July 17, 2015 § 3 Comments
Once upon a time, there was an eleven year old girl named C.J., who was on a cheer team. She loved cheering and worked hard to climb her way up through the ranks. After years of hard work and dedication, she was moved up to a spot on Level 4 – which meant that she was now on a team that would bid for a spot to compete in the company’s national competition.
Her team has an amazing coach, who pushes them hard to be the best they can. The sedulous commitment of the coach and team, alike, has earned them a coveted spot in national’s. The competition date was set months in advance, giving the parents plenty of time to save and plan for travel accommodations.
CJ and her mom were both excited about the upcoming trip to Grand Rapids, but the cost was expensive so her mom decided to look for ways to save. She checked into chartering a bus; unfortunately, not enough people expressed interest for it to be cost-effective. Next she looked into renting a bus or van.
After months of research and price comparison, she booked a 15 passenger van rental with a well-known company named Enterprise Rent-A-Car®. Her original reservation was completed over three months in advance of the pick up date. In addition to booking online, she also called the store, several times, to confirm that the price she was quoted was all-inclusive – since she would be collecting money from other parents and didn’t want to hit them with any unexpected charges at the last-minute.
Nine days prior to the date of the trip, she called the pick-up location only to be told that they would not have a 15 passenger van available for the date of departure, “but I can give you the number of several other offices in the city and you can check with them to see if they have one available.”
I’m sorry, what?!?!? You mean to tell me that the reservation that I made THREE MONTHS IN ADVANCE is worthless? AND on top of that, you expect ME to call all of the Enterprise locations throughout the tri-state area to find a van for a trip that we are leaving on in NINE DAYS?!?!??!?
“I do apologize,” says Brie. “We have several vans in the shop and any time you’re booking for a specialty vehicle like this, you should always call the store instead of booking online.”
OH!! I see, so now it’s MY fault that you guys don’t have the van that I’ve had booked for OVER THREE MONTHS, AND that I’ve called THIS VERY STORE AND SPOKEN TO YOU ABOUT – AT LEAST TWICE.
She spent the next three days calling other locations only to be turned down time and again:
Ted with Store 1 – “I apologize for your trouble. It looks like we might have a van we can rent you but I will have to confirm. Let me go ahead and book it for you and I’ll call you back by the end of the day tomorrow to let you know for certain.”
At 3:30 the next day she hasn’t heard from Ted, so she calls back up to the store only to be told that they don’t have anyone named Ted at this location.
Now, how is it possible that I dialed the same exact number and yes, this IS same store but this dude has never heard of anyone named Ted working there?
She tells her story, AGAIN, this time to John, who does apologize but unfortunately they don’t have anything for her.
Tia with Store 2 – “I apologize for your troubles. We don’t have anything available at this store, but let me call the original location to talk to them and then we’re going to see what we can do to help you out.”
After a few moments on hold, someone comes on the line. “Hello?” she says.
“Hello, I was holding on the line for Tia.”
“Yes, ma’am. I don’t know what happened to her but this is Brie. How may I help you?”
Obviously she CAN’T help me, since this is the original location that informed me they weren’t going to have a van for me – regardless of the fact that I have a confirmation number which apparently isn’t worth the paper it’s printed on.
“Oh, yes ma’am. Your orignal reservation number is still good. You haven’t been able to find anyone with a van?”
Umm.. NO! Obviously not.
“I do apologize. Let me give you a few more store numbers you could try to call.”
Again, why is it MY responsibility to call all of these stores to find a van that I booked months ago at this location??? Shouldn’t SHE be doing that?!?!?
After writing down the numbers to five more stores, I hung up and tried store number 3. This time I got Tracy. Tracy was very sympathetic and they don’t have any vans available at her location but, “let me get my 15 passenger van manager on the line to see if she can help us track something down.”
While waiting to hear back from Tracy, I decide it’s time to call corporate. Someone needs to intervene and figure something out for me – this is ridiculous!
David, a supervisor at corporate, files a formal complaint on my behalf, against the location where I originally booked the van. Yes, he agrees that I should not be the one to call all of these stores to find a van. Yes, he agrees if you are supposed to call the store to book a specialty vehicle then it should not have even been an option for me to book it online. Yes, he agrees someone should be able to get this sorted out for me. No, he can’t do anything to help – aside from filing a complaint. “Someone should be in touch with you to determine what kind of compensation we can provide.”
The next day goes by and I’ve not gotten a call from anyone at corporate I decide to call the original store back and speak to the branch manager – Mike.
The first time I call, I’m placed on hold for over 30 minutes. The next four times I try to call, I never even get through. The last time I call, I’m placed on hold for 20 minutes.
It’s almost 6:00 PM on a Friday evening and I still haven’t even heard Mike’s voice!
