Or, "Learning to check in online the night before"
Got in to Chicago Monday morning around 7:30 and volunteered to get bumped from my 8:30 flight (which they had oversold by 20) in exchange for getting on the next flight and getting a free ticket. When it was time for the next flight, I went to the counter to check my status and they didn't even have me on the list. I went to customer services to find out what happened and came to find out that my information had never been processed. After much discussion with the agent and her supervisor, I got a seat on the flight at 9:45.
Around 9:25, I went to the gate and handed my boarding pass to an agent in order to board the flight but was then informed that my seat had already been assigned and I would not be able to fly. I was given a choice: either wait approx. 6 hours for a seat on the next-available flight to SFO or be routed through Los Angeles. I opted for the latter.
At 12:30, I arrived in Los Angeles and around 1:30, I went to get on my 2 o'clock flight when I noticed a message on my cell that the flight had been cancelled. I spent another 45 mins waiting in line at the customer service desk in order to get rebooked for the flight at 2:54.
I finally made it home at 5.
In hindsight, I only had a "Departure Management Card" for the 8:30 flight in Chicago which, asking around, seems to indicate that I was never supposed to even get a free flight because I was never supposed to get a seat to begin with.