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    Takes One To Serve One

    | CA, USA |

    Worker: “Thank you for calling [insurance company]. My name is [name]. How may I help you today?”

    Me: “Hi, my name is [full name]. I went online to get a quote from your company yesterday, and I would like to get my car insurance through you guys. My confirmation number is [number].”

    Worker: “Great! I can help set that up for you. Could I have your name and the last four numbers of your social security number?”

    (I repeat my name, not even thinking about it, and my social.)

    Worker: “Oh, wow, now I feel stupid. You already gave me your name! Wait… you didn’t get upset or anything; you just went along with the program.”

    Me: *laughs* “Yeah, I guess I didn’t even think anything of it.”

    Worker: “Well, I appreciate it. Most customers would have been upset, claiming I didn’t listen or whatever. Okay, next question: what is your area of employment?”

    Me: “I’m a customer service representative.”

    Worker: “Ah, no wonder.”

    That Makes Two Of Us

    | Las Vegas, NV, USA |

    Caller: “Hi, I’m returning a call here?”

    Me: “Yes? Are you looking for health insurance?”

    Caller: “Well, yes.”

    Me: “Great! Do you have the name of who called you? If not, I can just transfer you to an available agent.”

    Caller: “Well, that’s the thing. I have a note and it says Linda.”

    Me: “Okay, well—”

    Caller: “Do you have a Linda? Because my name is Linda, and I’m worried I just wrote my own name down.”

    Me: “We have a Linda. I’ll transfer you.”

    Caller: “Oh, thank goodness!”

    Mail Disorder

    | Los Angeles, CA, USA |

    (The office where I work is fairly small, which results in me overhearing the receptionists’ half of the phone conversations with some of our clients.)

    Coworker: “[Office's name], how can I help you?”

    (The client talks, coworker answers the usual questions.)

    Coworker: “Ma’am, I understand that but we can’t open your mail to check it for you.”

    (The client continues talking.)

    Coworker: “Yes, but as I said earlier, we can’t open your mail to check. It’s best that you get a P.O. box.”

    (The client is talking again and is apparently upset, as the coworker has a frustrated/annoyed look on her face.)

    Coworker: “Ma’am, you’ve called us many times in the past before, and we’ve said it many times before. We really recommend you to get a P.O. box, because we legally can not open your mail to check.”

    (Eventually, the client hangs up.)

    Me: “Not the first time?”

    Coworker: “Won’t be the last.”

    Causing A Storm

    | West Point, NY, USA |

    (The week after Hurricane Sandy, gas is rationed in several counties, including mine. I am a customer at a gas station on a military base. There are signs at every pump that say you must pay inside, 100% ID check, and ten gallon limit.)

    Me: *to the clerk* “$20 on pump one, please.”

    (As I say this, another customer storms inside.)

    Customer: “Excuse me! Why won’t the stupid pump take my card? I’ve been out there for five minutes, I don’t have time for this!”

    Clerk: “I’m very sorry. Pay-at-the-pump has been turned off until the gas shortage is over. I will be happy to process your transaction when I am finished helping this customer.”

    Customer: *nearly pushes me* “No, I was here first! I need $75 on pump 5, hurry up!”

    (The clerk finishes putting through my cash transaction and takes the customer’s credit card.)

    Clerk: “There is a limit of ten gallons per customer, and I must see your military ID before I can process you.”

    Customer: “What do you mean ten gallons?! I need to fill my car up! I have things to do today, and I don’t have my ID with me. It’s at home.”

    Clerk: “I’m sorry. I cannot sell you gas today without it.”

    Customer: “Listen you, my husband is a Colonel! I don’t have to take this from you. You will put $75 on my pump; I don’t have time for this!”

    (A military police officer has been listening to the whole exchange and walks over. Note that he is a specialist—a low-rank enlisted.)

    Military Police Officer: “Ma’am, these rules come down from the Base Commander. Please stop harassing the clerk, go get your ID, and come back.”

    Lady: “You can’t tell me what to do, specialist! I’m going to call my husband right now; I’ll have your rank! You’ll be doing extra duty for the next year!”

    Military Police Officer: “Actually, ma’am, I can tell you what to do. Why don’t we go talk about it at the MP Station? Your husband can come and pick you up from there.”

    Editor’s note: Although this story tells the lighter side of things, the devastation caused by Sandy is very serious. Click here to visit FEMA’s dedicated Sandy page and learn how you can donate and volunteer.

    Uncovering The Root Of The Problem

    | CA, USA |

    (A member calls the library regarding his account.)

    Caller: “It shows I still have a DVD on my account, and I was just wondering what that was. I could have sworn I turned them all in.”

    Me: “I see you have on your card Roots, disc #3.”

    Caller: “Hmm, that can’t be right. We only checked out discs #1 and #2, because we knew we wouldn’t have time to watch them all. There must me a mistake. We do not have Roots, disc #3.”

    Me: “Okay, let me go over to the shelf and see if it’s there…” *I check the shelf* “I have on my shelf discs #1, #2, and #4, but not #3. Are you certain you didn’t check it out, possibly at a different time?”

    Caller: “No! We do not have it! I already told you we only checked out the first two! If that’s all I took with me, how and why would I have disc #3?”

    Me: “I am not sure. Would you like me to transfer you to my supervisor. Maybe she can help you figure out the situation?”

    Caller: “No! I want you to fix it, because I don’t have that one!”

    Me: “Sir, unless the DVD is on the shelf, there is little that I can do other than give you more time to look for it, or transfer you to my supervisor so she can handle the matter for you.”

    Caller: “Well, aren’t you useless?!”

    Me: “Okay, just a moment.”

    (I transfer the caller to my supervisor. However, twenty minutes later, a man walks in. It’s clear from what he’s carrying he’s the same caller.)

    Man: *hands me ‘Roots’ disc #3 and walks away*


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