It’s been one of those weeks. For the last several weeks. I’ve been anxious to get back to Tybee to see my friends, walk with my dogs, have many, many awesome meals and to see all the activity going on at Mermaid Cottages. There are new cottages joining their already fantastic collection of homes and I want to be there to experience them first hand. Each cottage and home in the Mermaid Cottages collection has a content and a character that is unique and honorable and representative of what’s best in this life.
Yet. I have been delayed. My journey has hit some bumps and snags. The content and character of some situations have left me dumbfounded. Bewitched, bothered and bewildered as the old song goes.
As you may remember from an earlier blog, on Christmas night a lady decided to turn her Volvo into a snow plow and demolished our little red convertible. Thus, our saga begins. Our insurance company was also her insurance company, so what were they to do? There was no other insurance company to go after to recoup our losses and no chance for said insurer to profit in this catastrophe. Initially, this mutual insurer refused to declare our car a total loss even though it had substantial frame damage. The adjusters claimed it could be fixed good as new if we would only agree to take it to a repair shop of their choice where they would only use the finest non-specific, no brand name, non manufacturer recommended replacement parts. UGH!
Once we finally won the right to have our battered car inspected by a collision specialist professional who summarily prescribed a “modest” repair estimate of over $20,000, we were informed we would be receiving a settlement that as of the writing of this blog is still in mediation. Their people are talking to our people. Well, you know how long that could take. And mind you, once the insurer begrudgingly totaled our car they stopped paying for our rental car.
It was time to go car shopping. Everyone loves a new car, right? We sat down and began adding up our available resources. We would have to go ahead and purchase a new car while we simultaneously battled our insurer over the replacement cost of our wrecked one. I began checking my bank accounts and noticed something was amiss. Even through I religiously schedule advance online payments to any open credit account I have, there was a note on two credit cards at one mega bank that said PAST DUE. WHAT??????
I called the customer service number, patiently waited the requisite 40+ minutes for a live person to join me for a conversation only to get this response. “We are sorry to inform you that we now have 28 million online banking customers, so sometimes mistakes happen. You are correct in that you did properly schedule advance payment on your card balances, but we recently went through a substantial system upgrade to better serve you, our valued customer, and it resulted in the loss of pre-scheduled payments entered by you and many other of our customers.” WHAT????? I queried, ” So, in the interim, even though you folks knew this had happened you did not notify me or any other customer AND you charged me and everyone else late charges AND someone had the free time to construct this inane response just in case some sucker like me caught the errors and called to ask about them?” “Yep”, was the meek reply. “You are correct. I will reverse the late charges and make the corrections to your account, but you’ll need to continue to watch your account in case it happens again while we continue with our upgrades to serve you better.” WHAT?????
Next, we sat down and did our research and decided we wanted to be good Americans and invest our hard earned money in an American auto in support of “Made in the USA” and an American car company, or so we thought. Time after time we looked in shocked dismay at the cost of American cars and the information posted on the window stickers: Engine-Mexico; Transmission-France; Final Assembly Point-Canada. Hmmm.
Well, at this point some changes have occurred. We’ve been pleasantly surprised at the coverage and treatment we now have at our new insurer’s office and are pondering what we might do with the substantial savings we’ll now have from their lower premiums and higher converages. We’ve already been approved for a much lower interest rate at our local, community credit union where we’ve moved our accounts as the representatives at our mega bank continued to declare to us how much they were doing to better serve us. And, we finally found a new car that impressed us with its national pride, regard for quality and customer service and consistency of value; motor-Japan; transmission-Japan; final assembly point-Japan.
I’ll be headed back to Tybee soon. I’ll finally get to visit my favorite haunts and experience the new cottages:
and meet the newest Mermaid, Sophie, a black lab Rescue.
BUT, after these recent experiences I am giving fair warning for my behavior:
It’s about content and character. It’s about knowing you and I have a choice. It’s about feeling good about trusting your judgement. It’s about not carrying the burden when others don’t live up to basic expectations.
It’s about getting Tybee-ized when you need it. It’s COTTAGE CHEESE!