Posts Tagged ‘complaining’

Lami, you got some complainin’ to do

March 14, 2010 2 comments

My partner calls it “complaint blogging” — that form of online communication where you get your knickers all in a twist and just dare somebody to try to straighten them. But even though I consider myself a world-class whiner IRL, I try not to do too much of it here. Partly because I don’t need another reason to dwell on the negative — if I type my gripe, I’m going to be wearing my angry face for the duration of my thorough, anal-retentive editing of the post.

And then there’s that whole privilege thing I’m trying to work on. As a (deep breath) tall, thin, educated, hetero, middle-class, adult white male (whew), I realize I’m generally the winner in every game of “privilege bingo” I play. So I need to ask myself if this is a legitimate complaint or am I just butthurt because someone else’s needs displaced my own.

But there are times when I decide that it’s perfectly OK for me to get my kvetch on, either because it will expose a problem that doesn’t affect just me — using my voice to help those less likely to be listened to, and it doesn’t take a lot of bus trips to figure out that you’re riding low in the low-privilege lane — or else just because I’m as mad as hell and I’m not going to take this anymore. Maybe punks aren’t running wild in the streets, but at least the buses could run once in a while. So here’s what I submitted to Our Fine Bus Service (Centro):

Very Dissatisfied

This morning I waited in vain a half hour at the corner of Some Road and Some Other Street, from 8:00 AM until 8:30 before giving up, walking home and taking the car that fortunately was available only because my wife was out of town.

Not only did the 237 not show, but also the 537 never came either (I walk down Some Road so I would have seen it come by).

Because of this I was over an hour late getting to work today. When I called Centro to ask whether the bus was coming, all the customer service representative told me was that the radio on the 330 was broken and so there was no way to know what had happened. Not even an “I’m sorry” or “Give me your contact info and I’ll have a card good for a free ride sent to you.”

What’s worse is that the CSR initially decided that I “must have just missed it.” No, in fact I was there five minutes early; why should it be assumed that the customer is wrong?

It’s frankly ridiculous that *two* buses don’t show up, that nobody knows why, and that nobody at Centro seems to give a damn that they can’t be depended on to get their customers to work.

These times ought to be presenting opportunities for Centro to be getting more people to take mass transportation, and I’m sad that I’ve had so many negative experiences lately that I’m hesitant to recommend anyone use your services.

This is not the first time I’ve used the handy response form on the Centro website to register my concern. The last time was because I was sassed by a driver, who after buzzing past me (I had to jog down the block to where he finally stopped) laughed that it was my fault for not being more obviously standing at the bus shelter that he wasn’t watching. But that Blue Bayou moment was just a warm up for this case of “Carmine said there would be two buses and here there are none.” So I wasn’t surprised at the reply from Chris Dithers (not the real name), Centro’s Customer Service Supervisor:

Mr. Redlami,

Thank you for your email regarding the buses #237/#537 Some Other Street not showing up. I apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused. Be assured that this matter will be thoroughly investigated.

I reviewed the #37 Some Other Street schedule to verify the times the buses were scheduled to depart Some Road and Some Other Street. A #537 Some Road bus was scheduled to depart at 7:59am and the #237 Some Other Street bus was scheduled to depart at 8:05am.

I am under the assumption that you were waiting for the 8:05am bus? This scheduled trip will be looked into specifically and at the conclusion of the investigation, you will be contacted.

Please provide me with your mailing address as I would like to send you a courtesy ride coupon for your inconvenience.

Again, thank you for bringing this matter to our attention.

Chris Dithers
Our Fine Bus Service
Customer Service Supervisor

Looks good, right? I get $1.25 (cost of a ride) for my wasted hour, and they’ll be sure to let me know why there were no buses. So why am I still peeved? I mean, aside from being somewhat peevish by nature? Maybe it’s because I don’t like the idea that the “customer service” line didn’t provide any, and rather than respond to that part of my complaint, Chris is trying to mollify me with a free ride (I have to thank my partner’s laser vision for zeroing in on this issue).

So what’s next? Besides responding to Chris (hey, I’ll take the voucher for starters) I’ve figured out that there’s a rep on the Centro board from my town, so that’s where I’m taking my concerns next. Because that’s the way I troll.