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July 10, 2008

Sprint customer service rep, can I have a $50 credit?

July 10: Day 10.


Paris tea update today! But first, today's ask:

Sprint has owed me $50 since I switched to them from T-Mobile last November. I signed up online using a promo code, which I verbally confirmed with a customer service rep as I typed it in and clicked to become a member. I was promised a $25 credit one each of my first two bills. Well, the money never appeared, and after a few attempts at bringing it up, I was ready to write it off.

According to the forums I read, the promo codes are applied haphazardly at best. Especially for people with my type of plan.

But today, motivated by this experiment, I decided to claim my credit.

I called and reached a guy who was completely uncooperative, saying there was no code listed in my file. He also said I already had a credit, for $100. But that was for the handset. Totally different. I wanted the monthly service credit I was promised when I switched over.

I hung up and called again. This time, I reached Diane.

I made my case, I asked her about Indianapolis and if she's having a nice day, and basically I tried to be as sweet and patient as possible. It took about half an hour, but eventually she took me off hold and announced, "Well, I want to let you know that I did credit you $50." I love that "did," calm and emphatic and cozily midwestern, confirming what should have been confirmed long ago.

So I didn't actually "earn" $50, but I did get the money that was owed to me. And that's more than so many people get.

Gained: $50.

And the second coup:

E, my friend living in paris, quickly replied to my query yesterday asking for my favorite tea.

Her answer:
as for your craving...i've never tried the caramel tea at MF but i can send you some, for sure. i work near galleries lafayette and they have a MF counter in the home store. i can easily send you 200 or so grams in the mail. i know this is gross, but i am currently obsessed with pull-n-peel twizzlers (cherry flavor) and my stash is dwindling. so i may ask for a package from california.
Voilà! A quid pro quo. The basis of many a fair exchange. (And don't fret, E, there's no "gross" when it comes to expat obsessions. I was desperate for Lowry's taco seasoning [I know, WTF!?] in Rome, so I can totally relate.)

Gained: 200 grams of intoxicating MF tea. Merci, E!


Lesson 1: If you don't get the right customer service rep, get off the phone and try again. The results depend on who you encounter, their mood, their know how. So

Lesson 2: Be nice. I sincerely think that my being sweet and human made Diane want to help me, instead of want to get off the phone asap with a refusal.

Lesson 3:  Leverage the concept of quid pro quo. If you offer something when you're asking, the other side sees it has something to gain and you don't come off as selfish. I was't so calculating with my friend, but in retrospect I realize this can be a good strategy for other situations.

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