I’m Sorry, You Want My Dunce Number?

It began as one of those mornings. Nothing was going to be easy. Still, I mistakenly started my workday by making what I thought was a simple phone call.

Me: “Hello, I’m calling about completing our SAM registration.”

Woman on Phone: “Certainly, first may I have your name – first and last – your email, and phone number in case we get disconnected?”

I spell out and listen to her repeat all my information back to me.

Woman on Phone: “And do you go by Mr. Witkins?”

Me: *silence* … “Um, I’ll respond to MS. Witkins.”

Really?? I know it’s early in the morning, but my voice isn’t that low?
Have you listened to my vlog? I sound like a Jim Henson muppet!

Woman on Phone: *loud laughter* … *no apology given* … “And how can I help you today?”

Me: “I need to complete our SAM registration.”

Woman on Phone: “Alright ma’am, and what’s your dunce number?

Me: “My DUNCE number?”

This lady is not making friends with me this morning.

Woman on Phone: “Yes, ma’am. Every organization has their own Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number.”

Me: “Oh, DUNS number. I have no idea.”

Shit. Maybe I should have a DUNCE number.

Woman on Phone: “No problem, I can give you the number to look up your DUNS number and you can call back here when you have it.”

Me: “So, I look up my DUNS number and then I can call back here to complete our SAM registration?”

Woman on Phone: “Yes, ma’am.”

Lies! She told me lies!

The next half of my morning was spent taking a variety of background checks and chatting on the phone with more women assuring me this was how I register our SAM account.

FYI, a SAM account is used for any agency that receives federal funding. It’s the registry that proves you are who you say you are, and funds are sent through that registry. My nonprofit employer needed to update our account, but the problem it seems is that our registry was logged under an employee who is no longer with our agency. So I was trying to access our account and update the necessary info.

These are the faces I made during the following process.

Dealing With Customer Service Reps

First step: Call 2nd phone number and ask for agency’s DUNS number. Get told they don’t give DUNS numbers out over the phone, but they’ll email me the website link to look it up online.

Second step: Go to the website which forced me to complete an online background check in which I was asked a series of multiple choice questions about my identity – not my agency – MY identity. What are the first two digits of my social security number? What county was I born in?

Third step: Now answer 4 more random security questions.

Fourth step: Pass the background check! Acquire DUNS number! Find out DUNS number was in original email requesting SAM registration all along.

Fifth step: Hit head on desk.

Sixth step: Call back to original SAM registration line. Give them DUNS number.

Seventh step: Become informed that I must create an account on the SAM registration website.

Eighth step: Do that.

Ninth step: Become informed I must submit a notarized letter signed by the head of my agency confirming I am who I say I am in order to be approved as the new agency account administrator.

Tenth step: Hit head on desk more.

Eleventh step: Write letter to be notarized. Get boss to sign it.

Twelfth step: Get letter notarized by a lady at the bank.

Thirteenth step: Discover the bank lady uses an embossed notary seal, not an inked one. So this will never show up when I scan it and send it to the federal government.

Fourteenth step: Scan letter anyway and email to government. Become informed I must create an account on a third website for that day.

Fifteenth step: Go home. The federal government hates me.

How was YOUR morning?

16 responses

  1. I have to deal with multiple state agencies, so I know exactly what you’re going through. Ah, the red tape!

    1. Thank goodness, I’m not alone!

  2. I’m just still stuck on the MR. Witkins thing. Seriously, I’ve heard you speak, and you’re very clearly a LADY.

    1. Today I received an email addressed to Mr. Jeff Witkins. #HeadDesk

  3. Catherine Johnson | Reply

    Oh my gosh that’s a funny story. I can’t believe she didn’t apologise.

    1. Right??! She just laughed. Really loud!

  4. Are you allowed to drink at work?? 😉

    1. LOL. I like the way you think Deanne.

  5. Is this like the kind of thing where no one will hire you because you have no experience and you can’t get experience because no one will hire you?

    1. I can see the similarities! Geez!

      P.S. In future, Heidi, if you want me to reply to your comments, I’ll need the first 2 digits of your social security number, a notarized letter, and say…the stump of a birch tree. 😉

  6. Oh my gosh!! I would have gone right back to bed. There is nothing worse than getting the run around on the phone. You at least got to speak to an actual human (though she was insulting and no help). How frustrating. The picture with your finger on your nose is the one I vote for to represent your whole experience! LOL.

    1. I should’ve attached it to the notarized letter.

  7. Good lord. You had to jump through more hoops than…umm…a person who jumps through lots of hoops.

    OK, my analogies kinda suck today.

    Maybe *I* need a dunce number.

    1. First you’ll need a notarized letter…

  8. Very funny, Mr Witkins!

    1. I’ll tell my father you said so.

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