Prelude: musings on the art of multi-tasking
I know a lot of people (and one person in particular comes to mind), who proclaim that they are great multi-taskers. And yet it seems that it is these very same people who are unable or unwilling to get the many tasks accomplished that they claim they are able to simultaneously do until they (or, he, in the case of the one person I’m thinking of) actually sit down and tackle each item separately. (Of course, he [being a male] would never admit that; and, of course, me [being a female], needs to point that out).
Multi-tasking, like crime, usually doesn’t pay
Research studies indicate that multi-tasking often reduces, rather than increases, productivity (Link).
Fast forward: it was only a matter of time …
Ever since a little more than a year ago, when Vanilla Reloads took front seat as the popular method of manufactured spend, I feared the day when there would be a screw up. I shivered when I heard stories where cards were missing PIN numbers or where cards were switched and drained of funds by creepy salespeople. I shuddered knowing that one day I might face a comparable predicament. Until a week ago, the only problem I’d encountered was occasionally being unable to load funds to my Bluebird account because I had already met the $5,000 monthly limit. Human error – mine.
For about an hour last week, I feared that my fear was realized. Admittedly, I was doing a lot of things on my computer all at once. Yes, I was multi-tasking. I had at least 5 windows open and was switching back and forth between my many email accounts, Twitter, and most likely, a few travel-related websites.
One of the windows that was opened was the Vanilla Reload website. Piece-of-cake task: upload $500 from a Vanilla Reload card to my Bluebird account. So easy in fact that I could do many tasks at the same time. Or so I thought!
I was at the last step of this easy process. All was fine. I hit upload. Something went awry. Although I’m not entirely sure what went wrong, but I think I hit it twice. Or maybe it felt like the key stuck, so I pressed down further. The funds left the universe. They were no longer on my card. The phone calls began. InComm (the company that owns Vanilla Reload cards) claimed the funds left my reload card and went to my BlueBird Account. Bluebird claimed that it never received the funds. Naturally, everyone pointed fingers at each other.
It was after 6pm and I wanted to leave the office. And yet, I was embroiled in this search tantamount to looking for the holy grail. Where was the money? Where was my money? I was back and forth on phone calls between account managers, each saying I should speak to the other company – that it was out of their respective hands. Finally, a conference call.
What happened next reminds me of a scene out of Saturday Night Live when Gilda Radner after making a fuss, realizes she was wrong, and quietly mutters “never mind.” InComm’s rep repeatedly claimed the funds were transferred to BlueBird, and, specifically, that they were transferred to my BlueBird account. The BlueBird rep however repeatedly denied this. Then it seemed I heard a peep. No acknowledgement, no nothing. But, about 10 minutes after the phone call ended I suddenly received the typical Bluebird email: “The money you wanted to load from your Vanilla Pack Network™ Prepaid to your Bluebird Account was deposited.”
Lesson learned: don’t multi-task and reload Vanilla Reload cards at the same time. It’s too easy to screw up and too hard to fix!