Friday, February 22, 2008

Ominous portent, or minor frustration?

This afternoon I noticed that my tax refund had been deposited into my checking account.

I immediately called Amtrak to start the process of purchasing the rail pass for my long-anticipated month-long trip this spring. The cheerful customer service representative told me I needed to set my itinerary at the time of purchasing the pass. This was not a problem, since I had already spent hours and hours poring over the Amtrak timetables and setting various itineraries; however, my spreadsheet was at home and I was at work. Could I call back later?

"Sure," she said. "We're here 24 hours a day for your convenience."

"That is convenient!" I agreed.

I came home, pulled out my itinerary spreadsheet, tinkered with my dream trip one last time, and called Amtrak back.

The customer service representative told me that the department I needed is only open 8:30-4:30, Monday through Friday.


It's that kind of confusion and misinformation that could really derail (metaphorically, I hope) a train trip like this. On the other hand, if that's the biggest screw-up I encounter, I'll be thanking my lucky stars. Here's hoping.