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March 09, 2004

On Communication Skills

I had to call a vendor this afternoon about a newsletter we had not received for an entire year. Unfortunately we already paid for a renewal and we haven't seen this year's issues either.

My predecessor kept lots and lots of files, thank goodness. What I should have done was check the files first, but no, I called and asked if our subscription could just be extended since we received no issues, and what a surprise - the vendor says they can't (or won't) do that. We have to get the back issues, and they'll extend our subscription for whatever issues they can't provide. I am flustered. The more I try to say, the more stupid I sound. Why can I be so articulate in writing but in person I am a babbling idiot? How the hell can I possibly do reference if I'm stuttering and stumbling for the next word?

The vendor's records are shoddy. The woman tells me she has no record of the dates I've told her we called. I try to explain, but what sounds like garbled gobbledygook, that we are paying for current information. The back issues are nice, but they're no good to us one year after the fact. I tell her we contacted her on several occasions requesting back issues and still we never received them. The best she can do, after speaking with a supervisor, is to give us our back issues and a 4 month extension on our subscription, as a "courtesy." I can't answer for my boss, but I just know she won't go for that. So I tell her I will call back.

So I've spent the better part of the afternoon stewing and writing a letter summarizing our timeline and reiterating our position that the vendor has totally screwed up, in nicer business language of course. It's not exactly helpful that it seems that no one from our library called and harassed them since not getting the first issue until late last year, when we supposedly got an extension - which of course they have no record of. I understand their position - but we are the customer. I just wish we could ask for a refund since they're being so damned resistant to admitting that they fucked up and to doing something meaningful to correct the situation. So I've written a letter, and my boss will proof it, and hopefully we can get something done. In the meantime, I'm nursing some apricot tea, because the whole experience just makes me ill.

I have never been good with conflict, but I'm going to have to improve. My communication skills probably will be brought up in my review as something to work on. Bleah.

Yours, &c., LC | 04:08 PM | Librariana | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

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You'll get it. Conflict makes me all nervous too. But if you deserve something, you have a right to ask for it. And get shitty if you have to.

Posted by: zeebah at March 11, 2004 12:44 PM