Tag Archives: conflicts

AT&T, you disappoint me

16 Sep

Good customer service is something we all expect.  Businesses can’t afford to have their customers treated poorly, but what happens when the customer service is fine but the company repeatedly screws up in other aspects?  I’ve been dealing with AT&T for a couple of years now and when I moved last October I need to move my service as well.  Since last October I have called them about a dozen times in regard to the same exact issue: billing.  They are consistently billing me random amounts.  One month I’ll have a $0 balance yet next month I’ll get a bill for two months.  I’ve spent hours on the phone with them trying to resolve this (one phone call in particular lasted over an hour) yet the next month or so I have the exact same problem all over again. 

I don’t like getting frustrated with the representative on the phone because I know I’m not speaking to same person every time, but I can’t help sounding a little out-of-control because I’ve called so many times about the same thing and time after time when I get off the phone the issue will seemingly be resolved, yet I know I’m going to need to make the exact same call again in about 30-50 days.  So how am I supposed to handle this? 

In one aspect, I think it’s best to speak to them calmly and keep in mind that it isn’t the unfortunate person I’m speaking to’s fault that I keep getting screwed up bills.  Also, I want this person on my side and doing everything possible to clear additional charges. Yet on the other hand, I’m so angry with AT&T for repeatedly screwing up on something so simple.  So to answer my own question, I usually start off incredibly frustrated but manage to calm down halfway through because I end up feeling bad for the poor soul who has the unfortunate job of cleaning up someone else’s mess.  What have you done in the past?  What has or hasn’t worked when dealing with continuous problems?


Talk it out

10 Sep

Sometimes you just need to vent.  I know there are people who are perfectly content keeping their issues to themselves, but I’ve never been one of those.  At times I wish I could just keep my problems to myself and just deal with it on my own, but most of the time I realize that talking things out and discussing  problems that bother me with other helps me in a million ways.  Opening up to friends or family gives you insight into your problems that you may not have had.  It’s cathartic.  Sometimes, the more you talk about it, the better you feel.  It may seem counterproductive to talk about your problems over and over, but sometimes that what you need to do to recognize what’s really wrong and that’s the key to finding a solution.

Keeping everything bottled up may seem like a good idea initially, but you can’t keep it in forever.  Problems will inevitably surface and by then it may be too late to look for a solution.  This is unfair to yourself and to those who may be involved.  Problems don’t simply go away because they aren’t acknowledged.  In the long run, it’s best to identify what the issues are, talk about it with those you trust and find a solution to improve the situation.

Should I say it again?

27 Aug

I saw this article the other day and started having a couple days worth of internal debate.  I was wondering if my “excessive problem talk” was truly causing problems.  On one hand, I want to say indignantly that I should be able to talk about whatever the hell I want and if that’s what it takes to make me feel better than so be it.  However, the more I thought about it, the more it didn’t sound right.  While I can understand discussing our problems is primarily a female trait, in the end what does excessive talk lead to?  Does it really make you feel better or does it simply allow you to vent about the same problems without actually finding a solution? If your constantly talking about the same problems and the same troubled areas are consistently coming up, is it really going to help bring it up one more time?

As brought up in the article, boys and girls have different coping skills and it’s important to find middle ground.  Communication occurs in many ways and it’s not all the same.  If the person you’re venting to isn’t responding to you the same way you would respond to them, it doesn’t mean they’re not listening.  It’s completely possible that they’re taking in everything you’re saying, they simply have nothing to respond to.  This may be frustrating and seemingly careless, but it’s important to understand that while their mute-ness is bothering you, you’re constant yapping is probably a nuisance to them.  At the end of it, if a mutual respect is present a common ground should be reached.

Photo credit: http://bit.ly/p1ELoN

Yelling gets you nowhere

10 Aug

I love animals.  I think it’s safe to say that I like animals more than I like a lot of people.  Yet, when I say animals I mean dogs.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m an equal opportunity animal lover, but dogs are by far my favorite.  However, Mr. Kelley has cats.  As in multiple felines.  In the beginning this posed a problem for two reasons: 1) Cats aren’t my favorite and 2) I’m allergic to their never-ending shedding. However, today problem number 3 became evident: they don’t respond to scolding like dogs do.  I can’t just raise my voice and yell at them when they do something wrong because they just look right through you with their moon-pie eyes and pretend like you’re not even there. And then it occurred to me why he likes his cats so much: like owner, like pet.  Mr. Kelley, like I’m sure most people (and apparently cats), don’t like getting yelled at.

Most people tend to shut down when someone is in their face scolding them loudly.  My last post was about getting someone to apologize and explaining why what they said/did was hurtful, but how you go about it makes all the difference.  Perhaps you deal with people who do respond to yelling and loud noises and in that case you’re one of the lucky ones because in my experience that hasn’t really worked well. No one likes to feel belittled or bullied and you’re definitely not going to get anywhere with someone who walks away from you’re yelling. So it’s important to consider who you’re communicating with and what their listening and conversing style is.  Yes, they’re the one who made you mad so who gives a crap what their style is, right?  As I’ve mentioned before, communication is a two-way street.  If you’re talking, you’re going to need someone to listen and if you’re not speaking in a way they understand than you’ve just wasted your time.

It’s difficult to think clearly when you’re upset or hurt and it’s natural to want to lash out and yell, but use your breath in a much more constructive way.

You can use “I” statements

  • Instead of saying: When you make plans, you don’t take anyone else into consideration; you’re such a selfish asshole.
  • Say: I would appreciate it if you consider my plans because when you don’t I feel like you don’t care about me.

You can use examples

  • Instead of saying: You’re so rude when you walk away from me when I talk to you.
  • Say: Would you ever walk away from a customer at work when they’re trying to talk to you about something?  I think I deserve the same respect.

