October 23, 2009

Western Union

I have found out the truth. I have been believing a complete lie for years. The commercials are a sham... Western Union is NOT the fastest way to send money. Worldwide or otherwise!

Let me back up a bit. I received some great adoption news this morning. The Congolese government issued Baby Miles a birth certificate! That means he has a birthday- although, unfortunately, I have no idea when it is. This can sometimes take a loooong time, and they issued it in only 8 days. It is a God. Thing. I swear, He is smoothing the path for us in just about every way possible, except in the arena of money wiring to a third world country.

With this great birth certificate news, came the news that we need to send our attorney in the Congo more money to file our next petition. From sending money there a few weeks ago, I learned that there is only one Western Union in our whole county that is capable of sending an international transfer. And even they really have no idea how to do it. It is enough to make a girl pull all her hair out. Here is how the morning went. I will put my thoughts in italics, and actual words in real print.

I walk into Kroger and tell the clerk at customer service that I need to place an international money order through Western Union. I can see the stupidity written all over this girl.
"Where do you want to send the money?" she asks.
"Democratic Republic of Congo," I reply.
She starts typing on her computer. "I don't see it. Are you sure it's a country?" Ummm, yeah. Would you like me to pull an atlas out of my Afro and show you? "Yes ma'am, it's in Africa." I think for a minute about trying to educate this woman on the history, etc. of DRC, but decide that her blank stare is not worth the trouble.
She keeps staring at her computer..."Yeah, we don't have it. It's not a country." WTF... (that's exactly what I thought. The acronym, not the actual words. Weird, huh?)
Me:"I sent money there last week. I know that it exists. Can you please look again."
Crazy lady: "The only thing that starts with a D is Denmark. Would you like me to send the money to Denmark?" Seriously.
Me: "No ma'am. It won't really do me any good to wire the money to Denmark." Calm down. Breathe. Stop gritting your teeth. Do not cause a scene.
Psychotic Lady Behind the Counter: "Well, it'd be pretty easy to send it to Denmark. Ha, Ha." We go in circles like this for an eternity. I am getting nowhere.

Finally, I leave Kroger, drive all the way across town to our house to get the receipt from our last money transfer to show this lady, so she knows where to send our money. Since this has taken so long, I now have to pick Noah up from school.The joy of running errands with a 2 year old! I head back across town and hand the nut behind the counter the receipt from the previous money transfer. She studies it and goes back to her computer, types and stares...stares...stares... "Oooooh,"she says,"the Congo, here it is. I guess I wasn't reading it right before." I'm surprised you can read at all.
She giggles a little.
Giggle again, sister, and I may reach across the counter and transfer you to the Congo!!! Meanwhile, Noah has gotten bored. He begins singing (over and over and over) at the top of his lungs, "LIFE IS A HIGHWAY. I WANNA RIDE IT ALL NIGHT LONG..." I am desperate to keep him quiet. Between Noah's sheer crazy volume and the darling woman behind the counter, my nerves are shot. I run through the checkout and get Noah a diet coke to hold him over and give him something to occupy him. This will really come into play later.

The lady gets my transfer entered and I hand her my debit card to take care of the transfer. Little did I know that my bank has a $500 per transaction limit on our account to prevent fraud. So we can not complete the transaction. After. All. That. So I pack up my Noah and take my transfer papers and leave Kroger for the 2nd time with no luck. We truck it back across town to the bank to get enough cash to cover the transaction. We are about halfway there when Noah starts shrieking. He had shaken up the diet coke and it had exploded all over him. I had to pull over and change him into whatever mismatched clothes were in the diaper bag. He had on no less than 5 clashing shades of blue. We get the cash and head back to Kroger and FINALLY get the money sent to our attorney in DRC. NOT DENMARK. Idiot

Oh, Baby Miles, you are worth every minute of crazy customer service. But once you are home, I will NEVER use Western Union again!

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