It’s been very, very hot here lately which is great for beer-sales and so I called the brewery today to order more beer. I waited through their usual on-hold mix of bad 80’s pop music, as I went to open every window I could find and turn the air-con down so low, it started shivering in anticipation. Still waiting, I returned to my desk quietly humming “Together we can take it to the end of the line, Your love is like a shadow on me all of the time (ALL OF THE TI-I-IME)”, when the music abruptly clicked off and a nasal voice cut in with “Order and Shipping, this is Bonnie, how can I help you?”.
I gave my name, the name of the business and our customer number and started to list the order I wanted to place when she interrupted me “I’m sorry, we don’t seem to have you on file. Would you like a sales-rep to come out and discuss a contract with the brewery?”.
I politely tried to explain that we in fact had been with the brewery for about 5 years, already had a sales-rep I spoke with quite frequently and that I knew they had us on file since I ordered from them only two weeks prior.
Bonnie would have none of it.
I like to imagine Bonnie as a thoroughly middle-class, middle-aged kinda gal. Actually, just the kind of woman who would use the word “gal” to describe herself. I picture her in a summer dress with large, colourful flowers, her breasts big and heavy as they nearly spill out when she leans forward. Her belly beautiful and round, perfectly matching her wide hips and thick thighs.
I see her as just what a woman is to me, round and warm and full of laughter. But right now she had no time for smiles, she could only spare the moment it took to tell me I was in no way in her system. And that was the end of it as far as she was concerned!
I tried to explain again, but her screen told no lies and I was merely a faint voice in her ear.In the end I hung up and called our sales-rep, Matt.
Matt’s what anyone would call a “great guy”. And he is just that, a great guy! He’s the kind of person who’ll strike a deal and make you feel like you really got the biggest possible outcome, and maybe you did. He’s the guy you call and everything is just possible. You want 5 girls in tiny elf costumes for a Christmas-themed party in July? You call Matt, he delivers! You want 50 kegs delivered Sunday night to a small cabin in the middle-of-nowhere? Give Matt a holler, sure enough the kegs show up! He’s a great guy all right.
So I called Matt and I asked what the hell was up, he promised to check it out and call me back within half an hour. Not five minutes later he was back in my ear. “Uuuuh I dunno man, something’s gone FUBAR in Order and Shipping. They can’t find you anywhere in their systems. It’s like you’ve never even been entered.”
We shuffled some ideas and a few “Computers man, they’ll be the death of us all” comments back and forth before I managed to convince him to take my order until we sorted this out.
With the promise of beer safely on the way, I leaned back in my chair and mentally prepared to tackle the books. I was only just opening the safe and taking out the boxed money when my phone rang. Just like that, Bonnie was back with me. Her nasal pronunciation crackled through the speaker “Hi, yeah can I get your customer number again?”. I repeated and she asked for my name and the name of the bar and then went straight on to “So what’d you want to order?”. I stopped her to ask if she had managed to find me in the system and her only answer was “Yeah it seemed like you’d ended on the “no-sale” list”. I could get nothing more out of her and so I just placed the order and thanked her for finding the file.
After hanging up I immediately called Matt, I wanted to make sure we wouldn’t get a double order and this “no-sale” list was intriguing. Matt told me list was where they put the bars who didn’t pay their bills on time or with which they’d had other problems. I was astounded. How’d we end up there? We always paid our bills on time and we weren’t a drug den or a gang hangout.
Well it turned out the brewery had recently fired an employee for racist and homophobic slurs and Matt suspected him of putting the only gay bar among their customers, us, on the list to try and force us away from the brewery. He apologized profusely and made it very clear that homophobia was very far from the brewery’s policies. I told him there was absolutely no need, the fact that they sponsor 10k to our participation in Pride every year (and their selection of on-hold music) was more than enough proof of their good intentions.
In the end, all was well (except for the employee who got fired I suppose) and my beer was on the way. Moral of the story: Don’t be a fuckin’ dick, okay?