Archive for February 2, 2010

OK, so, Twitter – I love it to death, but you know what’s  not cool? Tweeting sarcastically about a problem I’m having with my bank, and then recieving a reply tweet from my bank’s Twitter account asking me to DM my details so they can try and sort it out, after I’ve already spent twenty minutes on the phone doing just that.

Here’s what happened: for reasons which, I suspect, have to do with the fact that Toby and I went overseas and then had the temerity to come back when we said we would without informing Westpac a second time, our credit cards were cancelled last week due to “suspected credit card fraud”. Because our old address details had changed, Westpac was forced to contact Toby via email and ask him to ring them. He did, providing our new address in the process. Westpac noted it down, and his new cards arrived two days ago.

Mine, however, did not.

So, this morning, I tried to find the number for my local branch to call and sort this out. Irritatingly, no such number exists – instead, I had to go through a 1300 number, wait for the right option, then sit through a session of unbearably cheerful muzak until Hugo came on the line. I explained my dilemma. Hugo looked up my details and informed me that my new cards had been sent to our old address. I asked how this could be, given that Toby’s had arrived just fine. Hugo explained that whoever had fielded Toby’s call would have only had Toby’s details on screen, and not mine, and therefore only changed the address for him. My new cards, he said, had been sent to our old address. He started justifying this by saying we had different customer numbers, at which point, I cut him off.

‘Look,’ I said. ‘That doesn’t matter. Neither of us knows our customer numbers, and we don’t have to provide them when calling. I didn’t now, and he didn’t then. When my husband rang you, it was about the cancellation of two sets of cards: his, and mine. The person on the other end knew that. It would seem, then, like a fairly obvious intuitive leap for them to have asked if we, a married couple, were both living at the new address, rather than only changing one set of details.’

Hugo blustered. ‘Look, like I said, only his details would’ve come up – ‘

‘But you’re looking at both sets right now! And even so, that doesn’t explain why they didn’t tell Toby that mine would also have to be changed, or request that I call separately, or even mention that both sets of cards weren’t getting sent to the same place. If he had done, I would have called, and I would have my credit cards by now.’

Hugo apologised and asked whether or not I had any way of going back to my old address to collect the cards. Seeing as it’s only a few streets away from where we’re staying, that isn’t too big an ask, but still: I told him that, in all probability, the new residents had thrown out any letters not for them, as this is what normal people tend to do.

At which point, Hugo started saying that he’d have to cancel both sets of cards all over again, because if the people at our old address had opened up the letters with my cards in them, they would need only sign the back for the cards to work, and that, seeing as how the original concern in cancelling had been fraud, he would just –

‘No,’ I said, trying not to shout. ‘This whole mess is your fault. Not yours, personally, but the fault of your organisation. If you cancel those cards, again, I will be very angry.’

Hugo agreed to have the cards resent to my new address.

So, that’s sorted. But somewhere during this process, I tweeted:

fozmeadows: Urge to stab Westpac in the face…rising…

– which left me, internally, grumbling to myself about the fact that I couldn’t just call my branch, and that banks are so distanced from real life that every time they implement a new technology designed to help communications, they inevitably end up using it as a barrier between their employees and we, the people.

‘I just bet,’ I thought to myself, ‘I just bet they have a Twitter account, because they think it makes them seem Hip To The Young People, whereas in actual fact, it only goes to show how out of touch they are.’

And, lo – not two seconds later, I check my @ replies, and find the following message from – yes – the Westpac Twitter account:

westpac: @fozmeadows Sorry to hear it, please DM some contact details and let’s see what we can do to get you sorted ..Ean

Since then, the dialouge has expanded:

fozmeadows: @westpac Oh good gods, you actually are on Twitter. Very hip, but it doesn’t make up for having to call a 1300 number instead of my branch.

westpac: @fozmeadows Thanks, please DM contact details and the specific branch and we’ll get the Bank Manager to call you ..Ean

fozmeadows: @westpac OK, you’re not even a person on the other end, are you? This is totally an automated response using a person’s name. Not. Cool.

westpac: @fozmeadows No, definitely a person, my name is Ean van Vuuren, I head up online sorry my previous messages gave that impression…

fozmeadows: @westpac Look, Ean. I won’t hold it against you. But rather than tweeting, maybe you guys could look into not making basic admin errors.

Will he tweet back? I’ll have to wait and see. But in the interim, it just makes me angry. I mean, why can I Twitter directly with an admin in Sydney, but not call my Goddam branch? Why are they supposedly interested enough in people to talk online, but not to make the basic assumption that a husband and wife will be living at the same address and change two sets of details in the first place?

