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  • September Theme Of The Month: Overheard!

    Category: Top

    The Route Of Shared Pain

    | USA | Awesome Customers, Awesome Workers, Technology, Top

    (I work tech support in a call centre, which can involve long and draining days. I take a break and head down to the mall adjacent to us and am browsing some items in an electronic store. Many of the items are the same ones I provide technical support for. I approach an employee to ask a question about a sale they have on their wireless routers.)

    Me: “Hi, I wanted to ask about these wireless routers.”

    Employee: *suddenly looking scared* “…Yes?”

    Me: “I notice the sale is for the tri-band routers, but does it also apply to the quad-band?”

    Employee: *looking surprised* “Oh. Sorry, it’s just I’ve been asked very different kinds of questions today.”

    Me: “Let me guess. They’re surprised you have to plug them in because they should be ‘wireless?'”

    Employee: “Yes! How did you know?”

    Me: “I work tech support across the street. I had a call today asking why the ‘box of Internet’ had to talk to the clouds, and ‘why was the Internet all the way up there in the first place?'”

    Employee: “Can… can I give you a hug?”

    Not Cut Out To Be Good Customers

    | Shreveport, LA, USA | At The Checkout, Awesome Workers, Top

    (It’s noon and there’s a huge sale on so naturally the store has quite a few customers.)

    Employee: *as she dashes from the cutting table to the register* “I’ll be right back, sweetie! Let me just check out those two ladies, okay?”

    (I nod and patiently wait the few minutes it takes for her to cash out the other customers.)

    Employee: *slightly breathless as she returns* “Whoo! I’m getting my exercise today!” *smiles brightly* “How much of this did you need, miss?”

    Me: “Three yards please, ma’am.” *glancing around at all the other customers* “Where’s your help? They had to know it’d be busy today with the sale and all.”

    Employee: *as she cuts* “Well, there’s supposed to be another girl here but she called about ten minutes ago and said she has a flat so I don’t know when she’ll be in.” *tags and passes over my fabric* “Here you go. Just let me know when you’re ready to check out, okay?”

    Me: *nods* “Sure. I just remembered something else I needed.”

    (I pick up the thread I needed then wander about the store a bit looking at the sale items near the register. Two older women walk up to the register and just stand there for about ten minutes.)

    Customer #1: *wrinkles her nose* “The service here is awful.”

    Customer #2: *purses her lips* “It is. I knew we should have gone to [Store’s other location] instead.”

    (The two customers toss their large amounts of fabric and notions on the counter then flounce out the door. I walk back to the cutting table where the employee has just finished up with another customer.)

    Employee: “Are you ready to check out yet, hon?”

    Me: “Yes, ma’am, and I thought I’d let you know those two women left all their stuff at the register. Sorry.”

    (We return to the register and she puts the fabrics and notions aside.)

    Employee: “Now those will go in the remnants.” *sighs* “I told them to tell me when they were ready and I’d come up here!”

    Me: *rolls eyes* “I guess they thought they were too good to come to you.”

    (She rings up items with a smile.)

    Employee: “Your total is $38.57.”

    Me: *stares at her in disbelief* “That can’t be—”

    Employee: *suddenly sounding nervous* “But the fabric was on sale for $12 a yard—”

    Me: *cutting her off as I cover my face with one hand* “And the pattern was on sale for $1. The rest is taxes and the thread.” *grins sheepishly* “I thought it should be MORE! I forgot that the pattern was on sale!”

    Employee: “Oh!” *looks visibly relieved then scans something near her register* “Since you’re so nice and waited so patiently, I’m giving you the 10% student discount! Your new total is $34.71!”

    Me: “You don’t have to do that! I really did think it should have been more! I wasn’t trying for a discount!”

    Employee: *smiling* “I know but you could have just left like those others did. So, cash or card, miss?”

    (This is my new favorite location because she is always so sweet!)

    You’re My Number One Problem

    | MI, USA | Home Improvement, Pets & Animals, Top

    (I overhear the following conversation between a resident and the manager of our building. The resident is notorious for being a nuisance, and for letting his yippy little rat of a dog relieve herself everywhere, both in his apartment, and in common areas.)

    Resident: “The carpet in my apartment needs to be cleaned. It smells awful!”

    Manager: “Maintenance deep cleaned it a month ago; it’s really smelling again?”

    Resident: “Yes! It’s disgusting. You need to find staff who know how to clean things properly. I’m paying far too much to live in a smelly apartment.”

    Manager: “The last time the carpet was cleaned, maintenance reported that the smell appeared to come from dozens of urine stains. Perhaps if your dog were to stop urinating on the carpet, the smell wouldn’t come back.”

    Resident: “What!? My precious little [cutesy dog name] is housebroken, and I walk her several times a day! How dare you blame her? You people have been trying to get rid of her for years, and I won’t stand for it!”

