At Our Earliest Convenience
A year or more ago, we bought a recliner for my tired old bones to use from one of the local Macy owned department stores which came with a fabulous 7 year guarantee. The guarantee is held by an independent company which I believe likely farms out its work to some local area firm. What it's exact name is I'm not sure but "911" is part of its name.
The recliner is wonderful. Thanks to back surgery involving fusion of L3, L4, L5, and S1 and fixation with titanium rods and screws there is literally no position I can be in in a bed and not hurt. However, I can comfortably sit in all three recliner positions. Sadly, recently a spring broke. I called the guarantee company and they said someone would call me within two weeks and arrange a service call. Unfortunately, they wrote down our house phone number incorrectly so the call came in on my cell phone, which, unfortunately, I had turned off.
I called this local company back as they said to do and twice got their voice mail and twice it said they would call me back "at their earliest convenience." I was shocked. Try telling your significant other that you will do the dishes or call her or him back at your earliest convenience. See how far that gets you.
So far, their earliest convenience hasn't been even remotely close to my earliest convenience for a return call. So far, it has been three days and the earliest their earliest convenience can be will be Monday. However, given my smart ass response on my second exposure to this "earliest convenience" stuff it would probably be a mistake for me to expect a call on Monday. Since I am not sure I want someone repairing my recliner who, surely trying to be polite, doesn't realize that "at our earliest convenience" is not more polite than "at our earliest opportunity." So, I went to Home Depot and found a passable substitute for this broken spring and will try repairing the chair myself. Then I can wait comfortably for their earliest convenient access to a telephone to come about.
One thing can be said on the behalf of the "911" people. Most people who say that they will return your call at their earliest opportunity are probably lying. They probably mean that they will return the call at their earliest convenience. Perhaps, these are the only honest service people in town and I am just too snoty to realize it.