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Saturday, November 29, 2014

Um, Thanks?


I went to Seattle with my three very cute girls for Thanksgiving and it was great. We even had two sunny days and the University of Washington, Puget Sound and the 101 along the coast . . . beautiful! After repetitive begging, I agreed to a trip through Forks and purchased items at one of the Twilight shops. (I hope that little town makes bank while they can!)


However, during a recent post, I outlined my very scientific proof that consumer related industries have outsourced customer services to the Division of Motor Vehicles. Realizing this, I had attempted to circumvent the inevitable as much as possible. I made reservations, joined the Invasion of Privacy Clubs, called in advance, googled travel tips . . . you get the idea. 



Furthermore, knowing how much I abhor traveling (the TSA and 10 inch airplane seats in particular) my kids used the earned miles on Southwest and bought myself a first class ticket on Alaska Airlines. (They are young, flexible and have small posteriors. I am old, crabby and have a regular paycheck.) That actually worked fine on the way up. Everyone made it to Seattle, in one piece, close to the same time and with retrievable luggage. 



Issue one occurred at Budget Rent A Car. Oh, you did want to use the coupon? Oh you did want to pay the lower rate for the car? Oh you did want the free upgrade? 



Trip to hotel Deca and issue two. It is located in the middle of Seattle, just blocks from the U of W campus, so while making reservations I checked if there was parking. Turns out, sort of is more accurate than yes. An extra $20 a day and only if there is a space in the lot. So my coupon approved, lower rate, upgraded car either needed to come up to the room with me or be moved every few hours on the street.



Call to Holiday Inn. (Much singing from the back seat of, “Ho-tel . . . Mo-tel . . . Hol-i-day Inn” and debate over Sugarhill Gang versus Pitbull.) Only Inn with rooms is 30 minutes north but my coupon approved, lower rate, upgraded car had a place to be, the Oddity Emporium had an expo (seriously, it did) and no bed bug issues listed on the bed bug registry. (You might laugh at my bed bug paranoia but I am leery after one really bad week where multiple houses I had visited belatedly revealed they had bed bugs.)



16 calls to Budget Rental Car in the interim because they had a slight, not our fault but really was, fuel options error with calls transferred to; Oh you didn’t want emergency roadside assistance? Oh you didn’t want new reservations? Oh you didn’t want Avis? (Seriously, Avis.) Oh you did want to talk to customer service? They are closed now. 



Evidently, they value my opinion because they sent me an email saying they did. I bet they don’t value my opinion anymore. 



But the best piece of competency and customer service has to be issue number three. Southwest airlines anticipated that early morning in Seattle there might be some icing issues and there was a slight possibility, miniscule really, that travel on Thanksgiving weekend would be a little hectic. Girls are returning on time. 



I, however, am sitting in the Alaska Airline clubroom while waiting an additional 11 hours before my three hour flight home, but they have free crackers. 



So, I am very thankful I got to spend a great week with my gorgeous, funny and sweet girls and not really surprised that, regardless of my best efforts, three out of seven customer service interactions have gone completely tits up. Hoping your Thanksgiving had fantastic family time and a better customer service interaction rate.


Footnote 1:
Now that I am home, there is one additional Alaska Airline bit. We got to wait for an additional 45 minutes wile they fixed the magazine rack on the airplane. I arrived at 1:30 am.  




Footnote 2: 
While googling airline travel I came across a genius Ryan Air complaint letter written by Mr. Lockely. I almost hate to pass on the link because he completely trounces me in sarcasm and I am green with envy. Nevertheless, it is absolutely worth a read.


https://www.facebook.com/james.lockley.98/posts/10153025848725476?stream_ref=10

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