Battling Behemoths

Imagine it is the busiest time of the year for your company. There are two weeks left before New Years Eve, and you are negotiating deals and closing transactions at lightning speed to meet year-end deadlines.

With a lot of hard work and a bit of luck, all the pieces will fit precisely into place. You’ll get everything done and make your clients very happy. But then, a few minutes after 9 a.m., you get a call on your cell phone. A client tells you he can’t reach you on your business telephone lines. In fact, all of your incoming phone lines are down and a recorded message says that your phones have been disconnected. You pay your bills, so that’s not the problem. Something has gone horribly wrong. Not only is it difficult for your clients to reach you, but you fear what they must be thinking.

Your outgoing phone lines are working, so you call the phone company and get a recorded message. Finally, after an excruciating wait on hold, a live person answers. But she can’t help and transfers you to another person. You are put on hold again. I can’t help you, but let me transfer you to someone who can. Transfer. Hold. Can’t help, but… Transfer. Hold. Again and again the agony goes on. All of this happened to me and my law firm at the end of 2012.

We were battling a behemoth. And plenty of business people do every day. You could be a restaurant that loses power on a sunny day without the slightest of breezes and then watch the food in your freezer rotting away with no relief or response from your power company. You could 
be flying to a critical business meeting only to find your flight cancelled and the airline does not tell you until all of the competing airlines flights have left. You could be audited by the IRS and, even though you have paid all of your taxes, 
the examination drags on for months and you must respond to repeated requests for vast amounts of documentation. Or you may simply be seeking to renew a business license or file a document with a government agency, and the time for processing your request is so long it prevents you from getting your work done. It is as if the motto of these mammoth enterprises is “We’re not happy til you’re not happy!”

But you can do something about it.

Escalate, Baby Escalate 

If you’re not getting the help you need, go to the top of the organization. In one situation, I had a client with a problem with the Motor Vehicle Administration. The MVA erroneously believed his car was not registered. We spoke to half a dozen employees, none of whom could or would fix the problem. So I said I was calling about an important legal matter. Read more…

Jack Garson is the founder and a principal of the law firm Garson Claxton LLC in Bethesda, MD, and is also the author of “ How to Build a Business and Sell It for Millions .” Contact us at