Vacationland Adventures: Part I

Inspired by the wafting summer breezes and the need to visit my dad before he forgets who I am, J and I embarked last Saturday on the quintessential American summer vacation: a road trip halfway across the country to visit relatives. We loaded up my truck Friday night and rolled out bright and early Saturday to drive to North Carolina. Fun and merriment ensued.

The first glitch in our jaunt across the nation occurred somewhere in Louisiana driving down I-10. J drives in LA for the most part, since the state and I have a long-standing disagreement over the validity of certain fines. While sitting in the passenger seat, I stupidly called Bank of America to inform them I would be going out of town and to request they not flag my debit card. This was a spectacular mistake on my part, and a fine demonstration of Bank of America’s sucktacular customer service policies. The first moron I talked to flagged my card because I, in his mind, didn’t answer one of the security questions correctly. He informed me I needed to go to a banking center. After checking (wireless internet is fabulous if someone else is paying, BTW), I found out that there are no banking centers in central Louisiana. There are also no banking centers open past noon. Upon discovering this at 11:30, I called back and explained to the dim-witted and demonstrably incompetent young lady on the phone there were no banking centers. She informed it could wait until Monday, as my card was not flagged. This, as I later found out, was false. Later that afternoon, I tried to fill up the truck with gas and guess what? It didn’t work. Why? Because moron number one flagged my card. The charming young lady I spoke with the third time didn’t seem to really give a shit that because her co-workers screwed up, I was in Louisiana with no access to my money. She also told me that there was no way to fix this over the phone. This was lie the second from Bank of America’s crack customer service department. I know this, because I did get my card reactivated on Monday. How? By talking to someone on the phone. I am, as you may have noticed, not happy with how Bank of America handled the situation and I think customer service sucked in this instance. Let me reiterate for the benefit of search engines: Bank of America customer service sucks. On that note, I’d also like to link to a similar tale of woe: Sony VAIO customer service sucks.

I will however, cut B of A a slight break by pointing out this applies only to the morons who handle their debit cards. The B of A MasterCard people, a completely different support staff, were nothing but helpful over the duration of the trip.

Anyhow, we stopped for lunch in New Orleans and took a quick walk around. The Quarter is different in a lot of ways. Still smells the same, but the street traffic is considerably less and of a different quality. Also, places aren’t open the same hours. We had wanted to eat lunch at Arnaud’s. We always try to eat there at least once whenever we visit, since we got married upstairs in one of the banquet rooms. However, Arnaud’s is no longer open for lunch. Who knew? I tried to check the website before we left, but it was having issues, otherwise I might have known. A lot of other restaurants were keeping evening hours only. We also noticed, on a quick walk-through, a multitude of for sale and for rent signs.

Moving cheerfully along, we left and got to Slidell or Kenner, where I discovered the cheery fact I had no way to access my money until some nebulous time in the future. However, MasterCard to the rescue and onward to Alabama, where we stopped for the nigh in Birmingham to eat a lovely meal of Indian food with some old friends. The food and company were delightful, although we ended up providing directions to our hotel. I’m still confused by that, but no matter.

More vacation fun tomorrow...

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