I had a huge list of things that needed to happen today – simultaneously – all of which involved long phone calls (mostly listening to horrible music that I am sure is secretly meant to just piss me off, not soothe my growing fury at still being on hold) and then trying to calmly help the person on the other end of the line be creative in solving our problem so we all walk away as better people.

Let me be clear, working the phones is a seriously crappy job. I’ve done it, and it was awful having people cry and scream and threaten your mother because you have access to virtually no information and even less ability to create change. There is very little intrinsic reward – outside of hopefully a steady paycheck, decent benefits, and fun coworkers – for working a call center.

And because of that, I try to always start my call with a genuine hello, learn their name, and ask how their day is (and really mean it). And then we start with our business. I am also trying to be conscious that when it is the 2nd or 3rd or 7th person I have been connected to, or had to call back to get to, my patience is thin and I have very little capacity for grace. So, I warn the person on the other end. “Look, you are going to hear frustration in my voice, and I apologize. It is not directed at you. It is because I have spent the last xx minutes/hours/days trying to resolve this particular issue and you are the xx person I’ve spoken to.”

At least, they have been warned.

Today, however, everyone was saved from that fate, because I got absolutely nothing done on the list of things that had to get done. URGENTLY. TODAY.

I’m talking lawyers, primary care doctors, pharmacies, psychiatrists (two, actually), insurance companies (health and auto), my CPA, the local tax office, the VA, the DMV, and the FBI (you can’t make this shit up, I promise).


Instead, after having a series of difficult emotionally charged conversations with critical people in my world, finding out a person in my inner circle (who I would literally die to protect) has been quarantined for potential COVID symptoms (which while medically necessary may be incredibly emotionally damaging to them long-term), realizing I can’t get to that person or talk to that person so all I can do is try to not freak out about a situation I have zero control over, my grocery delivery went missing.

Yes, talk about first world problems, I know. I do hear myself.

I figured out a month or so ago that if I could pay for an entire year of grocery delivery service all at once, it came down to about $8/month for unlimited deliveries. If I can reduce my exposure to COVID even a tiny bit, I’m all in. And, the added perk is that I get to tip the driver and it all goes straight to them. So, I can tip extra, they have zero contact (which means their risk is also reduced), and all is right and good in the world.

Except, when it isn’t.

My groceries (which dinner was going to based on), were supposed to be here by 3. At 3:30 I started getting a series of emails saying 3:45, 4:00. 5:00… about 6 I started hitting the “track order” button on the app and it said the driver was 15 minutes away, with my groceries. It even told me what kind of car to look for. It said that for over an hour. At 7:15 I started calling customer service. After having to wait on hold for almost a total of 30 minutes (2 different people), they told me the driver had picked up the order, drove away, cancelled the delivery, and took my groceries. And, by the way, the store’s system could see all of this, but they don’t have a mechanism to notify the customer that the grocery order no longer exists and is now being eaten by someone else.


I have lots of voices in my head at this point. Lots of pretty good reasons to be pissed off about my missing chicken and reflectors (don’t ask, but it might involve an unfortunate moment with my new neighbor’s mailbox in the dark that I am trying to avoid in the future)…..

the first person who put me on hold for over 15 minutes so I had to hang up and start over…

the jacked-up system that can’t figure out how to notify people their stuff has been stolen…

the rules that won’t allow me to talk to the store because it is after 8pm my time and those are the rules so I can’t begin to resolve this until tomorrow morning at 8am…

the fact that even though I’ve paid for the order, there is no guarantee I will get it tomorrow or if they will just refund my order and I have to get back in line to have it brought to me…

or, the obvious choice, the driver that stole my food (once I confirmed they had picked up my groceries, driven away, and then cancelled the delivery I stopped being worried if something had happened to them between the store and my front porch. Even the call center person, who was very kind, said they stole my groceries).

The irony is I am blessed to be in a place in my life where I would have given them my groceries if I had known they needed them so badly they would steal them, which means they are now out of a job. I hear that voice in my head recognizing what place they must be in their life where this was their best choice.

Given all the other options, losing their job for one grocery order was the best they could do with what they had.

Talk about a reality check.

Yes, today was hard and frustrating and disappointing and scary… for honestly really good reasons. And, my kids and I are safe, my inner circle is intact, and the quarantine will end.

And, as far as I can tell, the FBI answers their phones on Tuesdays as well.

Be safe in the crazy, friends!

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