Sunday, October 24, 2010

What It Costs for a Purse to Go Missing

SUMMARY: Plus a rude ending.
Note: I revised this text about 90 minutes after first posting it; changes are in red.
Hours used--all spent on this instead of calling stucco companies before the rain starts to get my house's stucco repaired. This did not happen. Not happy about that. It has now been raining for a day and there is water in my wall. But I figured that was the lower priority to having my finances in shambles.

(Edited text--) So, after I called Cold Stone Creamery first thing Wednesday morning after I realized that it was missing (and had been since Saturday) and emphasizing that I'd really like to know whether they found my purse, and they called me back to say it definitely wasn't there, making me very sad indeed, here's what that "sorry, it's not here" triggered:

Time spent:
  • Checking all my bank and credit card accounts and phone account to be sure that  no one had been using my money: 1 hr
  • Calling the mall, the campbell police, the friend who was with me when the purse vanished to see whether she remembered whether I took it to the car, my sister (2 calls) to see whether I had left it in their car: 1 hr
  • Searching high and low everywhere in the house and the garage obsessively, convinced that if wasn't at Cold Stone, it had to be here: 2 hrs
  • Days taken off work basically without pay (very expensive and I have a deadline that I'm now working this weekend to make up for): 1 hr
  • Try to set up an appointment at the DMV and failing because the next one isn't until Nov 17, driivng to the DMV, waiting in line, filling out the paperwork, waiting for over half an hour until they could fit me in: 1.5 hours
  • (Edited text--)Calling the bank and getting things suspended, going through 3 months of checking account statements (that's maybe 120 checks) to try to figure out whether there are any outstanding checks and remember to whom they were written and for how much, contact those people and send them replacement checks, drive to bank and time spent closing the accounts, opening new ones, getting the online account set up, ordering new checks: 5 hrs
  • Calling AT&T to suspend my cell phone account, reading up on cell phones, checking out cell phones and prices at 3 different stores, buying a new one, reading the instructions,  assembling the phone, half an hour on the phone with AT&T to get the account transferred to the new phone: 3 hrs
  • (New text--)Contacting my company about changing where my autodeposit goes, filling out the form, making a special trip to the post office to mail it because the deadline for this pay period is early next week: .5 hours.
  • Driving to mall, searching for purse that I like (no success) and for a wallet that I like (success),  assembling things (what little I have) into the wallet: 1.5 hours.
  • Looking up phone numbers or email addresses and contacting six different credit card companies, AAA, Red Cross, Kaiser, three dog agility associations, Costco, and REI--often through long an annoying automated phone systems: 3 hrs
  • Going through all my old paperwork to make sure I have the latest information on credit cards and other accounts and the account numbers, etc: 4 hours, maybe more.
  • Time spent finding old receipts and emailing and talking to Camera Cinemas because my discount prepaid admission card was in my wallet (no luck so far; they were going to look into it some more).
Money spent:
  • Well, there's the day off, which was pretty expensive.
  • Tossed $50 worth of checks that I had just recently ordered and bought new ones with overnight delivery: $70.
  • Replacement drivers license: $25.
  • New cell phone, new earpiece, new connector for the auto charger: $45
  • New wallet: $20
  • ...
Time other people spent:
  • My sister and her husband, calling each other and checking their car.
  • Campbell police person talking to me.
  • (Edited text--)All the people at all those other companies, answering my questions and dealing with my accounts and so on. They all get paid for their time--really, this thing rolls into quite widespread financial impact, doesn't it!
  • Camera theaters calling me back twice, getting the authority to look up financial transactions, trying to track down my specific discount card. 
  • (New text--)The office admin at my company, reading my email, finding me the form & getting it to me, making sure the paperwork is done to change my account.
Things I still need to do:(Edited list--)
  • Shred 2 boxes of checks, since that account no longer exists (maybe it's not strictly necessary, but rather be safe than sorry)
  • Figure out everything that is tied into my checking account or credit card, contact those places, and change them to the new accounts. Paypal, my web hosting site, my photo site, my domain name auto-renewal sites, my phone account auto-renewal... what else?
Other things I've been feeling sad about losing all week:
Purse
wallet
camera
cell phone
cash (maybe $20-30)
theater tickets bought at discounts (maybe $70 worth)
gift card to book store
cross pen and pencil set
I dunno, a bunch of stuff

...Oh, wait. Who's calling me at 6 on a Sunday evening?

Well, hmm, it's Cold Stone Creamery! The guy was looking for something else and happened upon my purse, which someone had put in some odd place and hadn't bothered trying to contact me or tell anyone else, and if it wasn't the people who worked there last Saturday (whom the guy said he contacted), who was it and why didn't they do so?

