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water company

Glass of water. METRO photo

By Daniel Dunaief

Daniel Dunaief

For decades, my wife and I have had one of those five-gallon water dispensers in our house. We enjoy the taste of ice cold water, and we recycle the empty containers when we’re done.

We have a regular water delivery service. Our monthly order varies depending on how many of our children, and their friends, are in the house. Typically, the best, and only way to connect with our water delivery service, is through an online interaction. Reaching an agent has been close to impossible.

Recently, we had one of those surreal technological moments with our company.

I received our usual email message, reminding me that the next day was my delivery day and I should leave out my empty bottles.

I did as I was told, because it’s so comforting to take instructions from an automated system. That night, on my last walk with our dog, I noticed that the empty bottles were still where I put them.

Okay, I thought. Maybe they’ll bring them the next day.

When I checked my emails, I received a notification indicating that the bottles were delivered and asking if I’d like to tip the driver. Realizing that my powers of observation could have been faulty, I went back outside, where the reality of the empty bottles defied the assertion of the automated email.

I tried to reach the water company through a chat service, but the automated system explained that agents were busy and couldn’t handle my request.

I found an old email from the company and wrote to them, explaining that they thought they had delivered a product, for which I would likely be charged.

On my second try the next morning, I reached a live person. Tempted as I was to exclaim my glee at speaking with a real person, I remained focused on the mission. I explained that I hadn’t received the water and would like them to bring it as soon as possible.

“You’re not scheduled for another delivery for a month,” she explained.

“Right, but I didn’t get the water yesterday,” I replied. “Can you send a truck with water?”

“Well, it says you did get the water,” she said.

“Who is saying I received the water? I’m telling you no one delivered the water,” I answered. “Can I please get the water I’m paying for?”

“Hold on,” she said, putting me on hold for several minutes.

“No, sir, I’m sorry, but we have a new computer system and I can’t reschedule the water delivery for you. I can credit you for this month.”

“Well,” I sighed. “I appreciate the gesture, but you’re not proving all that reliable. I pay for you to provide water. Maybe I’ll switch companies.”

“I can give you $5 off the water for next month,” she said.

“That’s assuming you deliver the water,” I replied.

“Let us know what you’d like to do. Is there anything else I can do for you?”

Tempted as I was to answer that she hadn’t done anything for me, I said I appreciated her effort.

That night, I brought the empty bottles back into the house and discussed the situation with my wife.

The next evening, five water bottles appeared in the usual spot. I brought them in and was pleased I hadn’t shopped for more at the supermarket.

By the next evening, I could barely contain my laughter when I found five more bottles in the usual spot. I quickly canceled the delivery for October and lugged the next five bottles into the house.

Concerned that these deliveries might become daily, I approached the usual spot with trepidation the next evening. I was relieved to see that the deliveries stopped.