us charge $2.00?

In the meantime the clock trips over past one hour making us have to pay TWO DOLLARS now instead of one. GRRRRR. HOW FUCKING LONG CAN IT TAKE TO PAY A PARKING TICKET? Finally, the red car moves, and the others move quickly through.

Steve has the ticket and two ones out for the guy. "That'll be a dollar," he says. There is a God.

***End Customer Service Rant***

We went to MoJo's and ate outside.

We went to my house, and Steve did my hi-fi usability test for my ME Portfolio website. I immediately incorporated four of his suggestions. I fiddled around with the site for the rest of the day, mostly adding in all of the <META name="author">, <META name="description">, and <META name="keyword"> HTML statements to make my web pages accessible, and verifying that all graphics had ALT tags associated with them. I also ran the spell check on each file in the site, which was tedious.

I met Joe for coffee at Helios around 8, and then we went to Flex. Van was totally, totally shit-faced there, and Rick was getting to that point. Brian arrived after a while, and eventually me, Joe, Van, and Bryan played pool, which was not a pretty site. Oh well.