fledge capable of flying, from Middle English flegge, from Old English -flycge; akin to Old High German flucki capable of flying,
Old English flEogan to fly -- more at FLY
intransitive verb, of a young bird : to acquire the feathers necessary for flight or independent activity

Saturday, August 11, 2007

The tortoise and the Home Depot

This old guy belongs to my neighbor. Or, rather, he belongs to the neighborhood. Or, rather, the neighborhood belongs to him. This desert tortoise was found under the deck of the house next door many years back when new owners moved in. The neighbors across the street took him in. Desert tortoises live a long time. This particular gopherus agassizii must be at least 60 or 70 years old and he's in his prime. It is an endangered species, native to the Mojave and Sonoran deserts here. Unfortunately, once they have been held in captivity, they cannot be returned to the wild. This guy does not know that rule, however. He was born to be wild. And he makes a break for it every once in awhile, probably looking for a date. I distinctly remember looking out the window while having a very yuppified telephone conversation with a VP of a company in Denmark that went something like this, "I have a dynamic vision for your product and if I licen--Oh! The tortoise is heading toward PCH!" That's Pacific Coast Highway. "I'll be right back!"

Well, the tortoise broke out of the neighbors the other day and we are taking care of him for a few days while the neighbors are out of town. He's funny company. He saunters into the house when I least expect it. Here he is on my cutting mat on the floor. From this desert tortoise, I have picked up the following lessons:

1. Have a hard shell.
2. Grow old gracefully.
3. Eat lots of leafy green vegetables.
4. Tuck your head in and then ram creatures much larger than yourself.

To Item No. 4, see that bony protuberance beneath his head on the underside of his shell? Well, if he spots a nice fleshy bit of ankle, even the ankle of the nice giant feeding him the juicey cucumber, he may be inclined to ram that thing right in the Achilles tendon. I don't know why. We all get angry sometimes. I wear these inch-thick wooden platform clog things and, for all his effort, all he hits is the wood: He gets all shaken and I don't feel a thing. Ramming ankles has worked for him since the age of the dinosaur, but now, there's a new natural order of things. Wooden clogs. Sorry, pal.

Following the life lesson in Item No. 4, this week I took it upon myself to tuck my head in and ram full force into the giant creature The Home Depot. I can almost hear your collective mirth, "Now, that was stupid!". I had a pretty good reason: I paid in full for a repair to be performed to my garage door. Alas, said contracted repair never commenced. That's a reason for ramming, right? Calling the store did not help, because no one answers the telephone. I kid you not: I have a call record of at least 20 attempts. No answer. It's a huge place. No one answers the telephone.

Thus must I resort to the black hole of all customer complaints, the 1-800 number. I explain my grievance, I think, in terms even the orange-aproned ones will understand:

1. Here's the contract and receipt for a service to be performed.
2. No one will do the service.
3. I'd like somebody to come and do the work.
4. Duh.

All of that was explained to several very nice Customer Care Representatives at the magical 1-800 number ("Well, okay, I'll check online, but, well, I really don't need to the Internet to know that nobody is fixing my garage" That middle image is a screen shot of my order status. "NA"). I have spent hours on hold. Alas, to no avail. Hence, I must dig into my arsenal and pull out the fax. I have written a letter and I would like to fax it. I would like to have your fax number, helpful Customer Care Representative. My letter will explain everything and I won't have to let my life slip away minute by minute on hold.

Huh? Helpful Customer Care Representative, am I to believe that The Home Depot corporate offices in Atlanta have no fax machines? Really? Are you sure? You'll recognize it as sort of a gray box, which beeps, then squeals, then makes are fuzzy static-y sound and then--behold!--spits out what looks like a photocopy. But it's not a photocopy: Remember Star Trek and those transporters? Sort of like that, not quite the same technology: Fax machines are only for paper. It's kind of last Millennium, but it's still pretty cool. All the big companies have them. Even little companies. Even I have a fax machine! Both Customer Care Representatives Martha Jo and Michelle assured me, swore up and down, that there are no fax machines at The Home Depot Corporate offices. No fax machines and no good reason that no one would answer a telephone at the local Home Depot store. Uh-huh.

Okay. May I please speak with a manager? Uh. Well. By manager, I mean a superior, a person with the authority to can carry through on a decision. Somebody like your boss, maybe? A person that gets paid more than you and gets to tells you what to do and you don't get to tell them what to do? Anybody like that around there? Maybe the person you were introduced to on the first day on the job before you were chained to your cubicle? That guy?

There's no guy like that? No fax machines and no boss? No fax machines and no boss. And you're telling me I should call the store? Look, they don't answer the phone. And you don't have a fax machine. Or a boss.

I have hit the Home Depot's inch-thick wooden clog. Faxes to the boss always work! Faxes to the boss are the bony protuberance for ramming for humans! No such luck: I'm shaken and The Home Depot doesn't feel a thing. It is the new natural order of things.

What's this? Today, the mailman brought me an automatically generated postcard from Mr. Scott H. Baxter, President, The Home Depot Home Services. Scott H. Baxter! President! Dude! You must be the boss! You've got to introduce yourself to Martha Jo and Michelle. They swear you do not exist! I appreciate the postcard, but Martha Jo and Michelle should be able to tell you everything about my home service experience. Or non-experience.

Scott, uh, Mr. Baxter, President, you wouldn't happen to have a fax machine, would you? You should really get one. And then fax the store here and tell them to answer the phone, please. And then, my garage door? Please? I paid and everything.

Scott, Mr. President, It turns out that the California Contractor's License Board has a fax machine. Beeps, squeals, works and everything. Seeing as how I have this nice fax all written up here, I'm sending it over there. Maybe I'll hit a fleshy Achilles on The Home Depot yet.

There's that fable about the tortoise. Never underestimate the tortoise.


anjana said...

Well Nancy

what can I say!? This is apparently the way it goes in the good old USA...laugh.

First you pay for a service and then they might actually perform the service, but only if you're insistent enough.

Hopefully you'll get your garage door fixed at some point.


princesstomato said...

NANCY!!!! I am laughing my head off at this post. The way you wrote this just cracked me up! Very nicely written, my friend.

Customer service horror stories always strike a chord with me. Stay after the! Snail mail??? HA!!!How dare he??I am visualizing the beautiful tortoise on the PCH now....paperwork in tow...on its way to the infamous CA board of licensed contractors. Don't look now Scott-dude, but i think there is a tortoise making his way past the orange apron-ed mailroom peeps, past all the fax machines and phones, past michelle and martha jo, and past you, mr. hare-like boss-dude,,, as we speak.


corie said...

Next time try www.servicemagic.com When I needed a new chandelier hung in the, too tall for me to do it myself, entry way. We visited the land of Orange Aprons and purchased the chandelier AND paid for it to be installed. We were told that someone would call on Monday. Tuesday I went to the aforementioned dot com and had electricians calling me in no more than 30 seconds after I hit the send button. I promptly went back to HD, got a refund on the service, since no one was interested in calling me or coming to do the work, and took my chandelier home. It was cheaper and faster and everyone we've hooked up with through SM has been great!

Greek tortoise said...

The tortoise is native to many countries in Europe and the surrounding areas, including Spain, France, Greece, Russia, and Morocco. A typical tortoise is about 8” (20 cm), though they can occasionally reach 12” (30cm). In color, the greek tortoise is brown to dark tan. They are generally dull in color, but is still quite attractive and changing.

greek tortoise


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