I call corporate back. This time I get Robert. He apologizes but again, there’s nothing he can do for me because the stores are closed. He suggests that I go up to the store around 9:30 tomorrow and if they can’t get anything figured out then I should call back to have someone intervene.
9:30 AM. I call the original store and Mike actually answers the phone. He does apologize but corporate never should have allowed me to book a specialty vehicle like that online because those have to be confirmed for availability and book up months in advance.
Um yes… I know! That’s why I made my reservation THREE months ago.
Mike doesn’t have anything he can offer me and he’s got a lobby full of people right now. Can he call me back later today or Monday?
Yeah, right. Like that’s going to happen. I’ll just sit by the phone and hold my breath.
So, I drive up to store 3 to talk to Tracy. While I wait (they were busy) I stand outside and call the airport location (Store 5).
I get Latoya who believes she’s found a 15 passenger van at the Poplar location and is going to call them to confirm. Could I please hold?
And then… we’re disconnected.
I call back immediately and of course I do not get Latoya, nor does this lady know who she is or even have any way of connecting me back with her.
Now, keep in mind that I’ve given several of these locations a phone number where they could call me back and I’m certain it’s included in the reservation notes – which they also all have – should we get disconnected.
But has ANYONE called me back?
You know what that means, don’t you?? That’s right… I get to go through this story YET AGAIN!
Oh yes, she apologizes for my trouble and it does look like Poplar might have a 15 passenger van but you’ll need to call them to confirm. Here’s their number.
Store 6 (Poplar) – Telling this same damn story, for what feels like the thousandth time. No, they do not have anything for me.
I go inside and talk to Tracy. She books me 2 vehicles at a 7th location. “Call Harvey on Monday and tell him Tracy sent you. He’ll take care of you.”
The cost of 2 vehicles is going to be way more than what they quoted me for the 15 passenger van and if there’s one thing I’ve learned throughout this entire ordeal, it’s that there is no guarantee that the vehicle’s she’s reserved for me will be available the day of travel.
In Summary: I’ve spoken to 6 different locations, plus the corporate office (twice), and I’ve got 4 Confirmation numbers – each and every one of them not worth the paper they’re printed on!
What does Enterprise stand for? “Surprise! We may not have your requested vehicle when you need it.”
Instead of “We’ll pick you up.” they should change their slogan to, “We’ll piss you off.” That seems like a more accurate statement, to me.
Oh.. and one more thing I learned while calling around to other companies, trying to find a van to get us there.. This is a common practice at Enterprise. They over-book on a daily basis and leave their customers in the lurch.
So, if you’re a gambler and don’t mind playing a game of russian roulette with your travel plans… Go ahead, choose Enterprise. As for me, I will be driving to Jackson to pick up a 12 passenger van from a company that holds their reservations and Hell will freeze over before I ever use Enterprise again!
Additionally, I will shout this story from the rooftop of every public forum that I can get my hands on!
August 27, 2014 § 1 Comment
It started off as just another average Monday.
She got everyone up and ready for their day. CJ was dressed and ready for her early morning orthodontist appointment. Kayla had left for school. Sid was on the couch, snoring. Abby was under the bed, hiding. And Alexander was on the bed, loving on his boyfriend, Orange Dog.
She gathered all the troops and got them in their room before leaving: Sid, Abby, Xander and even his boyfriend, Orange Dog.
She took CJ to her appointment, bought them breakfast and dropped her off at school before heading into work.
It was fall registration for cheer, so she had to leave work early to pick CJ up from school, take her home to change and then get her to practice in time.
They rushed into the house to hurry up and leave again, but what she found as she walked into her bathroom stopped her short, in her tracks.
It was a brutal sight; guts strewn everywhere!
She looked down and there he lay on the cold, hard, bathroom floor, in a pool of his own stuffing.
The prime suspect was Sid, and though Xander and Abby were both present when the murder took place, neither are speaking; therefore, no charges have been filed, due to insufficient evidence.
Orange Dog was a faithful and loving boyfriend to Xander and he will be deeply missed. While Sid may think he’s gotten away with murder, I saw the look in Xander’s eyes when he returned to the scene of the crime, as we cleaned up the remains, and I feel certain that he is plotting his revenge and will strike – just as cat’s tend to do – when Sid least expects it.
August 13, 2014 § Leave a comment
It’s after her bedtime on a school night. I tell her that it’s time for bed but she balks because she wants to finish watching “So You Think You Can Dance”.
As I walk towards the restroom, during a commercial break, I tell her that the show is recording and that she can watch the rest of it tomorrow.
When I come out of the restroom, she’s no longer in the living room so I naturally believe that she has done what I asked and gone to bed.
