This morning, I lost my patience.
Not that such an event should come as a shock to anyone, but nevertheless it turned out to be a rather traumatic experience.
I decided this morning to check on the status of my travel voucher. Much to my surprise, it appeared to have passed on to the next level! I decided to doublecheck and opened it up to see who had the courage to actually do their job for the day. Upon doing so, I noticed that it said “Adjustment.” My warrant started to giggle. Adjustments are never in our favor. I opened it up at his prompting and immediately saw the trouble.
Something to the effect of “Until your final receipt for your auto rental is included, you will not get paid for your rental. When you have the receipt, submit an amendment to be repaid for that.” In very fine print, it laughed at me and called me a sucker.
The thing was, I submitted the final receipt the rental company provided for me after my return to Germany. I was, therefore, once again confounded by the perplexities of the system. Surely there was something missing? No, indeed the receipt was loaded into the system just as it has been for well over a month in total. Perhaps it was illegible or not clearly a receipt? No, I understood it just fine and the amount on it matched the amount paid on my credit card statement. I notified my Commander and then realized that it was Training Meeting Day, which has a tendency to turn into a seven hour affair, so my warrant prompted me to get more information by calling the person who left the cryptic adjustment on my voucher.
The conversation started out pretty normally: I was told there was probably nothing anyone could do, a hearty “Eff You,” but at least he would hand me to the person who made the adjustment so he could confirm.
The next conversation was rather circular in nature. It consisted of the person telling me he needed the final receipt and me explaining to him that I submitted the final receipt. He insisted that there was another receipt I needed because this wasn’t the final receipt. I informed him that indeed, it was, it even said “Receipt” in bold letters at the top. He insisted he needed the receipt from after my final payment. I pointed out the total amount and how it matched my statement and the dates and the account numbers and informed him, patiently, that it was the only receipt sent after I requested it directly from the company several days after the payment was made and this was what was sent so please just give me the money you owe me and I will go away. He said no, he needs the final receipt.
He wanted something, anything, that told him the balance on the receipt was zero. Apparently, “Balance Owed: Zero” was the key phrase missing. The receipt showed the amount owed to the company, the credit card used for payment, the itemized charges, and so on, and he also could see that the bill identified the company and matched the dates, accounts, and amount, but that was not enough. He wanted the company to generate a “Balance Owed: Zero” statement for me. Until then, perhaps they would pay me the rest of what they have owed for several months, but will hold the rental repayment until I can come up with the balance receipt, which does not exist in this world as far as I am aware. I hung up the phone, put my head in my hands, and finally worked up the nerve to write a pleading request to the company to please generate the receipt. The adjustor had also mentioned, in passing, that if I could get in writing from the company that they would not generate such a document, in other words tell me Eff You, it would also be good enough for him. He just needed a formal Eff You in writing, and until then he would continue to just give me a hearty Eff You.
My Commander then called, having received my email. I told him about the conversation. He got irate, mostly because the entire thing was absurd. He ranted, he raved, he called Battalion. Battalion agreed to call the adjustment demons. The Commander ranted and raved until he had to go so he could call back Battalion for an answer.
Five minutes later he called me back, possibly about to cry. The adjustors had told Battalion to Eff You, making Battalion call my Commander to tell him Eff You, so he had no choice but to call me and tell me Eff You. He did mention that he was not going to repeat the excuses that he was given, because as far as he could tell none were valid, but to find a way to get the company to either generate the receipt these people wanted or at least tell me Eff You in writing. Apparently, that one last Eff You is the key to repayment paradise around here. It’s like levels of success, and the more people who can tell you that one phrase in a day, the closer you are to getting what you want. Somehow, it all works out that way around here. It’s a little bit of a backwards system, I think, but what do I know, really?