Phone Call #1: The Walmart Vision Center, Thursday June 8th
"Hi, I need to renew my driver's licence and I need to get the form they sent in the mail with the renewal filled out. Do I have to make an appointment or can I just stop in and get that done?"
"Well, you'll have to call back tomorrow because no one is here right now."
"Oh, okay, but can you tell me if getting this form filled out is something I need an appointment for? Or can I just stop in?"
"I can make an appointment for you."
"What are the first two letters of your last name?"
"And what is your first name?"
"What's your date of birth?"
I tell her.
"What's your address?"
I tell her.
"And it's L-i?"
"That's your whole last name?"
"No, my last name is Libutti- L-I-B-U-T-T-I."
"And when is the last time you've had your eyes examined?"
"I don't know... a few years."
"Well, the doctor will do a whole work up on you, then."
"But I don't need a whole work up- I'm just trying to get the form filled out to get my license renewed."
"Oh, well, then you don't want to see the doctor! He'll charge you $45!"
"Right- I just need to get the form filled out. Do I need an appointment for that? Or can I just stop in?"
"You'll have to call back tomorrow. There's no one here right now."
Phone Call to Walmart Vision Center, Friday June 9th
"Hi, I need to renew my driver's licence and I need to get the form they sent me in the mail with the renewal filled out. Do I need an appointment for that or can I just stop in?"
"When's the last time you had your vision checked?"
"A few years ago."
"Then I can make an appointment for you to see the doctor."
"No, no, I don't need that. I just need to come in a get the form filled out."
"Well, let me see who is here."
(Never picks up again. I hang up and call back.)
"Hi, I am trying to get the form filled out that came with my license renewal and no one ever got back to me."
"Oh. Hold on.... Debbie is here until two."
"So I can just come in?"
Arrive at Vision Center.
"Can I help you?"
"Yes, I need this form filled out to get my license renewed."
"When was you last eye exam?"
"No, I DON'T NEED AN EXAM. I JUST NEED THIS FORM FILLED OUT."
"Bring it over here. Stand over there and read a line on the chart."
And let me tell you- the lady who finally filled out the form for me could not have been more hostile and nasty to me.
It was a twilight zone moment.
Phone Call #2, HSBC Bank
Our bank, HSBC, recently sold its personal banking business to another bank in our area. I was actually pretty happy that this was happening because the new bank has more local branches for me. The first Monday after the conversion was to have taken place, I walked into the new bank, presented them with my checks I needed to deposit, and they told me, "I'm sorry, but we don't have your accounts."
It turns out that our accounts had not made the conversion. The new bank called HSBC for me and this is the gist of that conversation:
"How may I help you?"
"There has been a mix up in the conversion of my accounts to the new bank. They don't have my information."
"Oh, yes, Miss Libutti, I see that your accounts are going to be sent to Community Bank."
"Community Bank? I have never heard of that. We don't have Community Banks in this area."
"Well, yes, they are in upstate New York."
"I live in upstate New York and have never heard of them."
"Yes, they are in the counties of Erie, Livingston, Monroe, and Oswego."
"Well, that's in the western part of the state. Some of those counties are over three hours away from me here in Albany."
""I am very sorry, ma'am."
"Well, when is this conversion to Community Bank supposed to take place?"
"That is undetermined at this time."
"So you are telling me that at an undetermined time, my back accounts are being transferred to a bank I have never heard of whose branches are three hours away from me."
"Yes, that is correct."
So, I have no access to a brick and mortar bank. Thankfully I still have online access so we are opening new accounts at a local credit union bank and transferring all our money there. But there will be the annoying lag time of waiting for the direct deposit of Dan's paychecks to transfer, changing all the automatic payments that come directly out of the checking account, and managing the two accounts for a month or two.
And the pesky problem that I cannot open a bank account right now because of phone call #1: my driver's licence expired a week ago and I needed an eye exam to order the renewal.
See the kind of week I had?