About an hour later, I am finished watching TV and playing on my iPad. I’m feeling tired when I look at the clock and realize it’s about time for me to call it a night too. And then it hits me…
A few minutes ago, Sid walked out of my room and into the kitchen for a drink of water. Sid, who always sleeps in her room with her.
If she is in bed, what’s he doing in my room?
I go into my room and turn on the light.
Nope, the bed’s still made and she’s not in it.
Huh? That’s strange… I go towards my bathroom to change into my PJ’s and as I’m walking that way this is what I see…
That silly girl! She likes to hide while I’m using the restroom and then jump out to try and scare me when I’m done.. I guess she got tickled when I didn’t notice her once I came out but then got tired and fell asleep waiting for me to come back into the room so she could scare me.
September 10, 2013 § Leave a comment
Last night, as I was driving home, I passed by the department of motor vehicle building when it suddenly dawned on me that this was the year my license was set to expire – I use past tense because Tuesday was my birthday so the expiration date had already come and gone. I’m not sure why the great state of Mississippi doesn’t mail out notices when it’s coming up on your renewal date but they don’t, and I’m one of those people who will NEVER remember without some sort of reminder. But anyway, I digress… So, the very first thing I did, upon arriving back home, was pull out my wallet and check the expiration date on my license; sure enough… EXPIRED!
Needless to say, I went to the DMV first thing this morning to renew. They finally call my number and when I get up to the counter the lady says, “uh-oh”
Now, let me just tell you, for those of you who don’t already know, ‘uh-oh’ is not something you want to hear anyone say after you’ve been waiting for nearly an hour to be seen in the first place. But again, I digress…
“What does the name on your social security card say?” She asks me.
Not having recently inspected my social security card, I honestly wasn’t sure; but being married for seventeen years now, I was pretty sure it should reflect my married name.
“No,” she says, “it doesn’t reflect what’s on your driver’s license because we’re now hooked up to the social security office’s database and it’s not coming up as a match.”
Reaching for something off to the side, she says, “So, what you’ll need to do is get your marriage certificate and go here” pointing to the slip of paper she was handing me with the directions to the closest Social Security Office, “and have them change your name to reflect exactly as it is on your license.”
Apparently, an act was passed a few years back where your social security information was checked against your driver’s license and both must match before you can get a new one.
“And, if you come back today, you won’t have to pull another number, you can just come up to the counter and I’ll help you; but you must come back today.”
And so, the runaround begins… Who knew that something as simple as getting your driver’s license renewed could turn into an all day event?!?!
I go home and grab my marriage certificate, from its spot on the wall, and my social security card, which did not match my driver’s license but it did have my married name on it.
Next stop: Social Security Office, where I wait for at least another hour.
When I get to the window, I explain to the gentleman why I was there and pass him my certificate and SS Card. After a few minutes of him pecking on the keyboard, he starts laughing for no apparent reason… Between chuckles, he tells me that he has never had someone come in with their framed marriage certificate. After a few more minutes of watching him hunt n peck, he says, “uh-oh”
Uh-oh??? No, no, NO…. no uh-oh, not again!!!
“This is already expired.” He says, as he holds my license up for inspection.
“Yes,” I tell him, in my most hopeful voice. “It just expired on my birthday and they wouldn’t renew it for me today because the name on my social security card didn’t match their records.”
Maybe me providing him with a source of entertainment is what did the trick, I’m not sure; whatever the case, he went back to tapping on his keyboard for several more minutes and got me all fixed up. I guess he figured anyone who frames their marriage certificate must be legit. So he gives me two stamped print outs showing where he has ordered me a new card and what the name has been changed from and to.
Back to the DMV I go and when I get there, there is ONE SINGLE LADY assisting people. I go up to the desk, as if the lady who helped me earlier might magically appear from underneath the counter, and explain to the guy who is getting ready to tape a sign to the door about how I was in earlier and she told me I could just come back to her without pulling another number. To which he replies, “You’ll have to wait for her to get back from lunch.”
“Okay, well, do you know how long it will be until she returns?”
“About an hour”
Looking from the clock, to the crowd, back to the clock again, I know I’ve got two choices: 1) I can wait for her to return in ‘about an hour’ or 2) I can take my chances with another number.
About an hour later, after having had to explain the whole, entire saga all over again to Mr. Personality himself…
“Why doesn’t your name match?”
“Do you have your marriage certificate with you because you’ll need it”
– and on it went until he had a clear enough understanding of the situation that he finally decided to grant me permission for renewal.
And just as I was wrapping up and headed out the door to the tune of, You Spin Me Right ‘Round playing in my head…
♫ You spin me right round, baby
right round like a record, baby
Right round round round ♫
Back from lunch she came – but of course!
