I have a very old Air Miles card. I usually forget I have it when I arrive at last at the check out counter. I suppose that is why, twenty years on, I only have enough points to taxi down the runway.
Today I decided to seize the moment. I had shopped at Safeway and received a little card along with my receipt. One of those little cards with a magic number inside. I would likely have tossed it but my eye focused on a picture on the back.
A Pfaff sewing machine.
It was available for Air Miles Points.
Lots and lots of points.
The possibility to win 10,000 points was dangled like a carrot in front of my eyes.
I looked at the Pfaff and headed for the computer.
I clicked and clicked and clicked.
I typed in numbers and clicked again.
As is sometimes the case, a brick wall was encountered.
I didn't have a PIN for my Air Miles card.
I guess my card predates PINS.
I tried to create a new PIN, or update my PIN or change my PIN or find my forgotten PIN, but to no avail.
I clicked on HELP and repeated the previous steps.
At last I picked up the phone and called the 1-800 number.
Ah, help at last.
A recorded voice instructed me to key in my phone number, my date of birth, my card number.... but alas, my phone number has changed in twenty years and the system rejected me.
I tried again and selected the option for a call back.
Perhaps it would be a real person.
The phone rang a few minutes later but it was the same Robot Lady.
I tried pressing zero repeatedly, hopeful that a real person would recognize the pattern of desperation, not unlike a prisoner tapping on a wall.
I was instructed to key in my phone number and date of birth and card number again. Changes were duly made.
I was instructed to enter my new PIN and follow the instructions.
There was a pause.
A recorded voice informed me crisply, that they were experiencing a higher volume of calls than usual and to call back.
The line went dead.
Amazingly, half an hour later, the phone rang, and it was Air Miles. The Robot Lady.
It was a Customer Satisfaction Survey.
I was instructed to press one which I did with a dizzying sense of disbelief.
The line went dead.
The phone rang again and I listened in disbelief to the same voice repeat the same message.
Customer Satisfaction Survey.
I am not feeling satisfied.
I just thought I would tell someone that.