When I first set up my blog I ran into a slight glitch. So I called the outfit overseeing my domain and explained the problem to the customer service representative who answered the phone. “What is your domain name?” he asked. He sounded like a man who was good at sounding like he had all the answers, but really didn’t have a clue.
“Squirrels in the Doohickey,” I said.
“Can you spell that please?”
“Squirrels, plural. More than one squirrel in the doohickey.”
“Can you spell that please?”
“D-o-o…is there a manager I can speak to?”
I could have practiced compassion. I could have practiced patience. At the very least, I could have been mindful of how rude I sounded and added the world please. But I was determined to avoid wasting our time. I knew what would happen: I would go through the lengthy process of spelling my domain name and he would look it up and then he would tell me that the email on the account wasn’t mine, which was what I already knew, and had already told him, because when I had tried sending multiple messages through the contact form on my website they never arrived in my in-box.
“The manager is gone for lunch,” he said.
“Is there another manager available?”
“Are you telling me that in all of domain-dom there is only one manager, and he’s out to lunch?”
“If I hang up and call back and get another customer service representative in another building, will that person have another manager who might be available?”
“I’m hanging up.”
I redialed. I reached another representative who sounded eager to do my bidding; I didn’t let it fool me for a second. “Can I speak to a manager please?” I asked.
“What is this regarding?”
I repeated the problem. I explained in a tone that says I’ll tell you the situation, but when I’m done I want you to connect me with someone who can actually fix it, that someone had screwed up, that someone had written down the wrong email address on my account.
“What is your email address?” he asked.
I told him.
“That’s not it.”
“That is it.”
“It’s not the one we have.”
“I know. That’s the problem. Someone on your end wrote it down wrong.” I smiled so he would hear it in my voice. “Can you please tell me what email address you have?”
“I can’t tell you that.”
“Why not? It’s my account. It’s my domain.”
I dropped the smile. “You can’t, or you won’t?”
“I’m not allowed to.”
“Is there a manager available?”
“No. I’m sorry.”
Talking to a customer service rep is like bringing your car to an auto body repair shop to get fixed, and someone inside sends someone outside to give it a probing look. The young man kicks the tires, runs a hand over the shell, picks at a paint chip, steps back to evaluate it, ducks back inside to flip through an automotive repair manual, comes back outside and stands with one hand holding up his chin, nodding knowingly, while all the while he’s thinking about what to order for lunch. And when you ask for someone higher up, a mechanic perhaps, to look at your car, the nodder stops nodding and gives you a hard stare and says there are no mechanics available. And he’s right. Because when you storm past him into the lobby, past the receptionist who’s talking to her boyfriend on the phone, past the coffee-drinking estimators leaning their paunches back in their swivel chairs, and burst through another door that you assume leads to the garage, you end up gazing out at a parking lot full of dented vehicles, realizing that the whole building is a false front.
There are no managers.
Santa Claus doesn’t exist.
The Easter Bunny is your mother.
At the end of the yellow brick road is a short bald man operating controls behind a curtain, just trying to get his job done.
Sorry to break it to you.