Another successful customer service interaction (and vocabulary lesson.)

I was cracking myself up on the phone with Apple support just now because I had a bizarre problem with my Apple ID login, and I managed to work my way up the customer service chain of command and all of them just kept hmmmmming into the phone and then went to find their supervisors. Somehow, my Apple ID and trusted device became associated with a phone number I've never had, which meant I couldn't log into any of my systems because the 2 factor authentication sent a code to a number I couldn't access. I'd only set that up to begin with in order to protect myself from weirdos hoping to find boobs in my cloud (I hope you're rightly disappointed, jerks), and yet somehow the cloud locked me out so I couldn't even look at my own mythical cloud boobs. And then I didn't know the number, so I couldn't even confirm the number to access the account. It's basically like I blacked out and instead of drunk dialing my mom, I changed my Apple ID phone number, because obviously that's what you do when you're blackout drunk and bored. 

Apple won't let me use my Croatian number to call American Apple Support (and Croatian Apple Support didn't understand when I kept shouting REPRESENTATIVE!!!! at the voice robot.) Ultimately, I had to use the Skype app to dial American Apple from spotty Croatian internet, which would have been fine except for when I had to read off my serial number to the engineer I was speaking to. It's 12 characters long and mostly letters, and I don't know any of the official "A as in Alpha" descriptors so I just blurted out whatever came to my mind. 

ENGINEER: Ma'am, can you give me your serial number associated with your account? In this case, your phone. 

ME: No problem! One second...let me find it. Got it. Ready? 

ENGINEER: Yep. Go ahead 

ME: Ok. P as in pedantic.

Engineer: I'm sorry, what?

Me: P as in pedantic. You know, like obsessed with details. Ok, um, P as in polyglot. 

ENGINEER: Oh. Ok. Continue.

ME: C as in celery. Shit, that's a soft C and not at all helpful in this situation. C as in charmander. Wait! C as in cat! That's it. Cat. 

ENGINEER: Yes, C as in cat. Go on. 

ME: The number 1. A as in aristocrat. Then F, uh, F as in fornication.

ENGINEER: --silence--

ME: I'm sorry, I couldn't help myself. The next character is 4. Then Q. Q as in, uh, I don't know, quince? Quagmire? L as in lingonberry. I could go for some pie right now. A quince lingonberry pie. I'm sorry, I'm not helpful. 

ENGINEER: Oh, you're fine. 

ME: Eight. S as in...holy crap, my chandelier looks like a hipster swastika. Seriously. I'm sorry, I just noticed this. You should see it. I don't live here. I didn't decorate it. I need you to understand that. Don't worry about it. Um. S as in Sam. 

It's real and I noticed in the middle of this conversation. 

It's real and I noticed in the middle of this conversation. 

This went on until we were done and followed with followed by five minutes of silence. And another hmmmmm. 

ENGINEER: The problem is, ma'am, that it won't let me into the system either unless we have that number. 

ME: So those recovery codes iCloud gave me when I signed up are useless? What if I'd been in a mysterious accident and didn't have any memory of my phone number, but the answer to what happened to me was in a photograph in the cloud? Are you telling me I'd have to hire some 15 year old basement hacker to get it for me because Apple can't do it? 

ENGINEER: I just don't know. This is weird. I'll have to send a message to my supervisor. 

At this point I'd gone through the usual Apple Support staff, the Senior support staff, and now I was in Engineer territory. I'm rather proud of this accomplishment. We never had to go higher though, because at this point we figured out that the codes were getting sent to my burner phone and that my AppleID became associated with my Malaysian phone number when I left my phone in an Uber back in Kuala Lumpur. I'm still not entirely sure how that happened, especially in light of the fact that my Malaysian SIM card is no longer active, but whatever, I finally got back into my account. And I taught the engineer all about quince and lingonberries. And fornication. And hipster swastikas. Another successful customer service interaction.