|That's me on the left.|
But even as a 26 year old (yes, I said early 20s...) I still run into the unexpected kerfuffle in the name department. Not too surprisingly, my recent name fiasco involved United Airlines. I was about to make a joke involving their "friendly skies" tagline, but evidently they stopped using that slogan in 1996. I don't know what's more staggering - the fact that I stopped paying attention to United's marketing after age 11, or the fact that I paid attention to United's marketing as a child younger than 11.
During another merger, United Airlines recently changed the numbers for everyone's Mileage Plus account. I never got an e-mail about this, I just couldn't log into my account. Thankfully my dad overheard my "thinking out loud" complaints to the cats as I bashed my head on my computer keyboard, and he told me the numbers had been changed. I found the appropriate link to plug in my old number, but there was still no record. I tried those useful links for if you forget your username, forget your number, forget your pin, forget your password, or just completely lose your mind, and still nothing. According to United, I did not exist.
|"Do you want to take his miles or should I?"|
Wrong. The mileage requests would not process because "the name on the account did not match the name on the ticket." My name on my account is Robbie. My name on my tickets is Robert. Most of us know Robbie is a simple derivation of Robert, but the website did not understand, and that online chat girl, Alex, didn't get it either. There is no option to change my name on my account, even though it's not really a name change. That leaves the 1-800 number.
I called 1-800-United-Robot and went through the fun of chatting with Mr. Man. "Name change" was never an option; I don't know why. He also didn't seem to understand me, so I pressed "0" to get an operator. But Mr. Man kept fighting for my attention, asking, "Are you sure I can't help you? Let me try again." But his vocabulary doesn't change and he doesn't turn into a real person (as charming as he sounds). He even tempted me, warning that I could be put on hold to talk to an operator, but I could talk to him "here and now." Is this a 900 number? (And do 900 numbers still exist?)
|Is this also a gun?|
After a half hour on hold, I am finally connected to United's phone hub: Calcutta. I know outsourcing is alive and well with American companies, and I prefer that my operator has a hint of an accent to make things fun and stir up conversation. However, I need to understand at least one word in the operator's sentence, and English should be his second language, not distant third. We started off poorly with my number. I said, "EFX" and he heard "EDZ." But I do enjoy the game of thinking of an animal that starts with the letter on the spot. "No, I said 'X' as in 'X-Ray,' not 'zebra.'"
|...as in "zebray?"|