So what’s the good news in all of this, you ask??? Well, I’m not sure if it’s good news or not but I opted for the eight year license; so by the time I have to go through this again, I’ll be 50 years old and hopefully will have good and forgotten this whole traumatic experience.
February 20, 2013 § Leave a comment
If I come up missing, tell the police to question the scary man first. When they ask for a description, tell them to picture “Sling Blade”, then go look for an older model, dark blue Toyota pickup truck with a pair of Young Champion poms inside.
Recently, CJ’s cheer team relocated and I volunteered to help assist with parking until we all became accustomed to maneuvering the parking lot. While standing out there, directing parents with parking, I figured I could also help them find the new building by waving a pair of pom-poms
So there I was, standing on the corner of the parking log, waving my poms for YC parents and directing them as to where they were allowed to park when this little blue pickup pulls into the lot and stops. I look in to see Karl Childers smiling back at me and, as he manually rolls down his window, he says, “I thought you needed help.”
Makes perfect sense, right? Because after all, us women always flag for help from the side of a highway with our poms, right?
Now yes, I do realize that it’s a very sweet gesture on his part, to stop and offer help for a damsel in distress, but in today’s society you know us women, standing alone, on the side of a highway, flagging down cars, can never be too safe.
I smiled back and said, “Oh, no. I’m fine but thank you! I’m just out here to show the parents where our new building is.”
He then drives off and turns around. When he comes back to leave the parking lot, as he’s coasting towards me, he leans over, smiling, and opens his passenger door.
At this point I’m thinking to myself, ‘Okay, this is a little spooky. I can’t tell if this man is genuinely nice or getting ready to try to kidnap me’ – not that he could have possibly succeeded, I’m at least twice his size, so I’m pretty sure I could have taken him.
I edge closer to his truck, but not so close he could reach me, and he says, “What is this place anyway?”
Again, I’m worried about what information I provide; after all, in the movie Karl was a noble guy but in the end he did still kill people.
“Cheer-leading” I reply and thank the good Lord above that another car pulled up behind him so I could move him on along.
Last night, he drove by two more times – making sure to honk and wave at me as he passed me by…. **Creepy**
The End (for now)
So, I tell you all of this to say… If I come up missing from my corner post, tell the police that Karl did it and to look for the blood splatters, because I’m not going down without a fight! 🙂
September 19, 2012 § Leave a comment
September 5, 2012 § 3 Comments
Today a thing happened that was so funny I found myself thinking, “This might be blog worthy.” And when I made that statement to a friend, she asked how long it had been since I’d written anything – saying that she hadn’t read anything from me in a long time.
Wow! Talk about hitting the nail on the head… Getting back into writing has been a subject that has been playing, like a broken record, in the back of my mind for a little while now. I even went so far as to mention to a friend how I would like to start back but, much like diet or exercise, after such a long hiatus it’s very hard to get back up on that horse once you’ve fallen off the wagon.
I can remember a time when blogging was such an integral part of my life that not a day went by where I couldn’t find at least one thing to write about; but something happened along the way and I gradually stopped writing. Exactly what happened, I couldn’t say; but I can say, without a doubt, that I loved writing! I loved composing the story in my head. I loved how it made me feel to craft and perfect how I wanted the story to be told. I loved the laughter that most of my stories inspired. And I loved when people who read my stories would comment and tell me that I should be a writer. So why, if I loved something so much, would I have let that go??
Maybe it was Facebook. Maybe it was lack of time. Maybe it was life in general. I don’t know, but whatever it was I am hoping that this will finally be the year that I get my writing mojo back.
I have been through the beginner family blog. I’ve done the babbling blog and the movie blog (which, by the way, may have been the beginning of the end in blogging for me as I love to watch the movies but not so much to write about them. A writer I may be, but a movie critic I am not!) I’ve done the cute undercover blog and tried to merge that idea over into a more mature undercover blog. But then I decided I was sick of being incognito. I was creeping up on 4D and hiding under a false identity wasn’t really my style. I have always been a real person – an upfront and honest, nothing to hide, tell it like it is kind of gal. You can take it or leave it. I don’t play games; I am who I am and you either like me or you don’t. And so with that, I shed my invisible cloak and stepped out of that dark closet that others tried to shove me into with their malicious intents, and I merged all of my previous blogs into the one you see here today.
This is the one that best describes who I am and the name fits me and the story that is my life perfectly! In fact, my dreams of one day writing a book (as I’m sure all people with a passion for writing do) and what would the name of said book be is exactly how the title “My Life in Black and White” came to be.
Maybe one day in the future My Life in Black and White will be on the pages of black and white; but until then, I will try to focus on the days and many blessings of My Life in Black and White, and I will do my best to honor them in memory by committing them to black and white in this, my little corner of the world.