(Basically all new text through the end--)
Can you say mixed feelings? I am VERY happy to get all my stuff back, very happy indeed! The camera, yowza! The wallet--that was custom from an art & wine festival leather worker, maybe 15 years ago and is still in great condition and is the perfect wallet for me, perfect! and (a) I'm not in a financial place to replace that right now, even if (b) I could find the info on who that was.  The cross pen & pencil set--has been with me for a long time, I'm thinking uhhhh, jeez, almost 25 years, actually replaced a set that was a gift that got left on an airplane in the mid-'80s. All those membership cards and things that I don't have to track down and replace now! And the money! And the movie tickets! And the gift certificate! And the purse that I pretty much like and don't have to spend another year finding another one to replace it!

Aaaaaaand not to mention the peace of mind that I'm not going to suddenly discover that my identity has been stolen.

Well, too late to return the cell phone--I've set up my account with the new sim card in the new phone, and I think I like it better than the old one anyway, and it really wasn't too expensive. I just pulled all the bits of paper that came with the wallet out of the paper recycling and I can return that tomorrow--it's none the worse for wear after 2 days.

I'm going to have to try calling the DMV to see what's next--it's illegal to own 2 drivers licenses, turns out. I doubt I'll get my $25 back, though.

I still have to do the things listed above, since all my accounts have been changed.

So, yes, I'm happy, and grateful that Cold Stone has honest employees.

And yet--well--all these many, many hours of my own and others, and spent money, could have been prevented on Tuesday morning when I called.  (Yeah, I know, if only I hadn't left it there in the first place. I deserved the frantic day of trying to figure out where it was and fearing the worst. But, really--my phone number was on my checks and on my business cards at the very least; it would've been so easy for someone to contact me if they wanted to that I had to assume that someone with ill intent had taken it after all.)

Eventually continued here: DMV Service is--Um--Improving?

Related post: Month of Losing Dangerously

10 comments:

  1. Aaaaaaarrrrgggghhhhh! *I'm* frustrated and it's not even my purse!
    However, because you shared this story, I will be sure to interview each employee before I assume anything. So, not a complete waste of time?

    ReplyDelete
  2. Wow, nice to get your pruse back but what a pain in the neck that was. ugh! Diana

    ReplyDelete
  3. Majorly-expensive, time-sucking exercise, but I'm SO glad that you got everything back and don't have to have lingering worries about theft, identity or otherwise.

    I have thoughts about why things went down at Cold Stone the way they did, but we can yammer about that on our next Walkies. Not sure that the problem could be fixed other than making sure to (as mentioned above) interview each and every employee who was on duty at the time it went missing.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Yes, I and everyone else has thoughts about what went down at cold stone; hindsight is SO useful. As in, had I actually gone down there and stood there and insisted that they tear the place apart looking, just in case someone put it somewhere odd, I'd have probably gotten it back. As someone else said--they're young, they're probably paid minimum wage, they probably didn't really care that much and probably had no clue what was really involved if the purse wasn't found. And I believed them when they said they'd contacted everyone who worked that day and no one had seen it. I suppose maybe it sat there overnight and it wasn't until the next day that someone noticed it so they were talking to the wrong people. Or they might have blown me off. Ah, well, that's done.

    ReplyDelete
  5. So here's the question: SHould I send a copy of this post to Cold Stone and ask them to share it with all their employees in case this ever happens again?

    ReplyDelete
  6. yes

    your sister Ann

    ReplyDelete
  7. I think this sort of behavior in customer service that you have faced is not isolated. Lack of communication and initiative is rampant. One hand doesn't talk to the other, and one hand doesn't care about the other because there is no motivation for the individual to go above and beyond. There are occasional shining stars and I try to make a point to contact their boss or corporate office to rave about someone exceptional because it is so rare. Driving on the Florida Turnpike to an agility trial on Saturday morning, I was behind an ALL STATE Safety Vehicle. It looked like a tow truck patrol vehicle and it was swerving in the lane. I stepped on it to pass, and saw the driver was texting! IMHO, Clicker training needs to be brought into business. There is a disconnect between tasks and rewards, and I'm sorry you had to suffer through such a frustrating experience like this.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Hmm, I wonder what my clients would think if I started showing up to meetings with a clicker and clicked and tossed a quarter every time they said something useful or acted in a responsible manner?

    ReplyDelete
  9. oh definitely clicker training in meetings! :)

    And yes, send the post to ColdStone Management, wherever that is!

    ReplyDelete
  10. Oh wow. Crap. Yay. Crap. Yay. I can't decide! At least the mystery (well, part of it, anyway) is solved.

    ReplyDelete