Patience is a Gift

When electric bikes went on sale at a local department store, my husband, Michael, and I bought two. They’d make riding on hilly trails easier. Leery about the cost, we compared our receipt to the store ad. Realizing we missed the better sale two days earlier and paid $250 more, we returned them. We already had bikes and legs to pedal the bikes and voices to go “Vroom! Vroom!” But we no longer had $1,707.98.

“You can’t be reimbursed until your check clears,” the cashier stressed. When nothing had been redeposited in our checking account after two weeks, I went back to the store with both the receipt and the return receipt.

I chose not to rage like hotheads who growl and spit and gnash their teeth about complaints while cashiers smile and bite their tongues until the smell of blood fills the air. In fact, I started a long term relationship with the customer service staff and became the store manager’s all time favorite nightmare.

After I gave the manager my receipts to inspect, she conferred with the district manager and said, “We spoke with corporate and requested they give your reimbursement priority, so you should receive a check within two weeks.” I thanked her and left.

A month went by and no check arrived, so I returned to the store. The manager told me, “I’m sorry but you’ll have to deal with corporate now. Here’s their phone number.” She jotted it on my receipt. Again, I thanked her and left.

When I dialed the number, it connected me to a call center in a galaxy far, far away. A representative answered and explained, “You haf to go back to duh store you buy dem from an’ you ask dem for duh money. They give it to you.” I thanked him and hung up.

I went back to customer service, where they now knew me as the bike lady, and they summoned the manager. “No,” she said. “Corporate has to release the check. We asked them to approve it and expedite it to you. Call corporate.” So I did.

When I told the representative that corporate agreed to refund my money within two weeks, he reverted to his Star Wars script and spoke in a droid-like tone. “What is your name? Yes, I see duh name. It is here. What is duh transaction number? Is dis your address? Hold on…. You haf to wait three months. Dat’s policy.”

“The Lord will fight for you; you have only to be still.” (Exodus 14:14)

I remained still for two months and called back. The same representative asked for my information again and parroted, “Hold on…. Oh, yes, I see duh name. Hold on….You have to wait three months. Hold on… It’s not been three months.” My neuron cells spiraled into the call center’s suck-your-brains-out black hole.

After three months, I contacted my deep space phone pal again and reiterated, “The store manager assured me corporate would mail a refund in two weeks, not three months.” He insisted their reimbursement policy is three months and it won’t be three months for another several nanoseconds.

When I reconnected with him after four months, he took me on a trip down Memory Lane. “What is your name? Hold on…. I see your name on duh queue, yes. And dis your address? What is your transaction number? Hold on… Yes, I see duh amount of duh money. It is $1,707.98.”

“So, when will I be reimbursed? It’s been four months.” Then-click-my phone pal disconnected.

I called back and spoke with another polite space traveler. She asked the same questions, looked up the same information, and said in a friendly voice, “It’ll be three months before your reimbursement will be mailed.”

“Ma’am,” I said taking a deep breath, “I’ve already waited four months. Waiting another three months is not acceptable. You’re very nice, but being nice isn’t getting my money back. Please connect me with your supervisor.”

“That’s not possible,” she replied. I wanted to plunge bamboo shards into my ears.

“You and your coworkers are very kind,” I said. “Everyone at the department store is very kind. I don’t want to call the Better Business Bureau on a store that employs kind people, but you’re leaving me no choice.”

“The patient are better than warriors, and those who rule their temper, better than the conqueror of a city.” (Proverbs 16:32)

I didn’t call the Better Business Bureau on my call center buddies who weren’t responsible for making decisions to hand out lots of money. Instead, I returned to the store. I informed the manager that I hadn’t been reimbursed after four months of groveling and that corporate’s phone-a-friend insisted I had to wait another three months.

“Oh, no! This is not right! This is not right!” Her eyes bulged out so far I could have ring-tossed my car keys onto one of them. “You should not have to wait this long! I’ll call corporate immediately.”

Corporate told her the person(s) designated to approve the reimbursement request didn’t do it. Maybe their desk fell into a sink hole, or their pet alligator ate their hands, or their pen ran out of ink. Mistakes happen. Scripture says not to judge or condemn, but to forgive (Luke 6:37), so I forgave them for going to Maui with my money.

“The check will go out today,” the manager said. “So, look for it next week. I apologize for any inconvenience. I am so sorry!” I told her how much I appreciated her efforts.

Next week came and went and still no check arrived, so the manager made another call to corporate. They verified that they had just mailed the check and it should be delivered within a week.

“That’s it!” the store manager huffed. “I’m giving you a gift card! Stay right here!” She returned with a $100.00 store gift card. As she handed it to me, she said, “You are a saint! Anyone else would have ripped off my face! I would not have been as patient as you. No way.”

Galatians 6:9 tells us, “Let us not grow tired of doing good, for in due time we shall reap our harvest, if we do not give up.”

Our check for $1,707.98 arrived the following week. The next day I returned to the store to enjoy a shopping spree with the gift card. Of course, I asked my customer service BFFs to get the manager so I could tell her I received the check. They paged her and added, “Come to the customer service desk for some good news!”

Patience is a precious gift from God. Sharing it with the frazzled store manager showed her I understood and empathized with her situation and the limitations of the call center representatives. Hopefully, the next time I’m someone’s nightmare, they’ll wake up sooner.

By patience is a ruler persuaded, and a soft tongue can break a bone.”

Proverbs 25:15 NAB

“Long-suffering results in great wisdom; a short temper raises folly high.”

Proverbs 12:29, NAB

“Do not let anger upset your spirit, for anger lodges in the bosom of a fool.