    Manager: “Oh, I’m sorry; I shouldn’t have made that assumption about [cutesy dog name]. Perhaps if YOU stop peeing on the carpet, the smell won’t return.”

    That’s No Way To Talk To A Customer

    | CA, USA | At The Checkout, Health & Body, Top

    (I’m the customer in this story. I’m checking out at a grocery store and the cashier has a sign out that reads ‘I’ve lost my voice. Please work with me.’)

    Cashier: *nods at me by way of greeting; points to the sign*

    Me: *nods and give thumbs up to indicate that I saw it*

    Cashier: *scans a bottle of wine; pantomimes opening his wallet*

    Me: *wordlessly show him my ID*

    Cashier: *holds up a bag; raises eyebrow to ask if I want one*

    Me: *nods; hold up one finger*

    Me: *out loud* “Oh… I guess I can still talk, huh?”

    Cashier: *smiles and writes me a quick note on a scrap of paper*

    Note: “Don’t feel bad. You’re at least the 10th person today.”

    Security Disservice

    , | Sydney, NSW, Australia | Awesome Workers, Top

    (In telephone banking service, one of the most frustrating experiences are people who fail the security questions. They want security, but they also want to be able to access their accounts if they can’t remember things like recent transactions, or the phone number from six houses ago that they didn’t bother to update with us. I am on my train home, and I happen to sit down in front of a man on his phone, obviously answering and then failing security for a bank.)

    Caller: “Well, that’s my address NOW! I don’t care what you have there. Look! My name is [Name], I was born on [date]! My mother’s maiden name is [Other Name]! Now, please help me!”

    (Silence, presumably a reply from the service rep.)

    Caller: “But you need to come up with something to help people when they can’t answer these questions!”

    (Some silence.)

    Caller: “Well why can’t you sort something out for me?! LOOK! Just send me a new d*** credit card at [address repeated loudly, slowly, and clearly]! Now send it because it expires this month! Send it or I’ll call the Ombudsman!”

    (Realising he’s hung up, I spin around.)

    Me: “Hi! I work as a banking call centre rep and I often come across this situation. Tell me, what solution do you have in mind?”

    Caller: “Uh… what? Solution?”

    Me: “You just said that there should be something in place to help people access their accounts when they can’t answer the security questions. Well, now’s your chance. I work as a service agent and I’m also part of the decision making and testing process for new procedures. You want something set up to enable people who can’t answer security questions to be able to access accounts. Now, keeping both fraud compliance and the legal obligation to safeguard people’s information and money, what do you have in mind?”

    Caller: “Well, there should be another system…”

    Me: “You are absolutely correct. Can you describe it?”

    Caller: “I…”

    Me: “Where I am, we have some procedures. We can send a One Time PIN to your mobile phone. Does the bank have your current phone number? I gathered they can’t verify your address.”

    Caller: “No, I haven’t given out this phone numb—”

    Me: “I see. So if I gather correctly, you haven’t updated your address and phone numbers with them in some time. What else did they ask?”

    Caller: “My date of birth, and a recent transaction.”

    Me: “Okay, did you remember a recent transaction?”

    Caller: “No! Why should I be expected to remember that?”

    Me: “Why indeed? Tell me, did you give them an account number?”

    Caller: “NO! I don’t have any statements from them because I haven’t gotten mail in years!”

    Me: “Okay, so let me recap. You’ve called up to ask for a replacement credit card to be sent out to your new address. You weren’t able to provide an account number, the agent found you by name and date of birth. You were unable to provide the address they have on their system, they were unable to confirm your return mobile number because you haven’t given it to them. Moving on, you were unable to name any recent activity on the card that only you have access to. Do you not see how this would trip some red flags for a person who has to remain vigilant for fraud?”

    Caller: “Well, yeah… but—”

    Me: “But yes, your solution – which is?”

    Caller: “What?”

    Me: “You said there needs to be another way. So after we’ve recapped your specific situation, what would you suggest?”

    (At this point, his eyes narrow and he gives me a filthy look.)

    Caller: “Now you listen here, you smart a—”

    Me: “Has it occurred to you that the person making your life difficult is you? Have you not realised in that exchange and in this conversation, you are admitting all the areas where you let yourself down and placed all the blame on the person doing their job instead of where it all belongs, with you?”

    Caller: “Now just hold on a min—”

    Me: “No, you hold on. Maybe take the time to take your card out of your pocket, think about the last time you used it and maybe have a think about your last known address, call back, and be polite instead of a whining jerk.”

    (Another intense stink eye, I notice my stop coming up.)

    Me: “Catch this train often. I had a great time telling you off. It melted all the day’s stress away! Bye now!”

    (I alighted from the train, waving back as I got the most awful glare.)

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