Monday, October 16, 2006

I think the space cadet just lost a $35k account because she was negligent in calling a customer back. And yesterday I spoke to two executives in a large company that had a large account with us and who were pissed at their sales rep and account manager - they were ready to pull their account (and they may have). But, and this is why I loved them, they were very nice and polite to me - see, they recognized that it was not MY fault, I just answer the phones.

Ouch, that was the second client today that had an order declined. Um what's the most diplomatic way to say you're a deadbeat?

More from MS (a long story today):
So yesterday, Sead calls in a fraudulent permit. That's the granddaddy of all parking problems. The University Police have to be called, the permit must be confiscated, and the car is immediately towed. There's a nice $500 fine given to the owner, who has to pay an additional $100 to get his or her car from our friends at Harmann's Towing. Being fraudulent is bad - and expensive.

I was with a customer at the window when Sead made the report on the radio. Lisa and Pete were gone, Stephanie was on the phone with her realtor. So I told Sead to stand by - I could tell he was very excited by this discovery, as he responded with a very discouraged "That's clear." I was trying to hurry along my customer; he wanted to argue about some tickets and I was in no mood. He settled for a print-out of each individual ticket, of which there were five, so the printer calibrated for what seemed like an eternity and finally spit out his tickets, then I handed them over to Mr. I-Don't-Want-to-Pay just in time to hear Sead say, "Cancel the tow truck, the owner is here." Since I never called the tow truck to begin with, I took no further action and proceeded with my work.

A little later, a tragic-looking student came walking up to the window with a ticket in her hand. She was all red-faced and teary-eyed. I was sitting at my desk and Stephanie was standing at the window (as we were having a very interesting discussion about macaroni salad), so Stephanie was the lucky person who got to service this customer as I sat back and enjoyed the show.

The girl very meekly asked first about the only-ticket policy - at this point we didn't know she was the fraudulent permit maker - and Stephanie asked to see the ticket. "Well, this is for a fraudulent daily," said Stephanie, "and there's nothing we can do about that." The whole speech is pretty much the same for people like this - you can try to appeal the ticket, the committee, the decision, the chances, worth a shot, blah, blah, blah - and Stephanie gave it to her, with vigor. As she continued to speak, I watched this girl's face go from hope to fear to distress to complete horror. She didn't break down, not yet. It was after Stephanie completed her informational speech and said to the silent customer, "You have perfect eyebrows." This is when the girl completely lost her composure and started sobbing.

Why Stephanie said this, I have no idea. Perhaps if this ticket would have been for "No Permit," or "Overtime Parking at a Meter," I could have understood (or at least justified) this comment about said customer's facial hair. But this was the big one, the $500 fine, and that comment was grossly inappropriate, and the timing was even less appropriate.

Stephanie asked this girl not to cry, as her crying would make Stephanie cry and would cause her makeup to run. Again, inappropriate much?

Anyway, this girl tries to bargain with Stephanie, asking if some alternate form of punishment can be arranged, asking how this fine will affect her records at Wash U., etc., and decides to start filling out the appeal form, as that was really her only option. I was kind of feeling sorry for the girl. That is, until Sead walked in with all the paperwork, including the fraudulent daily permit in question.

It was exquisite. To the untrained eye, it looked completely legitimate. Stephanie asked Sead, "Why is this fraudulent?" because she could not see the tampering. Sead coolly replied, "Touch it."

You're aware of what the daily permits look like, with the month, date and year to scratch off, lottery-ticket style. She had scratched off the month of October and the year 2006, and the 12th was also scratched off, as she was displaying this permit yesterday. But, she had used this daily on the 4th, 9th and 10th of the month as well, because she had very intricately cut those numbers from another daily permit and glued them over the ones that were already scratched off.

It was a very nice job, the cutting and pasting were impressive, but as Sead said proudly, it was the 4th that allowed him to find her out. She got just a little careless when cutting out the four, and ended up making a straight cut at the top of the circle, so just a tiny bit of the yellow from the scratched-off 4 underneath was showing through.

I imagined her sitting at home, carrying out this evil deed with glee, perhaps showing her friends the fine handiwork, hanging it from the rearview mirror and walking around the car as though she were a ticket monitor, thinking that she had beaten the system. I was really kind of impressed. It takes moxie to be so diabolical, and then walk in to your accuser's domain asking for mercy, and even sympathy!

This alone would have made yesterday very entertaining. But there was icing on this cake, made clear when her appeal form was completed. This girl is a law student. Ha! It's always a law student. Not only can I solidify my theory that all law students are the lowest forms of life on earth (or at least in the University community), but also - this girl is fucked, man.

Sparks, you may know about this better than me since you have questionable life goals, but I have had to deal with law students before - apparently before they can pass the bar, they have to stand before God and explain every little transgression in their entire life history. This summer, I spent a whole afternoon printing off parking tickets some guy received in 2003 because he was trying to pass the bar. They were minor offenses, and there were a lot of them, but they were all paid within a few days and none of them had the word "fraudulent" in the violation. He was a complete maniac about this and had to be assured several times that the dates he received and paid the tickets would be clearly visible on the print-out.

I guess it's an ethics thing? No wonder this girl was so upset, and was so very worried about what her record would say about the day's events.

Okay, but wait - it gets even better. The Appeals Committee is very secret and very special - no mere human may enter their chambers or even know their true identities. This is why all appeals must be submitted in writing. However, since the fine for a fraudulent permit is so massive, an exception is made for those who receive this citation - they may plead their case in person.

This girl was interested in begging for mercy from the Appeals Committee, which is meeting today. I, of course, being completely powerless, had to ask the boss if this was feasible. I was told this girl could have five minutes to present her case, and no more. But apparently the AC is a stone-cold entity, as Lisa said there was no way they would reverse her fine. It was agreed that she could speak to the committee, but it seemed as though she would serve as the meeting's entertainment.

It was a big deal - I was told to inform all the committee members that a student would be present for the first five minutes of the meeting, and that if any of them did not wish to hear her comments for safety or security purposes, to please arrive for the 12:00 meeting no earlier than 12:10.

Right before the office closed yesterday, our offender called to say she had reconsidered and did not wish to speak at today's meeting, but would like to speak at next month's meeting.

When I told Lisa about this, she first looked aggravated, but then her face relaxed into a smile. "This is really going to be terrible for her," she said, and I nodded in agreement, thinking that she meant that her dreams of being a lawyer could be compromised by this daily permit fiasco. "I don't think she would want to address the Appeals Committee so badly if she knew that one of the members is the Associate Dean of the Law School."

That is true classic parking comedy.

One more thing - daily permits are $5 each. She spent $10 to purchase two (one for the cutting, one for the pasting) and ended up using it a total of four days before being caught on the fourth day. Her fraudulent permit saved her a total of $10.

Just to drive home the point I'm making: now she owes $500, which is $120 more than the cost of an annual permit.

(Editors Note: MS and I have decided that the chance that she could get in trouble for naming names in her guest blogging is slim - therefore, I've left the names intact.)

Its a good thing that MS posted today because it has been really fucking busy here. Friday's are not supposed to be like this, and I don't like it.


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