I spent a significant part of my career installing, troubleshooting, supporting, and training people in the use of the software sold by my company. When people would call with problems, they were quite rightly upset that the software failed, sometimes in a spectacular fashion, and often I was asked to go on-site and help them with it. More importantly, I had to reassure the clients that everything would be fine.
Most of the time, everything was fine: I’d go on-site, fix the problem, they’d be happy and grateful that I was able to get the programs to work the way they were supposed to. It felt good to be able to do that for them. On occasion, though, they would be a little pushy and insistent, on the order of “I’ve already contacted our lawyers, and if you don’t come out here right now and make this software work, you’ll find yourself in court.” It always seemed to happen on a Friday, and their problem had to be fixed immediately, because… well, whatever. And I’d be the person they sent to fix the problem, because I was codependent enough to deal with them in a diplomatic manner and keep the process servers off the company’s doorstep.
One Friday afternoon, not long after I had transferred to Atlanta (which I had done so I wouldn’t have to travel anymore), my manager in Support came to me and said, “we got a problem. We need you to go to Hartford and deal with this client…” Evidently, we had spent many hours on the phone trying to get this client to install a patch to one of the programs, and they had gotten a little pushy with the person that had been working with them, insisting someone from the company be onsite to oversee the fix to the problem. So, guess who they sent?
I call the travel agent and get the next (and last) flight to Hartford (at 6:00 that evening), call Mary and tell her what’s going on and I’ll see her tomorrow, and head to the airport. Naturally, I took Delta, whose name is an acronym for “don’t even leave the airport,” and my flight is delayed for over an hour because neither the plane, which is coming from one city, nor the flight crew, which is coming from another city, has made it to Atlanta. When both plane and flight crew arrive and let us board, we spend an hour on the tarmac, because it’s Friday evening in Atlanta, which is nuts to begin with, and since we’re late departing, we lost our place in line and have to wait.
I finally get to Hartford at quarter to ten, meet the client, and get into his car to go onsite. About halfway there, he says, “oh, by the way, we applied that patch and everything is working fine. We just need you to check what we did.” I spent about twenty minutes at the client site, give them my imprimatur on the patch, after which they hand me the keys to a rental car and sorta-kinda give me directions to the hotel, which were wrong and I ended up driving around in the pitch-dark countryside outside of Hartford like the Flying Dutchman for almost an hour.
Next morning, the client led me back to their office (about ten minutes away) where I drop off the car, then he took me to the airport. As he’s letting me out, he says, “Really sorry about that.”
“No problem,” I said. “Wait until you get my bill.”
Mama Kat said “Write a blog post inspired by the word: pushy.” Hope you enjoyed it.
from The Sound of One Hand Typing