So I posted yesterday that I’m sucking on my goals writ large, and I’m trying to find a carrot or a stick that will let me whip myself back into fighting shape and get back to working on them. Today marks 75 days left in the year to January 1st when I normally set my goals for the new year and take stock of the old year. I’m curious — if I work hard for 75 days, can I make some progress on my goals that will let me think that the year wasn’t a wasteland of slackerdom?
I’ve been struggling with a good tracker that will let me focus on some of the mechanical tick box items like making sure I make my lunch instead of buying it, take proper snacks for mid-morning and mid-afternoon, try to have breakfast with Jacob in the morning (I often end up showering while he has breakfast with Andrea), and get all of our collective butts where they need to be in a reasonable time in the morning. Equally though, I want to be able to make sure I’m tracking some of the “bigger” ticket goals when I have free time at lunch, or after supper, or on weekends.
Today I did okay, although I have no tracking metrics (so to speak) to validate my feeling. I handled the snacks and lunch thing for instance, and ticked off a few steps on the home front with booking an appointment for someone to look at part of the roof on Friday, rescheduling a dentist appointment to November, and with the help of crowdsourcing on Facebook, figured out where and what tires to buy for the winter. Which I did tonight.
Unfortunately, that is where my grand plans went sideways. I tried to use my MC to pay, and it was declined. I thought maybe I glitched the purchase, but no, still declined. Weird, I used it yesterday. Paid with interac instead, no biggie, got home, called MC. So about three months ago, they offered us a deal if we upgraded our cards. Which of course changed our numbers. Again, no biggie, and we could take our time switching over. Andrea did some basic triage of our past purchases to identify all the pre-authorized debits that had to be updated, and since they happen through-out the month, I hadn’t sat down to figure out which day of the month was the best to switch over to avoid having a problem with parking at work, or a half-dozen IT-related companies for example.
But they neglected to tell us that the old cards would stop working at 90 days, even if the new ones weren’t activated. Guess when the 90 days were up? Yep, yesterday at midnight. Colour me singularly unimpressed. Which I expressed to an agent and then a supervisor to ask PC Financial why they would deactivate the first card before the second was activated, since as of that moment, I was no longer their customer for the interim. Considering how much we pump through those cards, and that we have direct deposit of both our pay cheques to PC Financial, I kind of pointed out that ticking me off wasn’t in their best financial interest, which she agreed (she did do a nice obsequious impression of a fawning CSR). She verified there was nothing she could do about the now defunct card, and that nothing was scheduled to go through in their automatic history, but it did mean spending a lot more time than I wanted to tonight suddenly updating billing info on multiple accounts and services. It’s relatively organized, just time consuming. And I have to do parking at work tomorrow in person and on paper.
When I was just about done, there were two other changes I wanted to make on accounts, and lo and behold, they didn’t go through. WTF? I ended up calling again, working my way through to an agent, only to find out security had put a hold on the new card. Waited in the queue for them (surprisingly not long for either, just annoying) to find out that one of the transactions was declared “high risk” when they saw it. From Google. For my subscription to Entertainment Weekly. I pointed out to them Google was hardly a high risk, but whatever. He worked his way through it, unblocked it, all done. When he tried to explain the rationale, I told him bluntly I didn’t care, and if he didn’t unblock me soon, the account was walking out the door and he might want to look at the volume per year that goes through the account since we use it to pay for just about everything except our mortgage. When he looked at the account, suddenly he was a lot more helpful. I felt a little divaish, but they are making decent money off our business, I don’t feel like being “grateful” for the opportunity to use their services.
I confess I can also be a principled jerk with bad service for somewhere I go regularly. I won’t rant or rave or call them nasty names, I’ll just point out the size of the account and that I’m walking. I did that at Subway back when I was at CIDA. The guy was a tool who couldn’t do basic math and Subway has a system that defies basic logic most of the time. It’s actually relatively famous in franchise circles as being the least forgiving of systems for updates, and theoretically, the most fool-proof. I didn’t know that at the time, or I might have been a bit more forgiving, but the first time was when they had a special on, giant sign on the wall, I ordered it, and the resulting price was about $2 more than it should be. Not a big deal, but when I pointed it out, the guy got snippy and started suggesting I was trying to rip him off. Now, I was going to that Subway a couple of times a week for two years. Call it $25 a week, $1300 a year, $2500+ over two years. I pointed out his math, he tried to show me on a calculator and he got the right answer ($2 less than what he was charging me) and then he said the calculator was wrong. He could not accept his system was charging the full price, not the discount, because he wasn’t entering the special when he punched it in. And even still, no biggie, it’s $2, I don’t care. But then he started getting rude and aggressive, and that was when my principle kicked in. So I pointed out that I hoped his $2 was worth his attitude as I was now going to avoid his restaurant for 3 months. Which I did. And several times he saw me in the food court and wanted to chat to apologize, and I refused. Just waved and passed on by. Not my problem.
The second time was equally trivial. They sell cookies, 3 for $1.99. They also have an option for 12 for $4.99. One day about a year later, I was there and I thought I would take a dozen back to the office for a team meeting. I didn’t have much cash on me, but I had enough left to cover the $6 it would be with tax, so I bought a dozen. Rang it in, came up to over $9. I said, “That can’t be right, it’s only $4.99”. So he got huffy again and showed me…he rang in $1.99 and pressed enter 4 times i.e. 4 x $2 plus tax. I said, “Oh, sorry, no, it’s just the dozen price”. He saw it on the menu and then got rude telling me that it was the same price. I looked at him and said, “Okay, well keep your cookies. And remember last time you acted this way with me and I didn’t come in for three months? It will be six months this time.” He got really upset and started trying to apologize, offering me the cookies for free, and I just said, “Nope, sorry, I don’t like the way you do business. Your system is showing the wrong price and you can’t even be bothered to listen without getting rude. So I like the subs, they’re relatively healthy choices in a food court of terrible choices, but I’m out.”
I do the same regularly lots of places. I am a creature of habit and I will go the same place regularly, partly as I’m a strong blue. But once I have a bad experience, one where they aren’t simply wrong but aggressive or rude, they’re dead to me! I don’t care how good the place is or the price or the location, or whatever. They’re dead to me, Jerry, dead!
And I totally feel that way about PC Financial right now. This isn’t the first time they’ve messed up stuff on the credit card. I’ve had other experiences where they cancelled the card, I contacted them to find out why it’s not going through, they tell me “security flagged it”, security tells me there was some sort of breach, but they won’t give me any info about it or what happened or anything. Total BS, and I told them they had a choice last time. Either get it fixed fast or I walked. That was major strike 1, this is major strike 2.
We recently renewed our mortgage, and while they claim they have great rates, they weren’t even close to the ballpark of our existing bank or another one that was wooing us. And honestly, I simply wasn’t willing to trust them with a mortgage if they can’t get credit cards right. I know, I know, different groups, but still. One more strike and they’re dead to me!
So I just did a major amount of work tonight to fight to a standstill i.e. get me back to where I was the day before. I fixed a couple of small setup issues while I went (PayPal phone number info, switched another account from Visa to MC, etc.), so I’m a little ahead, but it sure ate up the night.
But I did get the tires all done, plus some medication from Costco for Jacob.
Not as much productivity as I would like, but more than I have been doing of late. I also made a shift on some career stuff, maybe I’ll talk about that a bit more tomorrow for Day 2 of the 75 remaining in 2016.