Endless sea of gift cards

A few years back I worked in a corporate call center for a major retailer as a supervisor. Basically a fancy way of saying I took escalation calls and calls base support staff couldn’t handle. I primarily handled online orders, but also provided support for gift cards, registries, app support, etc.

One day I got a call from a lady who was having some troubles using her gift cards. I asked for one of the gift card numbers to get started identifying what the issue was. The first one provided was inactive. The gift card system used automatically puts gift cards into an inactive status if they haven’t been used in I think it was 2-3 years after purchase. It was an order system so maybe this was to not overload the system, I’m not really sure and didn’t bother to ask because I rarely dealt with this issue.

Anyways, once this happens you can either go into a store and they’ll scan and reactivate it or call in and we can manually activate it in our system. Well the issue here was she received gift cards from her employer as incentives for hitting quotas or something like that. She was with the company for several years and had accumulated tons of them ranging from $5-25. She never used them and just threw them in a drawer as she received them. That day was the day she finally decided she was going to use them and couldn’t because many of them had been deactivated.

To say she was pissed was an understatement. I had to enter hundreds and hundreds of gift cards manually then reactivate them. I missed my lunch break, my last break and was well over my time I should have left for the day. If I remember right I was on the phone with her for over four hours activating her gift cards. Finally she decided she had been on the phone long enough for one day and asked that I call her back tomorrow to finish activating her gift cards.

I called her back the next day and continued going through her gift cards. Since she just threw them all in a drawer they were all mixed up and some were still active, but I had to check every single one. I think I spent another two hours or so with her when we finally got to the last one. I thought this was the end of it, but no. She wanted to use her gift cards for an online order. Well you get maxed out on 4-5 gift cards per online order.

She was pissed and asked if I could combine her gift cards so she could purchase whatever she was wanting outright with just the gift cards. Thankfully I didn’t have the ability to do that on my end or who knows how long I would have continued to be on the phone with her. I advised her she could contact her local store and see if they’d be able to do so for her. They could combine gift cards, I just wasn’t sure if they could do that many.

Needless to say after that was all over I didn’t want to see or hear the words gift card for a while after that.

Tldr: lady collected hundreds of gift cards over the years and after 2-3 years they get deactivated if they haven’t been used. I spent 6+ hours on the phone with her reactivating hundreds of them manually.

What do you think?

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I’m not the one being difficult here…

Ever just wanna clock out before you get to work?