Over the weekend, I offered to help my MIL order a dress on Amazon with a gift card she had received. It was originally a $75 card but she thought she had probably spent half of it. She didn't have her laptop with her and didn't know her log-in credentials or account information but she did have the card. We probably should have stopped then but I tried to order the dress from my account, using the gift card, having the dress shipped to her. Of course it didn't work. I hadn't thought of it but the balance of the card was applied to her account - and, since we didn't know any of her account details, I was unsuccessful. We decided I'd call Amazon and find out how much was left on the card and order the dress by phone. But that turned out to be a quagmire. A QUAGMIRE.
I do a lot of business with Amazon. Sometimes I'm pleased with myself because I save money and often get things for free. But sometimes I remember that Amazon employees may not be treated nicely and that Amazon has (negatively) changed lots of businesses. I'm not ready to make a political statement by quitting Amazon...but anyway...I called customer service.
It is quite clear that Amazon customer service employees work very hard to resolve situations and problems. They are, or seem to be, committed to help. The problem is difficult to describe. Although they are speaking English they are often not comfortable with it and have a set group of phrases they repeat with urgency. Increase the stress in your voice and they will reassure you more frequently until they are not really dealing with solving the problem but only dealing with addressing your stress, if that makes sense.
So, the person I spoke with told me, a dozen times, that she would solve my problem and that it would just take a few minutes.
When she didn't have a solution (she had no record of the gift card) she fervently apologized and offered to speak to her supervisor and call me back. I explained that I wasn't at home and would accept the information she had and try again later. I hung up and my MIL said she'd order the dress from her laptop another time.
Moments later, the phone rang and my helpful and now somewhat distressed customer service associate offered to let me hold whilst she spoke to her manager. I was patient and calm and said no and that I wanted to leave it for another time.
Yesterday, I got an email from Amazon asking if they had solved my problem and, rather than bullshit them to end it, I checked the NO box. I wrote a very short description of what went wrong which basically amounted to an uber helpful associate but no solution. I had no intention of getting the associate in trouble.
(The real answer the associate was not equipped to give because it was not on her script of responses - was that the balance of the gift card was tied to my MIL's account and I could not gain access to it without logging in as her.)
A couple of hours later I got a seven paragraph email from Amazon Customer Service with profuse apologies for my inconvenience. Super profuse apologies. So many apologies. (It's difficult to be aggravated by people who apologize so much, isn't it?) To make amends, they credited my account with the $35.00 I thought might have remained on the gift card which was never mine in the first place.
Meanwhile, my 15 year-old nephew sat at my MIL's laptop and ordered her the dress using the gift card.
It took him about two minutes.