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They Have Become One With The Trash

, , , , , , | Working | March 17, 2023

My township has a contract with a trash collection agency. At $55 a month, it’s a little pricey, but they provide massive totes and as the other option is to figure it out ourselves, most people in town have signed up.

Our recycling is sitting out on the edge of the road on collection day. It actually never moves because I live on the outskirts of town and don’t have to move it. The day after, I notice that it is still full. I reach out to the company in an email.

Me: “Hello. I see that our recycling was not picked up this week. Could someone confirm that it is a weekly pickup?”

Company: “You have to have your tote on the curb the night before or it will not be picked up.”

Me: “Hello, thank you for your reply. My tote was in the correct place, as it never moves. Furthermore, I checked my doorbell camera and confirmed with my neighbors that the recycling pickup was not done on our street. Please confirm the pickup schedule.”

Company: “If your recycling is in bags, it will not be picked up regardless of whether or not it is in the correct place. We will not be sending a truck out for pickup until next week. Please be mindful of the rules you agreed to when signing up for our service.”

Before, I was confused. Now I’m mad. They have avoided confirming that they missed pickup and they’re trying to blame it on me!

Me: “Instructions to bag recycling are written on top of the tote. Why would I allow newspapers and the like to flow freely when the tote is dumped? You have yet to confirm that yesterday was a pickup day. Was it or was it not?”

They don’t answer. The next day, I am awoken by a banging on my door at 4:00 am. I see the recycling truck sitting in my yard — not on the road but actually in the grass where they have no reason to be. I speak through my video doorbell. The man seems surprised that I am talking but not there. I guess he didn’t see the very common doorbell camera right beside the door?

Me: “Yes?”

Man: “We’re taking your cans. Good luck getting rid of your s*** now!”

Me: “You weren’t picking it up anyway so it makes no difference to me. But I will be suing you for the property damage your big-a** truck is doing to my yard.”

Man: “Whatever, b****. You don’t want us to pick up your garbage, just say so. You don’t have to try to pick a fight on the Internet like some r****d.”

Me: “Uhh… you’re aware this is being recorded, right? Like… all of this.”

The man turned and walked away. He dragged both the garbage and recycling tote across the lawn and the truck picked them up. I posted the interaction on our township Facebook page. Several people came forward saying they’d had similar interactions, but not all had the video to prove it. The company’s professional Facebook page was flooded with one-star reviews until it was taken down.

A few weeks later, the contract with the trash company had been terminated for failure to fulfill services and we switched to another company that did the same thing — but, you know, actually did the job — for $40 a month.

Frayed Nerves And Damaged Reputations

, , , , , | Healthy | March 17, 2023

My husband’s family doctor probably graduated medical school before the dinosaurs went extinct. He was the family practitioner for over thirty years, and [Husband] never went to anyone else until after this incident.

[Husband] was having some tingling and numbness in his right hand and arm, so he went to the doctor. It was so bad that he asked me to drive him to the appointment and sit in with him, so I got the news firsthand.

Upon seeing both of us in the exam room, the doctor rolled his eyes.

Doctor: “So, who am I seeing today?”

Husband: “Me. I’ve been having tingling and pain in my arm and down to these three fingers.”

The doctor didn’t even look at him.

Doctor: “It’s carpal tunnel. You spend too much time at the computer. Get outside every once in a while and you’ll feel better.”

Husband: “I don’t think so. I—”

Doctor: “It will go away.”

He turned to leave.

Husband: *Anxious* “But—”

Doctor: “It will. Go. Away.”

Me: “How can it be carpal tunnel? It’s only these three fingers, and it goes up his arm on the same path as the radial nerve.”

Doctor: *Glaring at me* “And where did you get your medical degree? Google University?”

Me: “I did Google it, and carpal tunnel doesn’t match the symptoms he just explained. However, nerve damage does. I’m asking why that isn’t a viable diagnosis.”

The doctor made a show of checking [Husband]’s arm.

Doctor: “Show me where it hurts.”

[Husband] traced the line up his arm.

Husband: “These three fingers — thumb, pointer, and middle — up along the underside of my arm and up to the base of my neck.”

Doctor: “Well. If you want to waste your money, we can order an X-ray. A simple wrist support would be much cheaper, but I’m just the doctor.”

Husband: “We’ll do the X-ray.”

The doctor stomped out of the room and sent the nurse back with an order to get an X-ray. We got it done the same day, and the results came back shortly thereafter. [Husband] had a disc compression at the base of his neck, where the pain was coming from. The doctor called my husband and STILL insisted that it was carpal tunnel and nothing to be worried about.

We took the results to a new doctor, and he agreed that it was nerve damage starting in the spine.

[Husband] no longer sees the old doctor.

Not Much Assurance About The Insurance, Part 20

, , , , , , | Healthy | March 10, 2023

My doctor miscoded a visit to her office. Instead of it being covered as a free annual physical under my insurance policy, I was charged $300.

I understand; doctors are fallible and rushed these days.

But when I called the doctor’s office to get the visit recoded, I was stonewalled. There was nothing they could do. (Really?)

