Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Swim lessons

We're officially enrolled in swim lessons. I went for the lessons for the younger kiddos. He barely squeaks in, since the lessons start on the 18th and he'll be three on the 21st.

As I browsed the options for swim lessons online, I was all excited to see that the parks and rec department had an online registration for the lessons! I also discovered that they had ONE spot left in the class I wanted.

I've come to appreciate the beauty of signing up for things without having to wade through the tedium of recorded phone menus ("For the first circle of hell, press 1. For the idiocy that is the customer service representative, press 2. To scoop out your eyeballs using dull spoons, press 3.", etc.). Plus, I can do it in my pajamas. I figure that organizations put in online registration systems so that they don't have to pay people to man the phones or the front desk registration areas so much. Ultimately it saves money, right?

Wrong. I discovered that, in order to register for programs online, I had to be assigned a user id and password. Fine. I figured I'd enter all my pertinent information and then their auto-emailer would send me a user id and password.

Wrong again. I received an email stating that "someone would contact [me] in 24-48 hours with [my] user id and password". Whaaaat? Doesn't that defeat the whole purpose? At least, it does in my mind.

Anyway, I had done all of this on Saturday afternoon. I received an email with the user id and password from an actual person about noon on Monday. So, excitedly, I went to register for the swim lessons. They still had that one spot open!!

Somewhere in all of the small print, I remembered seeing that I would have to add individual members of my family to the account in order to sign them up for different programs. I tried to figure out how to do that, but couldn't seem to get it done. So, somehow, I thought it wouldn't matter that it was my name signing up for the swim lessons instead of Jet's.

Wrong again. They had a drop-down menu to select the person who would be participating in the activity. Since mine was the only name available on our account, I selected it. It wouldn't let me register because the class is for children 0-36 months old, and the participant (that would be me) would be -- get this -- 358 months old at the start of the class. If that doesn't make a body feel old, I don't know what would.

I started poking around some more, trying to figure out how to add Jet to the account. I finally found the FAQ's page. In order to add someone to the account you have to... no, really, guess... call them at the office. They even gave two phone numbers. However, the first one they listed didn't work -- I got the "boop-boop-BOOP this phone has been disconnected or is no longer in service..."

After calling the second number and sifting through the phone menu, I connected with someone who, surprisingly, knew what she was doing. She added Jet and Knight to the account with ease and dexterity. As we were ending the conversation, I mentioned that I would be signing up online for the swim lessons. She mentioned that they would charge me a convenience fee to sign up online.

Let's think about this for juuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuust a second, here, while remembering that I thought I could do this the easy way -- without having to call anybody!

I kindly pointed this out to the nice lady on the phone, and she was super-nice and signed us up for the lessons without charging the over-the-phone convenience fee.

Thus ends the story of How Not to Sign Up for Swim Lessons the Easy Way.


ann said...

lol - that is all i can say - lol

Beast1624 said...

Wow...that's amazing.
I remember once going in to pay my son's cell phone bill for him at the Sprint office. I stood in line for several minutes to be told there was a $5 charge for HAVING THE PERSON BEHIND THE COUNTER DO IT!!! If I didn't want to pay the charge I had to go to the computer kiosk. Seems these places are thinking up more and more ways to make their customers mad and chase them off. It's a miracle any of them stay in business.