In the category of "Times-When-'Being-Frugal'-Might-Not-Be-the-Best-Thing-to-Be-but-You-'Be'
I'm counting on the "efficacy" of this article: Drug Expiration Dates—Do They Mean Anything?
I ran to my third credit union branch in as many days, visiting the one at Crescent Commons off Kildaire Farms Road in Cary. I had to sign in to get help and for the "Subject" I put, "New ATM card."
The lady who called me back said, "So you need a new ATM card, Mr. Martin," to which I replied, "Yes, that, and I'd like to make a $500 deposit."
In her office, I sat down in front of her desk while she walked around behind it. She took a seat and put her hands up on her keyboard, and said, "Your account number?"
"Actually," I said, "I'm very frustrated right now and what I really need is for you to listen to me for a minute about how I got here."
I loved her reaction. She removed her hands from the keyboard, rolled her chair back away from the computer, and crossed her fingers on her lap. Her actions said, "Because I can see that it's important to you, you have my undivided attention."
She was doing great until she eventually had her turn to speak and said, "About the system asking for your PIN at the end of the session, I can't really do anything about that. That's how the software works."
To which I genuinely and calmly retorted, "Well, you have a better chance than I do of getting word to your software developers that the current programming logic they're using to guarantee a delightful customer experience is not working." I was able to refrain from a snap, snap at the end of that, but just barely.
Looking at her screen, she said, "Oh. It looks like they put a hold on your card on Friday, as Friday made one year with no activity with it. What I don't understand," she went on, "was why it didn't keep it on Saturday." She made a call to someone to ask about it, and mid-conversation she said, "Oh, it's because the machines don't start retaining the cards until 24 hours after the hold goes on. So that explains why it didn't take it on Saturday, but did on Sunday."
I thought, "Well I'm certainly glad that everything is copacetic for all of you internally."
We actually had a great conversation going forward as she ordered me a new card, but more importantly told me about an "External Transfer" option on their website, from which I can just transfer money from my other credit union to this one, which actually means I'll probably never use that new card, and it will go inactive some time in late 2010.
She told me about a feature of the Debit/ATM card I was getting, which was called, "The Green Card," (alert to the wasteful plastic knife lady at the library coffee shop the other day, everybody's going green but you!) that if you use that card 12 times or more a month you actually gain 3% interest on your balance as opposed to .3%, which is quite dramatic in terms of a rate difference.
She said, "If you don't have much of a balance it's not that much, but hey, a free cup of coffee each month is a free cup of coffee."
"Or a free bourbon and diet," I retorted.
She smiled, and said, "Definitely. I just used the politically correct cup of coffee, but I agree with you." And then said, "Now for your $500. Normally, I'd ask you to take this to a teller, but I'm not going to do that. You've been through enough. I'm just going to go ahead and deposit it for you." Good people sense.
When she handed me the receipt of the transaction, I had my hand out like I was going to get some cash, as I'm usually withdrawing and not depositing. :-) I said, "Oh yeah. That's right. I've been trying to give this credit union $500 cash for three days, I guess it just hasn't sunk in that I've actually been successful."
She laughed and said, "Have a good day, Mr. Martin."
And leaving I said, "You do the same, and thank you for listening to me. I appreciate you."
I stopped at CVS on the way home to replace some of my expired OTC meds, and where upon the advise of a nurse friend of Robert's on Facebook, I bought some Robitussin DM Max for my cough, which had an "On Sale" sign in front of it that said, "$4.99."
The man at the register said after ringing it up, "That'll be $6.97."
"$6.97?" I asked. "On the shelf it says it's on sale for $4.99 or something like that."
I followed him back there, and he bent down and removed the "On Sale" sticker from it and from another variety of Robitussin (for Cold & Flu, I think), and said, "Those signs are old."
Before I could trip up onto the, "And that has to do with me as the customer how?" soapbox, he said, "But I'm going to give you the discount." I took my $1.50 off and ran. Another free cup of (politically correct) coffee.
At home, I got a call from "Brooke" at the Credit Union about the e-mail I fired off to them after "the incident" on Saturday, which basically was a cut and paste of the description in my Saturday's blog entry. Hey, I'm all about information re-use.
She was actually very excited about trying to give feedback to make the ATMs better as they have all just been updated, "so customer feedback at this point is critical," she noted. And reviewing the steps I did on Saturday, she said, "You can just stack all those bills on top of each other and stick them in the slot—that's why it says up to 28 at once."
"OH!!!" I 'bout screamed. "Well you need to have your programmers go back and add the word 'stacked' to the instructions on that particular screen, because that's critical information to the user. I never would have thought to stack them, being afraid one would get missed."
"Great!" she said. "It's really helpful to get this kind of feedback from a customer," she said giddily as happy getting it as I was giving it. It's like we were each having a little party in our pants.
After work, I ran to Crabtree Valley Mall, my second time in a mall this year, and I was abhorred by the amount of traffic on the way there, and taken aback by the crowded parking lot for 7:00 at night on a Monday night. I found what I was looking for in Macy's after starting in Hudson Belk (only because that's the store I entered the mall in) and then stopping in William-Sonoma.
Funny aside in Williams-Sonoma. OMG, this woman was giving a cake-decorating class to about eight people, and after listening to her only for about five minutes (because the place is so small I couldn't be in there without hearing her), I was ready to throw a deluxe angled potato ricer at her. Here's a taste (pun fully intended) of one, typical, interaction with a student:
Student: "Where on the paper? Up at the top?"
Miss Puss: "Anywhere you want to. It's your paper. I don't care where you put it on the paper."
Back to the task at hand, I loved that once I found what I was looking for it was on sale from $36, marked down to $25, and then rang up at $20 at the register. Love that.
On my way out, I stopped in the Food Court, where nothing jumped out at me, and I settled for Moe's Southwest, and a taco salad that I was ultimately disappointed in.
At home, I did the minutes from the Manbites Dog Theater Board of Directors October 21st meeting.
After that, I ran to my office with a bunch of things so as not to have to carry them on the bus in the morning.