Monday, October 15, 2012

The Monday Rant: Incompetence

Last week, I had to place an Office Depot order for camp.  I always choose to make orders by phone because we have a special discounted pricing system that I'm not convinced works with online orders.  Besides, the number I call usually gets me someone who actually speaks English fairly well, and while they have a lot of scripted lines they have to say ("Have I taken care of your business today?" and "We have a special on *completely unnecessary items* this week - would you like to add any of these to your order?"), they're polite and the order usually takes me 5 minutes or less. 

So, when I had to place this most recent order, I called about 15 minutes before I was supposed to leave for lunch, thinking that even if the phone call went long, I'd at least still get to go to lunch at 12.

I went to lunch at 12:15.

I am not complaining about having lunch late.  That didn't bother me at all.  What drove me insane was the complete incompetence of the lady who took my order. 

I'm sure she's a very nice lady and that she tries really hard.  But there are certain qualifications you should have if you're going to take phone orders.  Like the ability to hear.  And pronounce words.  And read.  Our conversation went something like this:

Office Depot Lady: Thank you for calling Office Depot, this is Gweroiumvcn, how can I help you today?
Me: I'd like to place an order.
ODL: Okay, I can help you with that, what's your customer ID number?
Me: 12345678 (Obviously not our real customer number.)
ODL: Okay... Hmmmm…….. *awkwardly long pause*  You said 1…2… ?
Me: (slowly and deliberately) 1… 2… 3… (etc.)
ODL: Okay… hmmmm….. You said 123456… ???
Me:  (slowly and deliberately) 6… 7… 8…
ODL: Okay… Hmmm…. Alright can you confirm the business name?
Me: Pine Ridge Bible Camp
ODL: Okay, and how can I help you today?
Me: ...I'd like to place an order.  
ODL: Okay...
Me: Are you ready for the first item?
ODL: (rudely) Um, yeah!
Me:  (At the same rate I would give any number over the phone.)  150-348-268
ODL: Okay… ummmm… 150...??
Me: 1…5…0…3…4…8…etc.
ODL: 348… what??
Me: 348  2… 6… 8…
ODL: Okay, um… 348…2…6..what?
Me: 2… 6… 8…
ODL: Okay, how many?
Me: 1.
ODL: Okay, that's the "Woosoo Extract" …wait it says it's back stocked… oh no… wait no, it's in stock.  Okay the "Woosoo Extract Vell-i-oom? Brastool Card Stock 8 by 11, Canary, pack of 250"  (I would like to note that this line is exactly what she said, word for word. Please go to Office Depot's website and look up item # 150-348-268 to see exactly what she was reading.)
Me: Yep.
ODL: Okay, and you said 1?
Me: Yep.
ODL: Okay, next item?

And repeat this for the next 2 items (thankfully I was only ordering 3 different things).  Every number I had to repeat several times.  Now, I'm a patient person.  I can repeat things.  And if I were giving numbers to, say, a camper's parent, I could understand that they might not be as great at hearing them.  But this is her job!  Her job is to listen to numbers and competently type them in the system. 

Me: That's the end of the order.
ODL: Okay, and how are you paying for this today?
Me: Account Billing, please.
ODL: *mumbling* What?  It says "Member Number"…???
Me: Member Number is ****
ODL: Oh… okay…  *really long pause*  Oh, weird.  It says the order line **** can't go through because you have a limit (This makes absolutely no sense whatsoever.) Okay, well I need to transfer you to a different department and they'll have to take your order because I can't put it through.  Here's the number in case we get disconnected: ******* (This was actually smart of her.) Please hold.
*Hold for 2 minutes, then hold music ends and I hear papers shuffling*
ODL: *long awkward pause*
Me: Hello?
ODL: Yes, I'm still here ma'am.
Me: …Okay.
ODL: Okay, for some reason they're not answering so I'm going to try another number, it's **********.  Okay, one moment please.
*Hold for 8 minutes* (I kid you not.)
ODL: Okay, we can't help you today, but you can call and place this order through your company (I can only assume she meant the company through which we get our special discount.) and I have two numbers for you. 

She proceeds to give me the two numbers and names and wishes me a good day.  I call the first number.  Disconnected.  Of course it is.  I call the second number.  It's a rehab center in Detroit. 


I call back the Office Depot number and this time a very nice, competent lady named Dawn answered, took my order, and completed it within 2 minutes.  That wasn't so hard, was it?

I understand that phone orders will probably take longer than online orders, and I'm okay with that.  And I understand that some people end up on hold for hours.  But Office Depot usually takes 5 minutes and it takes a half hour??? For 3 items???

Good grief.

Love and Tape,
Leah Joy

P.S.  This is not intended to be a reflection on Office Depot's customer service.  Normally they are extremely helpful and competent.  I usually even get a follow up phone call from a manager asking a few questions about his employees and I can give a glowing report because they're all so dang nice and helpful.  Today's first lady has been my first bad experience with their customer service.


  1. I'm sorry ODL was such a pain in the neck, but you gave me a great laugh when I compared her quote to the actual item's text!

    1. I kid you not, those were her exact words! :) Glad to give you a laugh! :)