Conclusion: Banks, man. They be all crazy ‘n shit. Damn authors of GFC be trippin’ for reals, yo. Word.

Firstly: my maiden guest blog is now live, courtesy of Katie over at Sophistikatied Reviews! You can read it here.

Secondly: I am currently obsessed with rummaging through our self-storage space.

As keen readers of this blog may have had occasion to note, Toby and I have been overseas for the past five months. Before that, we gave up our lease and stayed with his parents before flying out; now that we’re back, they’ve been kind enough to put us up again, while I’ve been dayjobhunting and the two of us have been looking for a place. This means that, barring a few outfits, a handful of books and some DVDs, everything we own is boxed, stacked and stored on the fourth floor of a neaby self-storage facility. Ironically, a lot of what’s there will be sold or thrown out once we’re in a position to reclaim it, but until that day comes, there it sits: a small mound of un-or-mislabelled boxes, bags of random crap, dodgy furniture and reams of household utensils, all serving to obscure the location of anything I might actually want.

We moved everything ourselves, so it’s not like we can blame this poor stacking on anyone else. Toby did most of the arranging, but seeing as how he’d also had to lift our fridge, a daybed, four bookshelves and two lounges virtually on his own after the Great Unmentionable Incident Wherein A Certain Husband Who Shall Remain Nameless Dropped The Fridge On His Wife’s Forearms And Hand, Thereby Bruising Her For Weeks And Rendering Her Even Less Able To Cart Heavy Things Around Than She Already Was, Although Why We Never Roped Some Stronger Friends In To Help From The Outset Is Beyond Me, I’m inclined to forgive him.

The point being, the room is disorganised, virtually impenetrable, and full of boxes whose contents cannot be ascertained by any lesser action than opening them. All the bags with our clothes are in the back lefthand corner, unable to be moved because (a) they can’t be reached and (b) even if they could, they’re the only thing stopping the lounges from falling over. All the tiny boxes with useful things in them, like my PlayStation and the X-Box controllers, are in the back righthand corner, hidden behind about 45 larger, decidedly heavier boxes containing a combined half-century’s-worth of books. The DVDs are interspersed with the books, and the only readily accessible things are, for reasons I cannot fathom, utterly useless, like – for instance – Toby’s Cylon bubble-bath container and my stuffed toy turkey. In order to achieve anything at all, I have to move three bags (two light, one heavy), a box of philosophy books, the TV (fortunately a flatscreen) and the case of my ancient desktop computer out into the hallway, stand on top of our ancient, surprisingly sturdy gas-heater, boost myself between the fridge and the edge of the bedframe to climb onto the upturned edge of one of the lounges, and spend five minutes surveying my weird, incessessable domain, like a cat who’s found her way to the top of the tallest cupboard. Only then may I begin the task of figuring out which boxes to move where in order to progress my excavations.

If you’re thinking that this all sounds extremely inconvenient and difficult, you aren’t wrong. It’s a cramped, dusty, sweaty environment, and though, after three lengthy visits, I’ve only managed to retrieve a smattering of DVDs, four books and our edition of Trivial Persuit, I cannot for the life of me keep away.

I don’t know what it is. Ever since Toby gave me the key, it’s been exuding a siren-song. Or, wait. I do know what it is: I want my goddam PlayStation 2. For about a week now, I’ve been dreaming of landscapes from Final Fantasy VII and XII, and every time I go there, it’s with the secret hope of striking the jackpot. Not, of course, that I can remember which box the actual games are in, and as I’ve discovered today, while the X-Box 360 and all its cords were in one place, the controllers most certainly are in another. Frustrating, to say the least. But on another level, it’s more than that. The feeling I get when moving the boxes around is almost identical to the way I used to feel when, as a kid or teenager, I’d take it upon myself to rearrange my room. I’ve never had much in the way of upper body strength, but that was part of the fun: with only me to lift the bed, mattress, books, shelves and furniture, I had to find a way of juggling, shoving things around until I could edge them all into their new locations. It was still physically tiring, but also an odd source of intellectual satisfaction. Here was something I’d done, despite the obvious difficulties, and with a visible result to show from it!

When she was younger, my grandmother used to get a similar kick out of rearrangement: my mother and uncle would come home from school and find that the whole house had been moved around. Right now, trying to clear a path through our storage room falls into a similar category of endeavour. Gods help me, it is actually fun.

Which worries me, on a number of levels. But not enough to stop me from going back. After all, that PlayStation has to be somewhere.