Ecclesiastes 7:9, NAB

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Published by Nancy Homlitas

I'm a grandmother, mother, and wife well-seasoned with decades of humdrum yuck smothered with pure joy. The narratives and photographs I plan to share are meant to brighten moods and spawn smiles. There's nothing more hilarious than a true experience, especially in hindsight! And there's nothing more uplifting than a pleasing picture, particularly if it enhances a story. As a feel good bonus, blog posts will have a relevant bible verse included.

31 thoughts on “Patience is a Gift

  1. Umm, so this makes me laugh because we’re living the same life right now except my newfound relationship is with our local Uhaul and their customer service reps that seem to have been trained by the same corporate training team at your department store. I too am not going all hothead and have decided to befriend these people for life, even inviting them over for this Thanksgiving on the off chance they might bring along the thirty-dollar refund they still owe me.

    Here’s to hoping! 😂

    So glad I found your blog. Hilarious, clean, Biblically-based humor – my kind of thing! 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Ha, ha! Yes, let’s all have a humongous dinner/picnic with our new customer service BFFs! Your experience with Uhaul sounds totally frustrating. It’s like explaining something to somebody that doesn’t really work there. Call center reps do seem to receive similar restrictive training, but I think they’re just shown the movie “Groundhog Day.” Thanks for visiting my blog, Erika!


      1. Thank you for kind thoughts and your vote of confidence to be a patience guru! I actually was a facilitator for an after school anger management program for several years. I believe it’s less stressful to be patient than to be confrontational. Thanks for commenting.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Saint. You are a total saint Nancy! And look at the example of Christ you showed. Love this story. I have this go on in the medical bill world quite a bit. Persistence pays off. Glad this has a happy ending!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. God is patient with us, so it’s the gift He wants us to keep on giving! There are a lot of horror stories out there and the medical bill world probably generates more crazy spooky nightmares than anything else. Thank you for your compliments, Marla, but-truth be told-I’m not a saint! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I enjoyed this entire piece as someone with his share of customer service battles. (Okay, forgive me for laughing a couple of times.) I felt your pain, Nancy. Like you, I try not to take out my frustrations on the people operating as the middlemen that have no control over the situation. (Just who’s driving this bus, anyway?) The one thing that especially gets me fired is when people lie to my face. For example, we gave an entire day up waiting for our cable man to come and rectify a problem that I’m pretty sure he caused. Our phone service went out, and we had to wait ten days to have someone come out. After the worker left, the phone was working, but the Internet and the cable were not. (We bundle with the same provider.) He had only left five minutes before, and I tried to get him to come back. The problem, of course, is you can’t just call the local office. After I jumped through the hoops of calling on my cell (after all, our landline wasn’t working) and asking the guy to come back, I received this response—”two more weeks.” Are you kidding me?

    I was patient but told the phone representative I was unhappy. After staying on the line for ten more minutes, she changed it to a week. We gave up the entire day because the worker would be at our house between 8:00-4:00. As you probably guessed by now, he didn’t show. I called to complain, and she contacted the worker on the other line. He claimed he came to our house, but we weren’t home—an outright lie. This was not a misunderstanding. He made that up. Another guy came out a few days later and could tell that the previous worker hadn’t hooked things up correctly. He fixed everything and couldn’t have been nicer. Still feeling a bit miffed, I wanted to praise this worker to someone (I got his name) while pointing out how they had caused the problem. I couldn’t find any customer service number on their website, so I had to call the 1-800 number again for the (hmm, 12th time?) and ask for customer service. She got on and off the phone repeatedly with me and, after 15 minutes, came back with this message. “Uh, I’m sorry sir, but I don’t think we have one of those.” The entire thing was absurd.

    I enjoyed the story, Nancy. Sorry about the rant. Patience does usually triumph in the end.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Wow, Pete! It’s unbelievable what’s going on in the work world. Artificial Intelligence will likely take over for call center reps. I’d rather deal with flesh and blood bodies who are nice-even if it’s fake nice. I totally commiserate with your frustrating experience and found reading your rant cathartic! By the way, if you visit My Sports Archives on my webpage, you’ll see a photo of Cal Ripken, Jr. Thanks for sharing your story!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I don’t know if you and I were in touch in those days, but there was a blogger friend of mine (Jim Borden—a teacher at Villanova) who blogged until he broke Ripken’s game streak (2,632 games in a row.)

    Liked by 1 person

  5. You both made me smile and laugh, as well as gave me a stellar example of true patience and kindness to follow. I do love your humor, Nancy! So refreshing without being insulting. And pointing us to Christ all throughout.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. We went through similar purchasing kayaks, it was a nightmare yes I’m so sorry you went through that. We now use a credit card instead of a check as we once more had another experience, but had better faster results with our card company. Patience can pay off yes.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I agree. We now use a credit card instead of a check in most circumstances. We bought kayaks with a credit card after we were reimbursed for the electric bikes. I hope you’re enjoying yours kayaks!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I could not have been that patient. I guess this was all because you used a check instead of credit (because then you would have cx’d the credit card payment)?

    I’m throwing my checkbook away.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Yes, I likely would not have had any issues had I used a credit card. Complications arose because of Corporate’s oversight in not approving the reimbursement request. Apparently, the call center reps couldn’t communicate this information to me. We now use mostly credit card or cash, and no debit cards because they can be a problem, too. Thanks for visiting my blog and sharing your thoughts, Jacqui.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Maggie, for sharing your thoughts with me. I think that you would have to have a lot of patience when you’re waiting for a bus, or a train, or a plane as you travel around the world for your travel blog!


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