Because the CDC was full, I needed to make a STACC reservation. No big deal. The luncheon is Thursday and the deadline for making the STACC reservation was Tuesday at noon. So LAST Thursday, I try to call the phone numbers listed in the club newsletter. No answer.
I call again Friday at a differet time, thinking maybe I just caught them during a training time. Again, no answer. Hmm...
Monday rolls around and I try again. And again, no answer. No voice mail. No message. Nothing. Just 2 minutes of ringing and then a message: "No one is available to take your phone call. Please try again later." and it hangs up on me. Now I'm a bit irked.
Tuesday 0800 and I'm on the phone again. The first two phone numbers (the ones from the newsletter) don't get me anywhere. So I call the CDC and they give me a third number. I call it. No answer. (sensing a theme here?) I call the CDC back and ask them if they know any reason why I can't reach anyone. Nope.
So I ask for the main CYS number - I figure I'll find SOMEONE via the main number who can help me. Again, nothing. Between 1100 and 1211 (mind you, the deadline was 1200) I tried continuously to call four DIFFERENT phone numbers and never was able to reach ANYONE. So now I'm screwed. I have a reservation but no child care. Great. So much for a little adult interaction this month.
So I'm fired up and I write a letter to the director of CYS:
December 14, 2005
Director of Child and Youth Services
Schofield Barracks, Hawaii
RE: STACC accessibility
I am a member of the spouses' club and was planning on attending the luncheon scheduled for December 15, 2005. The CDC on XXXXXXXX was unavailable during the luncheon timeframe so I attempted to make a reservation with STACC using the information provided in the Hui Lei on Thursday, December 8, 2005 but was unable to reach anyone. I tried again on Friday, December 9, 2005 with the same result.
Again, I called the STACC contact numbers on Monday December 12, 2005 and again, no one answered. Tuesday, December 13, 2005, I began dialing at 0800, hoping to reach SOMEONE by the deadline of noon. I tried the two phone numbers listed in the Hui Lei with no success. The line would ring for approximately two minutes and then I would hear a recording that “No one is available to take your call. Please try again later.” I called the CDC to see if they had additional phone numbers for either STACC or the central CYS office. From 1100 to 1211, I attempted to call all FOUR numbers – again, to no avail.
The phone numbers I had were:
• XXX-XXXX (in newsletter)
• XXX-XXXX (in newsletter)
• XXX-XXXX (given by CDC)
• XXX-XXXX (main CYS number given by CDC)
Even though I had FOUR access numbers and began my attempts to make STACC arrangements five days prior to the deadline, I was unable to do so. This is unacceptable. The spouses' club has had the STACC arrangements in place for some time now so there is no excuse as to why I was unable to get through to make a reservation. Because of this, I will have to cancel my luncheon reservation due to lack of child care.
I am incredibly disappointed in both STACC and Child and Youth Services. It is frustrating to me to have this resource available but be unable to access it when I need it. I will be filing a complaint with ICE along with this letter. I will also be sending a copy of this letter to the post paper and to the Garrison Commander. I hope that your office can work to resolve the problem quickly so that no one else has to deal with the frustration I dealt with for the past five days. I do not plan to deal with STACC again.
I planned to drop off the letter to CYS this afternoon in between other errands. CYS is usually located right next door to ACS (Army Community Services) and has been ever since we've been here. Welp, not today. I go by there today and see that - *gasp* - they have MOVED!!! Is there a sign? Nope. Nothing. Great. Thanks for the heads' up. I stop and ask someone outside if they know where CYS went to and they tell me. When I finally find the place (it's on a road with NO STREET SIGNS IN A BUILDING THAT, UP UNTIL A FEW MONTHS AGO WAS UNUSED!) I head inside with my children to hand over this letter.
I sign in and I am the ONLY person there. There are 3 women sitting at various desks. Takes them a few minutes to call my name. Ok, fine. I hand the woman the letter and ask her to give it to the director of CYS. She asks me what the letter is in reference to and I explain to her that I was unable to, over the course of 4 days, access the STACC staff in order to reserve a spot for my children so that I could honor my luncheon reservation for the spouses' club and how frustrating that was.
Get this! She has the AUDACITY to look me in the eye and wave her hand about and say,
"As you can see, we've been in the process of a move."
She then goes on to tell me that they have had trouble with phone lines. Nothing to the effect of "I"m sorry you had difficulty." or "How can we help you with this now?". Nothing. Just the wave of the hand.
It was at that point that A.) I was glad my children were over in the little play area and B.) I quit being nice. I looked her in the eye and told her that a LACK of preparation on CYS' part does NOT constitute an emergency, nor does it justify an inconvenience, on MY part.
I told her that CYS should have had contingency plans in place to accomodate STACC requests and other business during the move (gee, like making sure the f-ing PHONE LINES WORK BEFORE THE MOVE IS ACTUALLY MADE?!? Or how about keeping at least one staff member in the OLD location with the OLD phone number still in place until the NEW location and the NEW phone numbers were up and running?!? What a farking concept...). It's not hard to prepare for stuff like this! Really.
How f-ing hard is it to think beyond the tip of your damn nose and see the big picture??? C'mon people. It's really not that tough! Or, how about cluing the CDC (and the spouses' club - the ones relying upon YOUR office to DO THEIR JOB!) into the fact that your office has moved and you're having trouble with the phone lines? How about an accessible voice mail recording???
So not only will I be passing along the original letter to the Garrison commander, the post paper, and the ICE hotline, I'll be including the addendum detailing the incompetence and utter lack of customer service I received through CYS.