Finally, I showed up in the doctor’s office waiting room with a stack of magazines. I politely explained to the receptionist that I wasn’t leaving until the error was rectified. I also politely explained to everyone who entered the waiting room why I was there.

It took an hour before a nurse came out to tell me the error had been corrected. I resubmitted the bill to my insurance company and all was right again.

Not Much Assurance About The Insurance, Part 19
Not Much Assurance About The Insurance, Part 18
Not Much Assurance About The Insurance, Part 17
Not Much Assurance About The Insurance, Part 16
Not Much Assurance About The Insurance, Part 15

Shut Up; I Took My Money!

, , , , , , | Working | March 9, 2023

Some time ago, I opened a savings account with an online FDIC-approved bank. That bank had a lot of “rules” concerning when savings accounts could be closed, but I read the rules and agreed to them before making my deposits.

Some months later, something came up, and I needed the money in the savings account. I double-checked the rules, and I could withdraw all the funds and close the account without any penalty or fee as long as I notified the bank’s online customer service representative (CSR) via Chat in a timely fashion.

I then activated Chat, and I was told to empty my account and get back to them. I emptied it later that day and went back to Chat.

There was a LONG wait until a customer service representative appeared. In fact, there were long waits between all of the messages here.

Me: “I would like to close [account number]. I have emptied that account as I was asked by another representative.”

Representative #1: “Please give me [lots of ID information].”

I gave her all the information she asked for.

Representative #1: “Read [the rules].”

Me: “I read them, and I qualify for a non-fee closure.”

Representative #1: “Please wait while I access your account.”

There was a long wait.

Representative #1: “Okay, I have successfully closed your account. You should be notified in a few days.”

Days went by, and I saw that account was not closed, so I tried again. I went through almost exactly the same delays and responses.

Days later, again, the account was not shown as closed. I went back to Chat for a THIRD time, and the tale repeated again.

Days later, I was now past the “no fee, no penalty” calendar period. The account was still open. Back to Chat again.

Me: “I’ve tried at least three previous times to close the account. Do you see it as closed?”

Representative #4: “No. I see no previous attempts.”

[Representative #4] repeated the tale, but I wanted to chat with a supervisor.

There was another long delay, but my phone’s battery is a good one.

A supervisor got on the line and read from the same script the representatives used.

Me: “When I started the closure, I qualified for a non-fee closure. Now I see that [Bank] wants to charge me a fee. You are the FOURTH person I have chatted with. Please close my account RIGHT NOW!”

Supervisor: “I cannot do that; my closure tool is broken. I will send you back to [Representative #4].”

Another long wait…

[Representative #4] again said the account was closed and reconnected the supervisor.

You guessed it… another long wait.

The supervisor read from the script yet again.

Me: “If the closure fails this time, I believe the FDIC has a complaint process. I do not want to wait another month for an email or something telling me the account is closed.”

Supervisor: “I will drop the fees. You don’t have to wait for an email.”

The Chat closed.

A couple of days went by, and I got an email from [Bank] telling me the savings account was “CONNECTED”! Not “CLOSED” but “CONNECTED”!

However, accessing the bank’s website showed that my savings account no longer appeared. Looks like it may be FINALLY closed!

Lesson: online banks give higher percentages because they have few or no physical locations and may impose severe communication burdens on clients. They also seem to have employees who have difficulty doing what they promise.

Remember: Fire BAD

, , , , , , , , , | Working | March 5, 2023

I am tasked with investigating why a fire was allowed to do so much damage to the basement level of a building when it could have been mitigated. The site had four security guards onsite at the time that the fire broke out, but according to the accounts of people in the building at the time, they didn’t exactly do anything.

The fire was in an electrical room in the basement garage of the structure, which was covered by two cameras. The fire could have been extinguished by our security staff when it was still small instead of being allowed to run rampant.

The building manager and I go to the security control room and start looking at the cameras.

Within seconds of breaking out, the fire is visible and obvious on one of the two cameras, but the camera viewing the security control room itself shows no reaction from the guards onsite.

Time passes and the fire gets bigger, smoke starts to filter into the building from stairwells, and one camera has turned into a bright orange rectangle on the monitors.

There’s still no reaction from the guards on duty, but people within the building are starting to take notice now, and panic is setting in. It isn’t until someone hammers on the window of the control center that the guards react. They are informed of the fire by a tenant of the building just as the strobes start to flash. We watch, in utter disbelief, as the guards start walking casually to the basement. To make matters worse, they don’t take the fastest route; they end up going a longer way so they can take the elevator instead of using the stairs.

Now the sprinkler system has gone off, flooding the basement.

I turn the cameras off. What could have been a minor event turned into thousands of dollars worth of damage because the on-duty officers were not paying attention and seemingly did not care about what was happening. They didn’t even call for a building evacuation. People could have been hurt or killed. 

All four guards are terminated on the spot. The owner of the building makes the call to terminate the supervisor, as well, because he doesn’t trust him anymore after seeing how well his people were trained. 

We all believe that the fire alarms and strobes should have triggered faster, and that is being fixed; however, we have physical security on the site for a reason, and the failure of building safety systems is one of those reasons. When automation fails, you are always supposed to be able to depend on those who are on-site with their boots on the ground. 

Not this time.