When we were in China a few months ago – we were faced with a situation while trying to purchase tickets. After flying/sleeping in airports/traveling about for the past … day (??) we finally met up with David and Amanda in this foreign Chinese land. Our first stop was the attempt to get tickets. If something could go wrong it did. It took atleast 20 minutes, and numerous trips across the street to finally secure 5 of the cheapest tickets they sold. Crossing streets is no easy feat – you must cross one lane first, and stand, stranded in the middle of the road while cars drive by on every side, before you can cross the other lane. Its nerve racking, but at the end of our ticket buying stunt – we were professional street crossers.
With five peoples luggage – we were up and down the street atleast five times. Blocked cards. Insignificant funds, Chinese symbols blinking at us. Chinese speaking help. The troubles were endless, and to top it all off we had to run, literally, hauling 7 bags behind us, to catch our train.
It was after the 36 hour train ride – ½ of which was done without A/C, a noodle cart, water floods, and a hole in the ground for a toilet – we were able to laugh about it weeks later, but at the time it was traumatic for some of us. Others faired just fine. Amanda and I made a pact that day that the next time we were faced with a situation – where every.single.attempt was BLOCKED by a mountain for a road block, that maybe we would stop and think about it first. But we are up for an adventure, and it wasn’t days later that we were at it again. Something about those “Road blocks” don’t stop us, but push us along as if we are being taunted by them. They seem to be saying “HA! You cant do this!” and we seem to be saying “OH YES WE CAN!” Only to later find out that, well, maybe that wasn’t such a good idea, but at the time it seemed like a great idea because we were too busy being taunted by an imaginary idea to stop and weigh the facts.
“How come dumb stuff seems so smart while you’re doing it.”
That quote seems to almost sum up our lives. To some it may seem we are constantly striving to do the dumbest things ever, or as if we are setting out to find the most complicated route available.
Since Amanda has been gone, I have been at it alone – may it never be said that stupid stuff has seized since she has left! Wait. That might not be a good thing!!
On to today:
We have been trying to get mom a ticket to go see Amanda for the past….three months now. About three months ago, we purchased “Cheap” tickets from our town to LA. In hopes that we could score some cheap tickets across to England. A few days ago I found what I thought to be “The perfect ticket” and I should have known by how easy things were going, that something was wrong. It wasn’t until AFTER I hit “Purchase” did I realize my grave mistake. The times would not match up with our connecting flight that we had purchased months earlier!
A quick look into things confirmed that things were looking worse than ever. The money had been taken out immediately, and the only form of contact was via email. I quickly sent an email asking for the transaction to be canceled and the money refunded. That was Thursday.
Today I started to panic just a little, because mom is suppose to leave here on Friday – and yet still doesn’t have her connecting flight.
I have spent hours, researching this:
Mom flies over this day – dad and I fly over this day – mom and dad fly back together, on this day. Since we already have our tickets out of town to LA – we just need tickets from LA to London. And back again. Sounds simple enough, until you calculate in the fact that planes don’t just leave London every five minutes. They leave once a day it seems, and if we wanted to use the ticket we already had, this wasn’t going to work. We would arrive back in LA, hours after our “Flight” had left for home. Don’t worry if that doesn’t make sense, it took me six days to understand this.
All that is to say – today. I needed to get this ticket. Oh, and did I mention we didn’t want to pay an arm and leg?
Finally, after hours of research I had found the ticket we were all dreaming of. And after talking about it (and the session timing out three times) I finally worked up enough guts to purchase it. Which is when things went downhill. The card wouldn’t work. Please call this number. “Atleast” I thought “They HAVE a number!” I dialed. Some poor man answered. I explained my situation. He listened and then told me he would have to enter it all in and order it over the phone.
I could have slammed my head into the desk right then and there. But it got better. After he found the right flight OVER it was time to discuss the return ticket. Because of our previous bought tickets – mom and dad would have to leave London the day before their connecting flight. This REALLY gets confusing when you toss in time changes! I tried explaining this to the poor man, who listened in silence and then told me there WAS a more…convenient route. Just leave the day I was trying to get in, and spend less time in the airports! This would work – except that we had the connecting flight to make, and mom and dad would rather spend a few extra hours with Amanda instead of in some airport somewhere. So please, if you will, just book the (blank blank blank blank) ticket for me, k?
This went on for a few minutes before he finally agreed to see it my way. But did I know I was going to be getting into LA the DAY AFTER our connecting flight left? Didn’t I know that this route would take THREE DAYS to get home? I told him I would look into it and would call him back, he gave me his personal line, name, and number. I hung up without taking any of the information. Ten minutes of my life I will never get back.
After looking into this bogus information I came to the conclusion that, A) he was wrong and B) I was right. And C? I was NOT calling HIM back. I got all my information back together, and attempted to REPURCHASE the ticket. Fail. Dial number. Rinse. Lather. Repeat. Except this time, the poor soul answered the phone, and immediately asked for my credit card number. I questioned him, and he again informed me this is the information he needed. I gave in. He looked. And amazingly, SOMEHOW, found the reservation. But! Because the travelers name (my mom) was different than the name on the credit card (me!) and there were not seven days prior to departure – he could not book this ticket.
I. Am. Serious.
After him telling me a few more useless pieces of information, and driving me to tears over the fact that “Your card might have already been charged even though we cant charge it because of the above mentioned, and oh by the way, you are screwed out of another 800 dollars” I hung up and cried. Because what else could I do? Then I said a few words, pulled myself up, and rechecked all my information. By this time, the ticket session had expired another six times.
It wasn’t until something the second man had said tumbled through my mind did I get an idea. “You might” he offered “Check with your bank.” With steam pouring from my ears I dialed the number and logged onto our bank. Just as I got through to another poor soul, I realized something – I was $40 short in my account. The money had been transferred to a DIFFERENT account (hello joint banking) and wouldn’t go through because of this! Duh! “Hello Miss, may I help you?” came the voice on the other end of the phone. I smiled, and hung up without a simple good bye. I simply could not be bothered. After transferring another $40 I REENTERED ALL THE INFORMATION for the thirtieth time, hit purchase – and success.
Now, my friends, I am worried.
Am I about to send mom on another 34 hour train ride through China?
Thankfully, she is the ONLY one who thrived on that train ride – I have no doubt she will be A OK on this trip too.
Also? I don’t know why I bother enlisting in the help of “Customer Service” when I can solve 99% of the problems on my own.