Posted by: Calvin | October 20, 2007

It is the Little Things . . .

Years ago my best friend from college and matron or honor in my wedding made an insightful observation about me.  She said:  “It is the little things that really get you crazy.  You do so well with the big things, it is just the little things that get the better of you.”  She was so right and, regretfully, it is still true.

I have bad temper.  It shows up mostly when I am faced with shear incompetence by people who should know better.   I am okay with people who make mistakes . . . I make plenty myself.  What really makes my blood boil are people that make mistakes and then do not take responsibility for them and those that do not take the steps necessary to prevent them from occurring in the first place.

 Today, for about the 4th time, I lost my temper with American Express.  We are Centurion American Express card holders which entitles us to use the Centurion Travel Services.  The assumption is that is this is the best of the best card, so you will get the best of the best services.  We made the mistake of using them to book our flights and rental car for our Denver trip this past August.  (We quickly found that they hook you in with special offers only offered to Centurion Card holders, which special offers are rarely available when you want to take advantage of them.)

Our travel nightmare began when we showed up for our flight to find out that only our 6 and 8 year old sons had properly booked tickets.  My husband I could not get on the airplane.  It got worse as we had to take an old rusty smelly taxi to an airport in the next city (notwithstanding that we had paid about $400 extra not to have to use that airport) and put on a airline with a connecting flight on a different airline that does not have a “baggage agreement” with the first airline.  For those of you who do not understand the practical effect of using airlines that do not have a “baggage agreement”, it means that upon arrival at the first airport on the first airline, you will have to go to baggage  claim to get your luggage then recheck your bags with the other airline.  At a major airport, this is a major deal.  In addition to the length of time it takes to get to the baggage claim area to retrieve your bags, you have to stand in long lines in the ticketing area to recheck the luggage.  It also means that you need to go through the security check points a second time at the other airport to verify that you do not have any containers with greater than 3 ounces if liquid in them and you do not have explosives in your shoes.  Also, do not forget the joy of same day ticketing.  Same day ticketers are automatically “selected” to be treated as suspected terrorists who are worthy of full body public pat downs while their children are told to “sit in that chair” to watch.

So when the colossal ticketing mistake was discovered, we were told by the elite Centurion Travel agent not to worry, that there would be no additional cost to us for the last minute fix to their unfortunate mistake.  We believed them.  What idiots we were.  The elite Centurian Travel counselor proceeded to book all of the corrective tickets to get us to our destination 4 hours late using our Centurion American Express card.  The additional costs were in excess of $4,000.  The elite agent then kindly put in for a credit to our account for most, but not all, of those charges.   More than two months later, the unauthorized charges are still pending as “disputed”. 

In the scheme of things, I know that this is a “little thing” . . . I know, because every time I think about it, it still makes my blood boil. 

Oh, and did I mention that the rental car in Denver was booked in the name of my 8 year old son?



  1. That doesn’t sound little to me………I would definitely classify that as “big, big, big”!! It makes my blood boil just to read about it. I hope you get those “disputed” charges taken care of soon, and can dump that extra-special card.

  2. Call AmEx back and tell them if they don’t get this straightened out in the next 10 days, you’re going to file a complaint with the FTC. That should get their attention.

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