A Tale of Two Trophies


Pretty sweet, right?

Two trophies.  A winning engine cut in half by our water-jet.  There was a ceremony where these two bad boys would be presented on the evening of Saturday, February 3rd.  We had to ship them to TX.  The shipping company told Jon they would arrive on Friday.  Perfect.

And then…

Oh shit.

First of all, thank goodness for tracking.  The timeline showed they were sitting – for over 24 hours – in Colorado at a facility.  Wait, what?  Immediately phone calls were made.  The location the packages were to be delivered to was shifted – our client would have to pick them up – no big.

Checked on timeline on Friday – when the packages were to be delivered to X location, not the original place, but close to where our client was to he could drive, sign, and take them to the ceremony location.  Timeline shows we now can expect delivery on Monday.  The packages are NOT in X location.  More phone calls.  Multiple promises.  Assurances.

Saturday morning.  The packages are still sitting NOT in location X.  5 hours of 1.800 phone calls.  The facts :: the packages are in Texas, they are in a facility that is closed on Saturdays, there is another branch of this shipping company literally 500 yards away, people on 1.800 numbers are usually not truly tapped in to the “goings-on” of day-to-day work flow, you can call multiple times – get a new person each time – be transferred to a different manager each time – get tons of promises – and STILL NOT GET CLARITY ON WHERE THE PACKAGE IS AND HOW YOU WILL GET IT.

We are getting down to the wire.  Jon has been on the phone all day – even at the dog park.  We are getting desperate.

You know that meme where someone has a serious face and is quoted saying – “hold my beer” as they are about to go kick ass?  Yeah.  That was me.  “Jon.  Hold my beer.”

Our client was 40 minutes away from the closed facility.  We were aware that people were there and the packages were on a van for a Monday delivery.  However, this facility doesn’t have a store front – so no direct phone number or contact (supposedly).  We needed someone to get the attention of a worker – who would probably be there only until 5:00, if that and ask them to wait until our client to get there to claim the packages.  1.800 friends were are ZERO help.  Seriously, there was like -25 effort / creativity put into this dilemma.  None of which was due to an error on our part.

Hold my beer.

Google maps to the rescue.

I started with hotels / motels in the area – well, I thought they were in the area.  Did YOU know there were two airports near Fort Worth?  Hotel #1 – I’m the only one working and I’m new in town so I don’t have friends that could help.  Hotel #2 – We would help you, but the location is 40 minutes away.  Why doesn’t your clients hotel help out?  Hotel #3 – I’m the only one working.  None of my friends have cars.  (what the hell? isn’t TX big, like you’d need a car to get around?)

Striking out.  Huge.  Meanwhile, Jon is beginning to sweat from his eyelids and cannot form complete sentences.

Check the google again.  Let’s go with restaurants.

Smokin’ Bones or some such place.  Nice guy answers.  Ask if he has 5 minutes for a really strange request but he could make $100.

So, I end up with Wayne, a kitchen helper or line cook or bus boy, who really knows, (who I find out after the fact is actually named Lane) running my emergency errand.  Wayne / Lane, punches out, peels out (thankfully he has a car), and heads for the shipping company facility.  He calls when he arrives – I get to speak with Dan – asks for my tracking number – yeah, that’s not a valid tracking number.  You need ground – this is express.  Dan is generous enough to show Wayne / Lane where the OTHER facility is (the one that was 500 yards away).

***my creative mind was thinking – if this shipping company has two locations next to one another, one of them is open and one of them is closed but has people working in it, why not contact the “open” one and have someone run over to the “closed” one?  STOP being creative, Ann!  This is what gets you into trouble all the time!  Stop thinking of reasonable solutions.

Wayne / Lane calls when he’s stopped by security.  They are getting someone.  Great.  We sit on the phone in very awkward silence.  My poking and joking doesn’t seem to translate very well in this context…

Here comes Paul.  Hi, Paul!  Paul gets a bit of the story – agrees to stick around until our client can show up.

I thank Wayne / Lane and send him $100.

On one of the first phone calls of the day, Jon spoke to a manager who had been trying to get in contact with Paul.  Since 9:00 am.  Paul had been getting voicemails and text messages and emails.  He never answered a single one.

Paul eventually put two and two together.  I can just imagine what went through is mind – Holy Shit.  So these people tracked down some random from the rib joint up the street, paid him $100 to find someone with a pulse that could take the important packages off of the van which were originally guaranteed delivery for yesterday, and someone has been trying to get to me with this information ALL DAY?  **GULP**

When our client picked them up, he offered Paul $100 for staying a 1/2 hour after his shift officially ended.  Paul wouldn’t take the money.  And the client relayed to us that Paul seemed extremely embarrassed and sheepish and was very apologetic.  Um, DUH!

So, the trophies arrived, just in time for the ceremony.  Thanks to Wayne / Lane.  Thanks to Dan.  Sort of thanks to Paul.  And like none thanks to any one of the many 1.800 call answerers we spoke to.

Lesson – extremely large companies with multiple branches rarely know what’s really going on.  And if they do, they give about zero shits.

What happened to making sure the customer was satisfied, bending over backwards to make things happen, going the extra mile to ensure promises were kept no matter how creative you needed to get?  Oh, wait.  That’s maybe just us.

Having been in Food & Bev, catering, event planning, I’m WELL aware how shit can go down and sideways.  I know what it’s like to drop the ball in the paint.

You make it work.

You adapt and overcome.

Think outside of the box – ask for help – do it with a smile and transparency.

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