Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Confession of a Procrastinator

I always say I work well with deadlines, but the truth is that without a deadline, I will keep on putting off doing something FOREVER. It’s one of my fatal flaws, I know, but recently, when I least expected it, it actually worked in my advantage.

A couple of months ago (September to be exact) my stupid Cartier Tank watch broke down again. This time also after a plane ride (this had happened before but being the procrastinator that I am, I put off having it checked). I was in Singapore for a wedding (Hi Imelda!) and after I came back my three-thousand-dollar-piece-of-crap (TTDPOC) stopped ticking again! It took me another month to send it in to the Cartier boutique in Shibuya because it is just so darn far (one stop on the subway) and I just didn’t have the time (I pass by Shibuya every week for my kimono lesson and sometimes go there on weekends too). Two weeks later, the boutique called back to tell me that they found the problem, and brace yourself for this: the TTDPOC had stopped because it was affected by magnetic forces. Dumbfounded, I asked where could the magnetic forces possibly be coming from? I went to Singapore, not to the center of the earth! The salesperson proceeded to tell me with a straight face (I imagined he had a straight face on at the other end of the line) that it could be a number of household appliances, such as microwaves, cellular phones, even PCs. So I am supposed to take off my watch when I make a phone call now? Ridiculous! But the best part is yet to come. They want $350 dollars to repair it. Do they realize for that amount of money you can buy a pretty nice watch? Flabbergasted, I told him to hold off the repair and let me think about it. And I took my time thinking.

This is not the first time the TTDPOC had broken down. It happened a year ago too, and I spent over $100 to have it fully checked and serviced. Now barely one year had passed and it’s on strike again? After “thinking” about it (procrasnating) for about a month, I decided that the TTDPOC is really a bottomless pit for me to throw money at. I am convinced that it’s a flawed piece to start with and there is no guarantee that it won’t break down again the next time I take a flight. I made up my mind to make a complaint to Cartier and wrote to my friend who works for the Cartier group and got some names.

It took me another couple of weeks to call the boutique and tell them that I decided not to fix the TTDPOC and asked for it back, along with all the service records. The girl on the phone seemed concerned that I wanted service records and said it would take another four days to get the watch back from the service center. Why would it take four days, you procrastinator! However, I was in no mood to bicker, plus what use do I have for the TTDPOC even if I got it back? So I decided to be big about it and let it go, but told her to call me once the TTDPOC returns to the boutique. I then went on my business trip to Shanghai.

After coming back to Narita airport, while waiting for my luggage to come out, I turned on my phone and found a message on it. It was from Cartier, the same guy who told me about the mysterious magnetic force fields that surround us. He blabbered on and apologized for quite a while before getting to the point: by the time I told them I didn’t want the TTDPOC repaired, the service center had already done it; since it’s their mistake, they are not going to charge me for it. Hmmm, how about that! Maybe I had always known that sometimes it pays to be patient (lazy) and waiting for the perfect time to do something (procrastinating) can have its rewards.

It has been a week since I got the message but I still haven’t found the time to go pick up my now functioning Tank watch. This time I gave myself a deadline: Friday, December 17th, just in time to test it the next day on our flight home.


Hsin said...

I'm the master when it comes to procrastination and I haven't had such good luck. Good for you. I thought threats don't work here in Japan - well, I guess it didn't really in your case, but your timing was perfect!

Lynn said...

Actually, threats work, as I found out from our car-buying experience. When the dealership missed delivering our Harrier by almost a month, I threatened to back out on the sales. So they agreed to our demand and gave us an interim Harrier to drive until ours is delivered (a better model too) and a three-year free service package. They even threw in a one-year road-side service contract with JAF. So next time, do make threats. You never know.