sorry, how many characters remaining?

I am booking travel to California, where the meetings hang heavy and plump on every bough. Because life is unpredictable — please, wear a helmet — I have a few unused-ticket credits from previously cancelled or violently-adjusted travel of just this sort. My online travel agency frequently teases me, with their little “Unused ticket may apply!” annotations and sly winks when they think my corporate card isn’t watching.

It never works out. It’s always a few clicks of building anticipation, the prospect of fiscal redemption swelling in my impecunious breast, and then whammo. “No, it’s not for you.”

Tonight, though, I was told that I could apply the unused ticket, by calling and speaking to an agent. Ignoring the irrationality of sunk-cost economics, it would have made my ticket free! Joy!

So then I spent about an hour — yes, nearly sixty earth minutes — on the telephone waiting to have an agent talk to me. Never did a human enter the equation. After a while there started to be silent patches in the hold music, perhaps because they were afraid that they would run out before an agent accidentally answered my call, or I had to leave to catch my flight.

In the end, I booked my ticket without use of the credit, because it was nearly midnight and I have a hectic day of Apple Store repair-wrangling (yes, again. yes, I know) and travel preparation ahead of me — for an unrelated trip, natch. When I went to my mailbox to check my itinerary and put it into my calendar, I found an email invitation to a customer satisfaction survey that I had been sent last week. A cherry on top, if I were given to such haphazardly culinary metaphors.

see attached sheets

paging dr. mercator

My favourite email tidbit from today:

Mike, I’m afraid the promotions we run in the Americas Division are not applicable in <Vendor> Canada. Also, we’re not allowed to ship outside of the United States (not even to Canada). My apologies for any confusion the prior e-mail might have caused.