Thursday, February 2, 2012

WageWorks: Can we still be friends?

I work for a company that has it's Nashville office located inside an office building that we do not own. There is a parking garage attached to this office building that we park in everyday. This is not a free service that the owners of the building provide to their tenants. The parking garage is maintained by Central Parking, a parking corporation with offices and lots located pretty much anywhere there are cars. They are one of the largest parking providers in Nashville. For the privilege of parking in the garage at my place of employment every day, I have to pay a monthly parking fee of 35 dollars. This is not much compared to the 8.00 a day parking fee they charge other drivers. I have a card that scans me in and out of the garage whenever I come and go.

Parking payments are due, well.. yesterday. I forgot about the monthly switchover since I was not at my usual desk for 2 days this week. I was downstairs taking part in e-learning courses about such awesome topics as "Learning" and "Stress Management" and "Customer Service Confrontation and Conflict." They were excellent. Let me tell you. I have 8 years in customer service and I couldn't get half the questions correct on the tests for the conflict course because they wanted things in a certain order. I call cockamamie.

But yeah, parking payments are due like now. I am responsible for collecting the payments for the employees in our company. The building usually wants the payments by the 5th of every month, at the latest. Since that falls on a Sunday, the 6th will be sufficient. I am actually taking a half day off on Monday the 6th to go BACK to the dentist, but that is another entry entirely.

Some of the colleagues here, the ones that are actually employed by a different branch of the company than most, get their monthly parking payments paid by a company called WageWorks. It is a nice service. They send a check every month for the amount of the parking payment and it is all taken directly from their pre-tax income. Now, the company I ACTUALLY work for, also offers WageWorks enrollment. I decided to take advantage of this, you know, since it is offered to me as one of the perks of my employment. I am all for pre-tax deductions. Anything that can lower my taxable income is golden in my book. So I went online, to their fancy website and enrolled myself using the guidelines set forth by my company. I clicked on the link to enroll as a new commuter needing parking payments set up. I didn't find my building listed within the payment options, so I clicked the happy button to add my building manually. I typed everything in. I made sure all the information was correct, double checked it against the WageWorks checks I have sitting here, on my desk, that were sent for this months parking for about half the employees at the office. The website refused to let me go any further than the "add your parking information" page. So I tried changing some things, using every line, putting the Suite information on that second line in the address section that no one ever uses. Nothing would satisfy this infernal website. So I did what every good customer does when something pisses me off. I called the customer service hotline.

I went through all the options in the automated calling system. I clicked the button for English. I punched the buttons for my birthdate, zip code, and social security number. I spelled out my name and address (because both of those things are not spelled correctly according to 98 percent of the world. THANKS MOM.)

The customer service lady asked me if I had tried to use the website. Well, yes, actually. ABOUT 12 TIMES. Which is why I called you.

So she manually added the parking garage and building address to their system, with me spelling out every single word because my fast talking and my southern accent make me hard to understand when I'm frustrated. I get it. I obliged. I have been there, lady on the other end of the phone. I feel your pain. But I just want to use your service like I was told I could 6 months ago when I started this job but I haven't needed to until now because I was carpooling until last week and then my carpool moved an hour away to an entirely different side of town and now I have to drive myself into work everyday BY MYSELF and dude, I just want to get this done now so I don't have to write a check every month because I know myself and I will forget and my checks still have my Alabama address on them and I haven't lived THERE since August of last year. Phew.

We get through all the address typing and double checking and I think we are good when she asks me if I know the account number for my building. No. I don't. Let me check the other WageWorks checks I have sitting right here. There isn't one listed.
Well, it must not exist in our system if there is no account number. There's nothing I can do.
I have checks sitting right here from your company. I know you can send them to me because you already have. See the conundrum here? So do I.
They insisted that they couldn't sign me up for the service since there was no account number and I'm obviously making this all up. Yes. Please take my 35.00 out of my paycheck for some imaginary parking privilege. That's EXACTLY what I want.

They finally figured out how to get the checks sent to my building and all is well in the land of parking. Except that it won't start until March. I still have to write a check for this month. I mean, I should have expected that. Parking was due yesterday and I am a bit forgetful when I'm off doing other stuff, but man. All that trouble for a single check.

I wonder how much money it's going to save me in taxes.

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