A Tale of Two Cities

This entry started out as a long-winded explanation of how I invoked the REPORT BAD SERVICE TO SAVE FUTURE VICTIMS exception to the “not complaining” rule.  But then a man named Gabriel B and his little dogs reminded me that for every outright abuser, a nice guy awaits to offset the negativity.

Let me explain.

On a recent visit to my son in Chicago, I wanted to ship some items to myself in California, the last of the personal belongings which I desired to add to my tiny life.  My son hauled the lot into a UPS store in Andersonville, and left me in the seemingly capable hands of a clerk so he could run a few other errands.  A half-hour later, I staggered from the store in tears,   The clerk had changed pricing, back-tracked, stumbled through a variety of maneuvers from ignorance or insolence, and generally treated me as dispensable or inconvenient.  When I decided to retreat and regroup, he refused to help me get my burdens through the heavy door.  Eventually, I shamed him into coming forward, but he didn’t pay attention and pushed the door open as I leaned against it.  A precious memento of my son’s childhood shattered on the sidewalk.

I ruminated over the event for a week.  The desire to save other souls from a similar experience bumped against my dedication to stifling complaint.  Was this ‘small stuff’ that I should refuse to sweat?  Should I instead castigate myself for letting the dish which Patrick made in kindergarten lie in a storage unit for months, and then for carrying it unprotected into the UPS facility?  Or should I report the experience and urge UPS to train the staff, so that the next middle-aged disabled person needing help will not suffer?

Eventually, I chose the last approach. But after two weeks of back-and-forth emails with a very strange supposed-manager claiming to work at the only UPS headquarters in America, I got nowhere.  They either did not care, or did not believe me, or both.  I stewed in my juices for a day or two.  With no true contractual relationship, and senior management evidently unconcerned, what impact could I have?

Ahhhh.  Of course.  Yelp.

I got online, wrote a review, and sat back in satisfaction.  I had worded the review as crisply as possible, without undue sentiment.  I channeled Joe Friday:  “Just the facts.”  I hit “post”, and felt that I had done something potentially helpful to other  unsuspecting victims.  I’d steer them away from UPS, and they’d never know the confusion, loss, and frustration that I had experienced.  They wouldn’t have to dialogue with “Monic” (probably not her real name) who couldn’t care less and didn’t even pretend.

An hour later, I heard from Gabriel B, owner of the UPS store regarding which I had posted the review.  He was horrified.  He expressed the somewhat misguided belief that UPS management would take my complaint seriously, which they did not, but he also authoritatively confirmed that I had reviewed the wrong store.  Apparently, there are two UPS facilities on N. Clark in Andersonville.

But Gabriel B. did not stop with those thoughts.  He assured me that he lamented what happened to me.  He said,  “We at UPS on Clark at 5655 N Clark, Andersonville Chicago are appalled at the situation you describe in your review. We are sadden to read about your ordeal at a location that attracts customers as a UPS representative.”

Oh. My. Gosh.  Gabriel B!  That is exactly what I longed to hear!

So now, my friends — and especially my son and anyone who lives on the north side of Chicago, please, for my sake — If you need to ship something, I urge you to go visit Gabriel B and his two little dogs at the UPS at 5655 N. Clark.  When you get there, I would like you to make it known that, sadly, my reluctance to patronize UPS in the future continues.  However, I can say without hesitation that on my very next visit to my son, I intend to come to Gabriel B’s establishment, shake his hand, and ship the items that currently sit in a closet at my son’s home in Roger’s Park.  (Except, sadly, the little dish he made in kindergarten.)

Behind the grimy soot of each bleak city, a Gabriel B awaits with two cheerful pups.   He cares about your impression of his company and his city, and he apparently intends to insure that you feel well-received and valued.

That San Diego UPS account executive owes Gabriel B. a tremendous favor.  I intend to send her this link and suggest that she make good.

It’s the ninth day of the fifty-ninth month of My Year Without Complaining.  Life continues.

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