For several weeks…okay, months, I have been going in circles with my employer (or temp agency) about signing up for Direct Deposit.
I was hesitant at first because I was under the impression that the assignment wasn’t going to last long enough to even make it worth the effort. It was originally scheduled to end at the end of December or January yet here we are in April and I’m still there.
That alone gave me a reason to finally consider singing up for the service but once I learned that our department would be relocated about 5 miles from the main campus (as they tend to call it), Direct Deposit pretty much became a necessity.
One day back in January, I walked into the staffing office and asked them what I needed to do to start having my checks deposited for me. They gave me the paperwork which I returned the following payday. When I asked how long it would take, one of the girls – let’s call her Mitzi – told me 2 to 3 weeks.
Three weeks passed and I was still picking up physical checks. I asked again when it would become active and was told by Mitzi that she would look into it and let me know.
Two more weeks went by and nothing. I was willing to accept this since we were planning to close the bank account we were using at the time so in this case, I really wasn’t too concerned that it didn’t take effect.
Then again, my bank information was floating around somewhere.
A month later I went back into the office and filled out a new form for our new bank. This time it was more crucial that Direct Deposit take effect because of our relocation. If it didn’t, then I would have to make this Bermuda Triangle of driving from Long Beach (home) to Newport Beach (work) to Irvine (office) and with gas prices being what they are, that wasn’t going to do.
Again, I was told that it would take 2 to 3 weeks for it to begin which was fine since we wouldn’t be in the new office by then.
After 3 weeks, I was still picking up physical checks and no, this is not a repeat from a few paragraphs up.
When something happens once, it’s an incident. When it happens more than that, it’s a pattern. And I had a problem with that. I asked Mitzi what was going on.
She was completely clueless to it all for as far as she was concerned, she just dropped all of my information into a swirling vortex of paperwork and, through some mystical event akin to harmonic convergence, the universe provided what she and I both needed.
But shit doesn’t work that way. If there is a problem, you have to look into it and not sit on your hands hoping for the best. This was, after all, my personal information that was being compromised and with all this stuff going on with Epsilon’s security breach, I was more than a bit concerned.
Mitzi then went on to explain that the paperwork may have gotten lost and that all she could do was call the Payroll Department and see if they could find it.
By now, I was livid but remained calm about things.
“Here’s the thing. This is the second time that this has happened. I trusted you with my information and twice it seems to have been lost or nobody can account for it. That’s not okay with me.”
Mitzi stared at me as I continued.
“We – our offices – are moving in a few weeks. If I don’t get this worked out, I will have to drive from the office either after my shift or during my lunch to get my check.”
“Yeah…” she said as if she had no better suggestions. “About the only thing I can do is…”
“Yeah yeah, call Payroll and see if they can find my paperwork. I’ve heard it all before.”
Mitzi then went on to explain that if I filled out yet another Direct Deposit form, she would fax it directly to Payroll and they could process it right away.
“There’s my problem. I’ve given it to you twice already and it seems to have been lost, disappeared…I don’t know. Either way, nobody knows where my paperwork went.”
By now, I was tired of the blanks stares I was getting so I had to make a move.
I asked for the name of her supervisor.
“Why do you want to talk to her? I can do whatever I can here to…”
“I think they need to know about what’s been going on here,” I said. “This is personal information that is being lost, not a Post-It note with the number to the local Chinese restaurant. They need to know about this.”
Mitzi looked worried and told me she would do whatever she could to make this final request as easy as possible.
“That’s fine and well. But I still need the name and number of your supervisor because, I’ll be blunt, I’m going to complain about you. I mean, you would have to agree that this is ridiculous, right? It’s just beyond my comprehension how this could have happened twice and you expect me to hand over my information to you again? Sorry, not happening.”
Reluctantly, Mitzi wrote the name of her supervisor on the back of her business card and explained to me that she couldn’t give me her cell phone number.
“Don’t worry; I’ll get it,” I told her.
Within 30 minutes of the event, I received a call from Mitzi’s boss. She asked what had happened and I explained. Even she had to agree that this had gone far beyond where it should have gone and that she was sorry for what happened.
Mitzi’s boss then told me that if I was willing to fill out the paperwork one more time, she would personally hand it to the Payroll Department and see to it that it was processed. I agreed and gave her the information.
And just a few days ago, Mitzi’s boss called me and told me that Direct Deposit should be active by the next paycheck. I couldn’t figure out why Mitzi found this so difficult.
In the end, however, it was decided that paychecks would be delivered to the new office, making Direct Deposit not as necessary as previously thought or at all. I fought the good fight for nothing, it seems.
But at least I exposed the alarming incompetence of the temp agency’s office staff in the process.