Can’t handle the truth.

Still getting the computer put together, so you get Peemeister a day early! Huzzah!

From 2005 to 2008 I maintained a blog about my experiences working in the drug test industry. Every Sunday I revive one of those experiences here. The following was originally posted August 7, 2007.

Can’t handle the truth.

One benefit to my mainly-standard office job I did not have in the old peemeister-only job is that I don’t have to field nearly as many phone calls. Once in a while, though, I still get a particularly irritating one. I thought I’d share one from last Friday.

Our clients receive renewal packets from us, once a year. This packet comes with some fancy posters and stickers, a CD with all our updated rules and regulations, and a purty certificate to hang on the wall. This packet is sent out as soon as we receive their annual payment. We have too many clients, however, to handle on an individual basis, so we’ve settled into a month-behind routine that works pretty well for everyone. Basically I get a list on the first of the month of every company that paid their fees during the previous month.

I suppose most of our clients don’t mind waiting a few weeks for their packets, since most of them pay us a month or two late anyway.

So the ladycalls me up on Friday afternoon wanting to know where her renewal is. I look her up in the computer and see she paid us just last week.

“Yes ma’am, I see you paid. I’ll get it out as soon as I can.”

“When can we expect it?’

“Just as soon as I finish it, I promise.”

“And when will that be? What date?”

“I don’t know for sure. I send out a batch of renewal packets every day, though.”

“Which batch will ours be in?”

“Again, I don’t know for sure. I can’t give you an exact date.”

“Why not?”

This is the part of the conversation that makes me uncomfortable. This woman wants to hear “Yes ma’am I’ll get it out right away ma’am, it’ll be on your desk Monday, you are more important than all three hundred of our other clients expecting renewal packets,” and anything but that answer is just going to antagonize her. Like the moron that I am, though, I decide to stick with the truth.

“Because yours is one of many packets I have yet to put together. I’m working through them as fast as I can.”

“So when are you going to get around to it?”

“Ma’am, your packet will go out in the mail soon. That’s all I can tell you.”

“Not acceptable.”

“I apologize.”

“What date are you going to do it? Are you going to make us wait for a month?”

“That’s incredibly unlikely. I’ll probably be able to get it finished within the next couple of business days, but it’s impossible to know which specific day it will be.”

“Not acceptable.”

“Again, I apologize.”

“If I told any of our customers ‘it will be there when it gets there’ we would lose all our customers.”

Then she hangs up.

Thinking about it, there are probably two schools of thought on how this conversation went down. The first would be something like, um, hey peemeister guy, that lady has a point. And I agree to an extent. She is certainly entitled to the materials she has paid for, and she’s well within her rights to call and ask when they can be expected. However, just like the pizza guy really can’t give you a better estimate than “probably about forty-five minutes” I can’t give anyone a better estimate than “probably within the next few days.” (Actually, I’m betting it was more a case of “well it’s 4pm on Friday afternoon and I’ve had a crappy week but I can’t yell at my boss let’s see who can I call and give a hard time to oh yeah the drug test guys” than anything else, but I have no direct evidence for that.)

The other reaction is probably along the lines of, hey peemeister guy, that lady was totally a bitch, why didn’t you lay into her with sarcasm and snarkiness much to the delight of your readers? The answer to which would be: because that would have been rude and unprofessional. Had I given her actual cause to call my boss and complain, I would have been yelled at. And man, I really hate being yelled at.

For the record, I got the packet done yesterday and sent out in the mail, so she probably received it today. I wonder what would have happened if I had quoted her an exact date for next week. Would she call back to complain? “Yes I got my renewal packet, but you told me it wouldn’t be here until next week! Why did you lie to me!?”

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