Cooling Our Heels

“I took a speed course in waiting. Now I can wait an hour in only ten minutes.” — Steven Wright

I hate, hate, hate service calls. Hate them.

Twice a year, we have our furnace and AC checked. Weeks ago, Mike scheduled an appointment with Southern Comfort One Hour Heating and Air Conditioning, whose logo is a clock and whose TV jingle is “We’re always on time, or you don’t pay a dime.”

So, the guy was supposed to show up on Tuesday sometime between eight and noon. Mike waited; I went out. No one showed up. At 11:45, Adrianna, a dispatcher, called. So sorry; there were emergencies. No one would be coming to our house today. Mike wondered, since they’d known that they had emergencies hours earlier, couldn’t they have called at eight o’clock to cancel? He pointed out that he’d been stuck at home for four hours and might have chosen to put those hours to some other endeavor. Hmmm. Adrianna, bless her heart, didn’t have any answer for that, but she was so very sorry.

Mike was miffed. Adrianna was contrite. They rescheduled for today, Friday, but as consolation for cancelling, Adrianna promised we’d be first on the Friday list. Now it would be my turn to wait, while Mike golfed, but no worries! A guy would be ringing our doorbell by 9:00.

Except he wasn’t. At 9:45 I called. Darn the luck! There were more “emergencies” today, so of course the technician had to go to the “emergency” first. Lucky me, I was next on the list. I felt like I was living in a Seinfeld bit, where Jerry is standing at a car rental counter and the clerk is telling him that they don’t have a car for him. He says, “You know how to take the reservation. You just don’t know how to hold the reservation, and that’s the most important part of the reservation – the holding. Anyone can take a reservation.”

The guy on the phone was really, really, really sorry. Would I like to reschedule for another day? Hell, no. Spare me! No, it would not be more convenient to sit here on a third day and hope that no more emergencies arose, throwing my reserved time out the window again. I stayed put, and waited. Outside, the sun was shining, the temps nearing eighty, but I was trapped.

The tech showed up after eleven, and asked me how things were going. I told him. He pasted on his “Oh, that’s too bad” face and explained that One Hour overbooks maintenance calls, and bumps them when someone’s AC stops working altogether. Huh. How foolish we were to assume that an appointment was really an appointment. It just might be an appointment.  Anyway, he gave us a complimentary drain pan treatment, a sixty dollar value, and was gone around 12:30. Woohoo!

Okay, I get that it’s no tragedy that I couldn’t go to water aerobics at nine, and had to cancel my mani-pedi at eleven. Plus, being housebound gave me the time to write this nasty little rant. But I still hate service calls. Hate them.

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