Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Just because it's been so long - Or why the numbers are driving me insane

There have been questions asked as to why we have not updated in awhile. Well, the answer is simple. Beth recently got promoted to Supervisor (yay, Beth!) and is no longer taking escalated calls. I am still in the same job and, while I do run into the occasional moron, the calls aren't that interesting. However, yesterday I got three calls in a row that made me want to scream "Is everyone an idiot?"

You all strike me as reasonable, intelligent people. So, when I explain that we have an automated system that asks you to enter your account number or social security number into the phone and that information will be displayed on my phone when I answer your call, you get that, right? Please don't make me get technical. I'm bad with technical descriptions of any kind.

The rest of the world doesn't seem to get it. Here are my calls in no particular order.

I know it's been awhile but the things I say in my head or while pressing the mute button are in italics. All numbers entered are not real account or social security numbers.

The phone rings. I look at my screen, fingers poised over the keyboard to enter in the number I see displayed. It is neither long enough to be an account or social security number.

DM (That's me!): Thank you for calling Stock Transfer Services. This is Dana. How may I help you?
Jerk who Annoyed me Rapidly (JAR (Hey. It's my acronym and I'll shorten it if I want to. You would shorten it too if it happened to you)): Why did I get this letter?
DM: I'd be happy to help you with that, sir. I am showing you entered in the number 2657843 (fake number, not that it would do anything).
JAR: What is that?
DM: I'm not sure, sir. You're the one that entered the number in (Moron).

Mr. JAR then launches into a five minute tirade about how all the people that I work with are idiots because he filled out his forms incorrectly. Yes, sir. You are absolutely right. We should process things the way you want and not follow the guidelines of the Stock Transfer Association. Why, the fact that we could end up with huge fines is silly. You are so brilliant by calling me stupid. Thank you.

I am finally able to convince Mr. JAR that he would be better off following our instructions then submitting his information incorrectly over and over again and having it rejected each time.

The next call I took was from a little old lady. Again, there was information entered in on the phone.

DM: Thank you for calling, etc.
Little Old Lady (LOL): I need information on selling my stock.
DM: Okay, I'd be happy to help you with that. I am showing you entered in account number 1234567890.
LOL: What?
DM (raising my voice): I am showing you entered in account number 1234567890.
LOL: What?
DM (practically yelling into the phone while my coworkers laugh): 1234567890.
LOL: What?
DM (Hit mute button. Sigh deeply): May I have your account number please?
LOL: I entered it in. Didn't you get it?

Needless to say, this call was an exercise in frustration.

The last call was from a woman whose shares had become escheated. To put this as simply as possible, escheatment means that you had shares, we lost contact with you (9 out of 10 times this is because you moved and didn't bother to give us your new address) and we are required, after a long time frame (typically at least a year), to send the shares to the state.

DM: Thank you for calling, blah blah blah blah blah.
Save Our Shares (SOS): I have old shares for Small Bank that went through a name change and merger and I need to convert them to Large Bank shares but they are held with the state. How do I do that?
DM: If the shares are held with the state, you would need to have them issued in your name again and then contact us to do the exchange. I'm showing you entered in 123-45-6789 (it looked like a social security number) but I'm not pulling up anything.
SOS: That's my checking account number with Large Bank.
DM: Your checking account number.
SOS: Yes. Do you have my account information?
DM: No. Could I please have your social security number?

Why, why, WHY would you call a stock transfer department about stock and enter in your checking account number? How does that make any sense at all?

Anyway, when I get three calls in a row from three morons, I know that it's a sign. Thanks for reading and for your patience.