Sunday, March 21, 2010

As the Competence in the World Declines...

I cannot help but wonder why I am continually punished for attempting to be a responsible citizen. I believe I have had a breakthrough. I relate it to my treatment of those who attempt to take care of themselves and eat healthy. I feel the need to taunt and ridicule someone the instant they tell me they are watching what they eat. I also put forth my best effort to thwart them.

But why Bridget? Why would you do such a thing?

I like to eat...uninhibited and without guilt. Those who chose to eat healthy pose a serious threat, as they create in me an unwelcome sense of guilt and obligation to be more responsible about my eating habits. This is wholly unacceptable.

When I apply these sentiments to other areas of life the incompetence in the world almost makes sense. Almost.

A few weeks ago I went out to dinner with some friends. When the meal was over the waiter brought out separate checks and set them in a pile on the table. We divided them up to the appropriate people, but in the end the waiter had forgotten to bring out a check for my meal. As much as I'd love a free meal, I felt it was my duty to call him back over and ask for a bill. Our waiter had vanished. After waiting awhile I ended up flagging down another waiter to ask for the bill. He looked angry to be disturbed. I told him I had not received a bill and he immediately replied "Are you sure?" and waited for me to search my thoughts and my table to make sure I really meant to disturb him.
"Yes. Positive."
I'm sorry, what? Did you just groan and roll your eyes at me? I don't have to pay for this meal, I love free food.
At this point the waiter walks away. The waiter wanders around the restaurant aimlessly for several minutes and chats with other waiters near the back of the restaurant. Ten minutes later he returns.
"Are you sure you didn't get a bill?"
Did you really just disappear for ten minutes and not come back over here with a bill? "Yes, I am sure I never got my check."
"Hmm," he replies with a look of distrust on his face.
Oh ok! You're right. I'm making it up. Haha! Jokes on you! I already have a bill and I'd like another one so I can pay twice! Funny huh? You caught me! "I really don't have the bill."
"Was it included on anyone else's bill?
Great idea! I never thought of that in the ten minutes you were gone. My friends also didn't notice a whole extra meal and beverage on their tab and happily just payed $16 extra. "Nope. It was not on anyone's bill. Could you please bring me out a bill?"
Waiter walks away.
Waiter returns angrily and hands me a bill.
Theory application: Waiter hates paying bills. Waiter tries to instill in me a hatred of paying bills. Waiter does not have to feel guilty about paying bills if he believes I also do not pay bills.
Alternative theory: Waiter is incompetent.

Sallie Mae and I are not on the best of terms. I've been enrolled as a student and taking classes for the past nine weeks, but they have difficulties acknowledging this. Like clockwork, they continue to send me a bill for student loan repayment every month. I have called five times now to address this issue. Each time I call I am outsourced to India. That makes sense. I'm sure the people living in India have mastered the English language just so they can help me solve my student loan problems. I have difficulty understanding the individual on the phone, as would they if I were trying to explain to them how to open an IRA using my version of Hindi language. Every time I call, I am told something completely different than the previous time I called. For instance, the first time I called I was told all of my loans qualified for deferment. The second time I called I was told my enrollment confirmation had been received on February 7th, but I am still receiving a bill because not all of my loans go into deferment. The third time I called (only a few hours later) I was told that all of my loans qualify for deferment, but they would not receive my confirmation of enrollment until March 22nd. I informed them that the person I spoke with a few hours prior had told me my confirmation had already been received. This individual told me that was impossible, as the university does not send out their confirmations until mid-March. This individual insisted that my status would not go into deferment until mid-March. I called back the next day and discovered that my status was now in deferment as my confirmation had been received that day (February 16th). I asked for a refund of my last payment, considering that I should have been in deferment a month ago and should not have been required to make payments. They informed me that it would take two weeks to refund me the payment that took me thirty seconds to electronically debit.
Theory application: Sallie Mae hates customers. They resent the fact that I am their customer. Sallie Mae diverts all of my calls to India and tells me lies in attempt to make me hate them. Sallie Mae also wants to ensure my experience is bad enough that I discourage all other potential customers, directing additional hatred toward them. Sallie Mae does not need to feel guilty about hating customers, as they are also victims of hatred.
Alternative theory: Sallie Mae is incompetent.

I have a student who has failed to turn in an assignment. The assignment was due on a day he failed to show up for class. The student emailed me to find out what he should do about missing class (did not provide reason/excuse for missing class). I informed the student he could start by emailing me the assignment he missed. I then assigned him another small task to make up for the class time he missed. I never received either. Several weeks later I emailed him and told him I was still awaiting his assignment. He informed me that he was sure he already gave it to me. I informed him that I did not have it, and knew for a fact he never gave it to me. He insisted he completed the assignment. I responded by saying if he completed it, it must be saved on his computer and he shouldn't have a problem sending it to me 'again.' He replied by saying his hard drive was down and it would be quite some time before he could find the assignment and send it to me. That was two weeks ago. Still no assignment.
Theory application: Student prefers smoking pot to completing homework assignments. Student attempts to place blame on me for his lack of assignment completing so he can smoke more pot. Student now assumes I smoke pot as well as I have received a multitude of lame excuses and blatant lies from him, and he assumes this is the logical response to such stress. Student no longer feels guilty about his own recreational activities.
Alternative theory: Student is incompetent.


Anonymous said...

I loved this! I totally agree! We were having the same problems communicating with citimortgage about our loan modification. We have made at least 20 phone calls in the last couple of weeks and we get a different response every time. I now have an extreme hatred every time we have to call and get a status up date on the modification because I know it means we will talk to 12 different people...each of them giving us a different answer and telling us they will have someone call us and in which case no one does and we have to call back again and start the explanation process over again...I hate! hate! hate! citimortgage for this.
alternate theory: citimortgage is incompetent.

Nathan said...

You assume the various theories are mutually exclusive. I don't believe they are. :-) Incompetence is rampant.