Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Tips for Moving, Spoiled Americans, and the Groomer

     Here's a tip for you, Company.  Think of it more as a public service announcement from the friendly folk here at Big Dave and Company.  If you ever move, like from state to state or town to town, here is what you have to do.  Pack up all of your things.  Then, turn off your utilities.  Your phone, cable or satellite, cell phone, Internet, gas, electric, sewer, water, the whole nine yards.  Don't try to switch your service even if you are going somewhere where you are going to be getting service with the same company again.  I can't stress this enough.  Turn everything off, terminate your contracts, get in your U-Haul, drive to wherever you are going, unpack your shit, and then go to each of those utilities: Phone company, cable, cell phone, Internet, natural gas, electric, sewer, and water and get them all reconnected with new contracts.  Because the utility companies can't handle transferring your service.  They can manage to get the actual service turned on.  Your gas will be one.  When you flip the switch your lights will come on.  You can watch TV.  But don't expect them to be able to modify your account information to match your new address, phone number, etc.  And don't expect them to send your bills to the right place.  They will disappear into the ether.  It's easier for their pea brains and your quickly raising blood pressure if you just turn everything off and start new like they have never heard of you before.  Trust me.
     So as you may have surmised, I have been having some difficulties with one of my utility companies, and it has stemmed mostly from when I moved my Worldwide Headquarters.  So I have been spending a lot of time with the customer service people.  And here is the thing about that.  This particular utility company, like many companies, has farmed out their customer service overseas.  India to be more precise.  And this is fine.  The people with whom I have spoken have all been friendly, polite, and courteous.  And I have had no problems with understanding them.  And I admit, I have been a little tense most of the times that I have been speaking with them.  But as I hung up from my latest transaction with them, I came to a realisation.  I am an ass.  
     Here I am, calling overseas and getting agitated because the company can't seem to get my new address and phone number straight.  All I want is for my phone number to link to my account when I enter it in, like it is supposed to.  But they couldn't seem to change it correctly no matter how many times I called them up.  And I wanted my bills to get mailed to my mailbox, so they don't get returned to wherever they are sent from.  I didn't think that was too much to ask.  But as I hung up I realized I was complaining about the service of a utility that I really could live without to people who probably would kill to have one tenth of the service that I have.  I am getting frustrated with a utility that they can only dream about having.  I wasn't acting grateful or patient in the least bit.  They must hate me.  And I don't blame them.  If I only know how good I had it.  Well, Indian customer service workers, I do.  And I am thankful.  And a little ashamed.
     So after I got off the phone with the Indians, I wandered off on my mythical trip to Pamida.  I walked there, along the sidewalk that they shoveled before they plowed the street so it was still covered with snow and made my purchases.  No big deal.  On the way home, as I was exiting the Pamida parking lot on foot I noticed that the groomer had gone through.  Now, for those of you who are not familiar with snowmobile trail groomers, I will explain it to you.  In the north, where there is snow, there are all sorts of designated trails for snowmobiles to ride on.  These trails are groomed.  The groomer is basically a big tractor with tank-like tracks on it that pulls a hydraulic sled that packs down the snow.  They are pretty cool, I have to admit.  But anyway, I decided that I would take the packed down snowmobile trail home instead of the difficult to traverse sidewalk.
     I have always had an interesting relationship with the groomer.  I am fascinated with it, mostly because it can go places that I generally can't.  I get all excited when it goes by Guy H's house in Sand River.  I run to the window and look out through the blinds like I am a little dog watching his master pull into the driveway.  I have always wanted to ride the groomer once but have never had the opportunity.  I know people who have, even one who used to drive it for a job, and I am intensely jealous.  That being said, the groomer usually scares the hell out of me.
     It always happens when I am on a snowmobile trail in the winter at night.  The groomers usually run at night because there are fewer snowmobiles on the trails and fewer cars on the roads, etc.  Twice I have been scared shitless by the groomer.  Once I was on the Forestville bridge, a decrepit, one-lane bridge that carries the road and snowmobile trail across a river.  Both the road and the trail approach the bridge on a slope and a curve, so you can't see what is coming very well.  So here I am, on the bridge in my car, and all the sudden the groomer comes whizzing around the corner of the snowmobile trail.  It is a little unnerving because it's dark and nighttime and suddenly here comes a huge vehicle with a million lights headed right towards me.  It was like we were playing chicken on the bridge.  He let me pass but I still had to go home and change my shorts.
     The second time the groomer scared my brains out was on my way home from Pamida.  In my town, the trail runs right through the middle of the city, right past a Holiday gas station.  Well, the Holiday is lit up with those bright fluorescent lights all over the place.  The same lights that the groomer has on the front of it.  So of course I didn't see the groomer coming from the Holiday until I heard it plow into the snowbank about 15 feet in front of me.  Talk about scaring me.  I know that I have said this before, but I am very gazelle-like when I am scared.  And I was scared.  So I leaped gazelle-style into the middle of the street to avoid the groomer.  Great move, Big Dave.  Jump into the middle of a main downtown street.  You didn't really think that one out all the way before you acted, did you?  Well of course I didn't, there was a mad groomer coming straight for me.  Luckily there were no cars or trucks going by.  But I learned my lesson.  I am going to stay off the snowmobile trail from now on unless I happen to be on a snowmobile.  Or in the groomer.  Or it's summertime.  I mean, what are we if we don't learn from our mistakes, right?

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