The random thoughts of an architect-turned- lawyer from the deep south living in Washington, DC...

Monday, January 24, 2005

Poor Amtrak Lady

Figured it's been a while since you got a glimpse into my workday, so here goes...

Background: Boss and co-worker are traveling from Philly to DC today via Amtrak on a train @ 2:12pm. I get a call at 2:10pm going something like this:

(Ring Ring)
JB: Law-rah, I'm going to need you to change the reservation.
ME: Sure thing, when would you like to come back?
JB: Sometime closer to 3. My confirmation # is blah blah and the phone number is blah.
ME: Consider it done.
(Hang Up)

(Ring Ring)
JB: Law-rah, please remember that we don't do reservations online, as we do not trust the internet. I need you to speak with a human.***
ME: Yes, JB, you gave me the phone number, I will dial it momentarily.
(Hang up)

(Ring Ring)
JB: Law-rah, not sure if I was clear, but it's sometime around 3 o'clock PM not AM.
ME: I figured that.
JB: Have you called yet?
ME: Nope, still on the phone with you.
JB: And don't forget, I don't travel regional. It can only be express, because those extra 11 minutes are crucial in my life!
ME: Sure thing.
(Hang up)

(Call Amtrak)
LADY: There's nothing around 3pm. There is a 3:30, but it is booked solid. How's 4:09?
ME: (making judgment call) That's fine - rebook the two tickets. (Pretty smart seeing as how they have already missed the 2:12)
(Contact JB and give him the low-down. I do this via Blackberry in an effort not to have to speak on the phone)

(Ring Ring)
JB: I got your blackberry, thanks.
(Hang Up)

(I recieve email from JB asking about 2:30 trains and I immediately get onto Amtrak.com. The Lady on the phone didn't mention any 2:30, but perhaps that human was wrong.)

(Ring Ring)
JB: Did you get my email?
ME: Yep, checking on it now.
JB: Wait, how are you checking with a human if you are on the phone with me?
ME: Um, uh, I left her on the other line...gotta go!
(Hang Up)

(Call Amtrak)

(Call his cell)
ME: There is nothing at 2:30. In fact, there is not an available seat until the 4:09 which I have booked you two on.
JB: I don't believe that. What about first class?
ME: They told me nothing available.
JB: Call back and ask about first class.
ME: (grinding my teeth) Okay
JB: Wait-I want to be on the 3:09 train!
ME: You mean 4:09?
JB: No, my friend sitting next to me right here has a seat on the 3:09 train. I want to be on that one! (Much like Veruca Salt whining about that golden egg.)
ME: JB, I have spoken with Amtrak twice now. The next available place for your ass besides a park bench is a seat the 4:09 train.
JB: You call them back and tell them I want on the 3:09 train. First class is fine.
(Hang Up)

(Blog a little out of fear that I will forget the absurdity of these conversations.)

(Call Amtrak)
ME: I realize that you just told me that there were no other trains in the 3 o'clock hour besides the 3:30 that is booked solid. However, I need you to check again.
LADY: Are you kidding me?
ME: You have no idea how much I wish I was. Is there a 3:09?
ME: No train 2113 at 3:09?
LADY: Only the one that was cancelled.
ME: Fabulous, leave them on the 4:09.
(Hang Up)

(Call JB cell-leave message with above info.)

(Ring Ring)
JB: I got your message.
ME: Great.
JB: Can you call Amtrak and upgrade us to first class?
ME: On the 4:09...right?
JB: Yes, I feel it may be crowded and don't want people touching me.
(JB then bursts into singing a song about 409 that I have never heard.)
(Hang Up)

It is now 2:25pm and the ringer has officially been turned off!

***great story for another time

UPDATE: Sneaky little JB. He called NB's direct line and asked him to transer it to me. He wanted to tell me that they got to the train station and I was right, the 3:09 had been cancelled. NO SHIT!