Work on Saturday. A 12-hour workday today. Tomorrow will most likely be much the same. I think something went sproink in my brain at work today. This is going to be a looooong week. Oh yeah. Sean transitioned to 2nd shift today. He’s working 3:30 – midnight for at least the near term future. We’re both going to be wiped by the end of the week.

sick bed

Sean’s sick. A coworker came into work this week with laryngitis. By Friday, 5 people had called in sick in Sean’s group (there’s ~40 people in Sean’s group). Sean started feeling sick on Friday, but he still went into work. Since Friday, we’ve been on a downward trend. I made him sit out on our patio for a little while yesterday just to get some fresh air. Other than that, he didn’t leave the house.
Meals have consisted of warm foods that are soothing on the throat. Lunch was Asian chicken noodle soup. Dinner was the salsa verde braised pork. Breakfast this morning was bear mush (cracked red wheat berry hot cereal). Lunch will most likely be either mac ‘n’ cheese or more noodle soup. Hot tea, water and juice is all he’s drunken in the past 2 days.
Currently, Sean is taking Zicam to hopefully shorten the period he’s showing symptoms, generic Sudafed for the sinus pressure and congestion, and Delsym for the nasty cough that he’s got.

So, here’s the thing that gets me. Sean works in a call center. Call centers are most likely the worst place to work if you’re prone to illness because call center sick policies suck. If Sean has to call in sick tomorrow (which if I have anything to say about it, he will), he’s going to get a verbal warning. It doesn’t matter that if he went to a doctor, the doctor would recommend he stay home and rest. After this verbal warning, he can get away with calling in sick on Tuesday as well without retribution. If he calls in sick again within 60 days, he gets a written warning. If he calls in sick once more within another 60 days, he’s given a final written warning and after that, he’s gone. This rule is absolute. Even if a doctor writes a note indicating that this person has pneumonia and shouldn’t be leaving his hospital bed, Sean’s company will write that employee up. So, what does this lead to? Employees going into work sick and spreading their illness around to everyone else in the call center and then all of those newly sick people have to make the call to either a) come in and continue spreading the illness or b) stay home and get written up. There are better ways to write sick policies without leaving them open to be abused.

Excuse me as I go get a cough drop, my throat’s starting to feel scratchy.

note to the man standing behind me in the security line

I have a note to pass along to the man that was standing behind me in the security line tonight. Chew with your mouth closed. Seriously. I do not want to listen to every smack of your gum in your mouth as you either try to subdue a nicotine addiction or just freshen your breath. You sound like a horse. From the conversation you were having with your friend, you don’t sound like you have an IQ higher than a horse. Actually, that’s derogatory to horses. To all horses reading this blog, I apologize. By the time I got to the front of the security line, I was about to reach into the man’s mouth and rip the gum out of it just to shut him up.

customer service woes

This, unfortunately, is not such a great post after my last post.

This story actually requires a little background. A couple of months ago, I was going on one of my usual business trips to Denver when I got bumped off the flight because the flight was overbooked. As a compensation, the gate agent offered either double the cost of my ticket towards future airfare purchases or a free round-trip ticket. I was assured (as were the two other people who also got bumped) that the round-trip ticket didn’t have black out dates and that it was really easy to use. We wouldn’t have any issues. We all chose the round-trip ticket.

Fast forward a couple months to more recently. I first thought that wouldn’t it be great to fly home and visit my good friends Misty and Stephen with their newborn Liza. At the same time I could spend a little bit of time with my parents as well to score a few brownie points. I picked a weekend in June when I had an off-Friday, so I’d have to take one less day off of work to fly home. Unfortunately, the weekend I picked is the weekend before July 4 and since July 4 is on a Wednesday this year, both weekends around it are blacked-out. But wait, you might ask, didn’t I just say that the gate agent assured me that there were no black-out dates? Why, yes! I did. I got all the way to customer relations when they informed me that there was nothing they could do about it, why don’t I try flying on another date. Fine. I scrapped the initial trip idea.

Fast forward to this weekend. I call the airline hoping, once more, to use my free round-trip ticket to fly home in August. Surely, calling two months before I want to fly and ensuring that there are no holidays close to the dates that I’m flying would make this a relatively easy task to accomplish. Nope. There is not a single date going 1 week forward and backward from the dates I requested that I can fly from Phoenix, AZ to Huntsville, AL. At this point, I’m ticked. I’ll buy blackout dates, but flying from this airline’s major US hub to any other city, I would expect to be able to get at least one option to be able to use this ticket on. Nope. So, I ask the rep to speak to her supervisor. She suggests that instead of talking to her supervisor who can’t do anything more than she can, why doesn’t she forward my call to customer relations. She puts me on hold to connect me over. A minute later, she comes back on the line and apologizes to me, but that customer relations is closed. This was noon on a Saturday. Customer relations for a major airline was closed at noon on a Saturday. Actually, they’re never open on Saturdays. What?! The rep gives me the direct phone number to call customer relations and tells me to try calling them on a weekday when they’re open. She says that she’s recorded our interaction on my e-ticket number that’s associated with this “free” round-trip ticket so that next time I talk to someone, they’ll at least know what I’ve been through to this point.

Fast forward to this evening. I’m back up in Denver, on business, as usual. I get out of work a few minutes earlier tonight than I did last night, so I decide to give the customer relations people a phone call. No dice. Customer relations is only open Monday through Friday from 7am – 5pm, Phoenix time. I called at 4:55pm Phoenix time.

Right now, I’m absolutely livid. I’m kicking myself for having trusted an airline agent who told me that this ticket would be really easy to use. I’m kicking myself for not having just taken the money towards a future flight. I’m also absolutely livid because I fly US Airways all the time and this is how they treat me as a customer. They “apologize” for bumping me off a flight by giving me a round-trip ticket that apparently I can’t use. Then, the one group of people who can actually help me are only open during business hours on work days. This means that while I’m at my customer’s tomorrow, I get to have a lovely phone chat with the US Airways customer relations on how they’re not being very good at establishing a customer relationship with me.

I’m desperately trying to stay nice to these people, but if I get to much more run around on this subject, I foresee the not so nice part of my come out and very soon.

mother nature’s confused

I’m not sure what’s happened, but either Mother Nature’s confused or she’s letting her children play with the weather again. Yesterday afternoon, Phoenix’s high was 57 degrees. That’s Fahrenheit, not Celsius. Today? 69 degrees. Tonight? When my program’s throwing a party at the zoo where we’re supposed to be outside for the most part? High 40s. I’m freezing here, people, and I’m in Phoenix! Would somebody get hold of Mother Nature and inform her that she needs to get her act together