Avoid “always” and “never” statements

  • Instead of saying: You’re always late and you never call to let me know.
  • Say: It’s disrespectful to keep people waiting when you know that you’re going to be late.  I would appreciate a phone call letting me know if  you’re running a few minutes or hours behind so I can accomplish other things in my day.

These are all examples of what I’ve found helpful when dealing with arguments and to be quite honest, they don’t always work. The other person may not see things your way and there might not be a solution.  Just know that by handling it calmly and explaining your side you’ve already go the upper-hand. You won’t look back and feel like an a-hole for yelling at a person who probably tuned you out.

Side note: I found the best way to deal with the cat is to fling handfuls of water at her until she scurries away.  Too bad it’s not so easy when dealing with her owner.


How do you argue?

4 Aug

I was reading an article today on www.thefrisky.com that stated the key to winning any argument is to simply state, “You just really hurt my feelings.” Now, I love this website. I frequently retweet their articles and check the site daily for new info, but I am going to have to severely disagree with this particular article and this notion of simply saying, “You hurt my feelings” and having the other person immediately feel horrible and apologizing. From my experience this doesn’t happen. This is more likely to work with women, but I really don’t remember this ever ending well with males. I would like to use the word “men”, but oftentimes I’ve come to realize that most men I argue with turn into children once any dispute becomes too much for them to handle (this includes staring at the wall, plugging their ears, walking away, etc.)

I consider myself to be understanding, empathetic and sympathetic (all around the perfect specimen of a human being, kidding). I think for the most part arguing or rather disagreeing usually ends well. I am a firm believer in, “let’s just agree to disagree” and know that sometimes there just isn’t a win/win scenario. I also believe that it is always pertinent to state your point (even if it’s not well received) and to make it known that what the other person did/said affected you in a hurtful/negative/careless/immature/etc. way. Not just so they can feel bad about it, but so they can avoid doing/saying it again. Whether they are wise enough to avoid the same scenario is up to them. However, simply stating, “you hurt my feelings” for the sake of making someone feel shitty and apologize is not constructive for either party.

I don’t believe in making someone feel bad for the sake of making them feel bad. They should feel bad because they did something terrible that made you feel bad. In order to achieve this, state exactly what they did/said that resulted in your damaged feelings. How they feel about that is their problem. If they choose to apologize based on what you said, that’s fantastic and you know they aren’t solely saying it because they  feel guilty. What do you do if they don’t apologize? Cry. That usually works.*

*I’m kidding. Don’t cry. This doesn’t usually end well.

Photo credit: http://bit.ly/nc2I0w

Lost in translation

21 Jul
Whenever anyone tells me they’re going out of the country for a while I always think the same things:
  • How’s the food?
  • Is the beach close?
  • What language do they speak?

The third one isn’t the most important, but important nonetheless. It never fails to impress me when people travel on their own to places where English isn’t spoken.  I can never grasp how they manage to get around, order food or ask for directions.  You can only point to so many things with wide-eyes and large gestures until you run into something that’s not within eye-sight to point at.  So to all those travelers who have gone to non-english speaking destinations, I am both envious and amazed.

I spent most of last week visiting my parents with Mr. Kelley.  It was similar to witnessing what I would be like in say, Brazil.  My parents speak English, but it’s limited.  They know basic words and can hold a conversation about day-to-day things, but if you ever want to discuss the meaning of life or topics of the existential, esoteric nature you’re barking up the wrong Asian tree.  It was interesting to watch and listen to my boyfriend interact with my parents.  Both parties worked very hard to understand the other and it mostly worked, but sometimes all one could do was smile and nod. Depending on what was being discussed, there are some words that aren’t translatable.  For example, my parents differentiate Mr. Kelley’s two dads, not as “dad” and “step-dad”, but rather “real dad” and “fake dad” despite the fact that both matter immensely to him and he considers them both his dad. The fact that there was no accurate word for step parent in Cantonese simply meant they had to use the next best thing.   This goes to show that no matter how loud you speak, how large the gestures or how many adjectives are thrown in some words are simply lost in translation.

Photo credit: http://bit.ly/ogcer5

No phone, no flight

13 Jul

I do things sometimes that make me think, “I’m kind of a moron.”  One of those such occurrences took place today.  I was supposed to be on a 10:15 flight to Las Vegas, but I’m writing this at 10:33 and I’m still at the airport in Reno.  Needless to say, I missed my flight.  No, my car didn’t break down,I didn’ t wake up late, and my ride took me to the airport on time.  The reason for me being late is a silly one, and I’m rather embarrassed to admit, but I missed my flight because I forgot my phone at home.  I know…  I’m terrible.

Once I get to the airport I have this sinking, I-forgot-something-important feeling (why couldn’t that feeling come 10 minutes sooner?) sure enough my phone was missing.  Like the winner that I am I have no one’s phone number memorized, nor are they written down.The only available contacts I have are frequent diner cards for U-Swirl and MMM… Yogurt that I found in my wallet. As important as both these places are to me, I somehow don’t think they’re going to help me out of this pickle.  After another trip cabbing it to and from the airport here I am waiting for the next flight.  At least I’m super on time. This doesn’t happen very often. Now, I know why.  I have children on all sides of me whining, one sitting next to me whistling incessantly as if in a Disney movie, and another yelling, “Gimme mine! Gimme, gimme!” I’ll give her something…  (Please see re: I’m terrible.)

This incident goes to show how dependent I’ve become on my phone for contact.  I was extremely upset without it and probably would have cried if it were a particular time of month.  In retrospect, I probably could have made my original flight, cabbed it to my parents’ house, had my roommate mail me my phone and avoided the extra trips to and from the airport. But I only now realized this.  Like I said, I’m a winner.

Photo credit: http://bit.ly/puEIPd