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    Not Really Our Calling

    | Irvine, CA, USA |

    (I am a server. It is slowing down during my shift, and I’m usually happy to talk with my customers. I have a well-meaning elderly couple at my table. I was born and raised here, college educated, and speak in a standard American dialect, almost valley girl sounding when I get giddy.)

    Me: “So, is everything tasting great?”

    Old man: “Yes, thank you. So, I’m curious, where are you from?”

    (What he really wants to know, is what kind of non-white race am I.)

    Me: “My parents are from India.”

    Old man: “Oh! Indian, huh? Well, your English is very good. You should work in those, uh, those call centers… yeah! Because every time I call customer service, I can hardly understand what they are saying!”

    Me: “Um… thank you, but that’s really not… uh… my area of interest.”

    Old man: *shrugs* “Ah, well.”

    Me: *forced, polite smile* “I’ll be back to check on you in a bit…”

    Resistance To Assistance

    | Edinburgh, Scotland, UK |

    (I’m in a quite upmarket department store in Edinburgh, buying a new camera, and the store operates a concierge service for the assistants. You speak to a desk, and they arrange for a trained assistant to come and deal with you personally. I have been placed on the list and am awaiting my assistant at the camera desk, when a woman walks up to the opposite and just stands there. Five minutes later, the assistant arrives to help me.)

    Assistant: “Hi there, sir. How can I help you?”

    Other Customer: “Excuse me, I’ve been stood here five minutes and he’s been here two. You should be helping me first!”

    Assistant: “I’m sorry. This gentleman has requested assistance from the concierge. Have you arranged for an assistant?”

    Other Customer: “Yes, I did before him so you should be dealing with me first!”

    Assistant: “I’m so sorry. If you have arranged for an assistant, then one should be along shortly. However, I have been assigned to assist with this gentleman.”

    (Five minutes pass, and the other customer is getting annoyed just standing there. The assistant is taking me through various different features of the cameras. Suddenly the other customer walks around to my side of the counter and interrupts.)

    Other Customer: “Listen, I was here first! I should be helped!”

    Assistant: “I’m sure your assistant will be here shortly.”

    Other Customer: “This boy shouldn’t even be in here. He is clearly going to steal whatever it is you are trying to sell.”

    Me: “Excuse me? I’m 26, not a boy, and I was here at least 10 minutes before you!”

    Other Customer: “You’re lying! I saw you walk up to the counter after me!”

    Me: “Yes, because I was coming back from the concierge desk over there, after booking my assistant. I was here for ten minutes before that having a look around, and you were nowhere to be seen. In fact, you bumped into me whilst I was at the desk as you came off the escalator and didn’t apologise. You haven’t been anywhere near the desk to arrange an assistant, so that’s why no one has come to help you.”

    Other Customer: “It’s a shop! You don’t need to book an assistant! I’m more important than you, so I should be treated first! I’ve just left work because I’m sick and I need to have this sorted now!”

    Me: “So, you’ve not arranged an assistant even though you were standing next to two signs that said ‘If you require assistance please speak with the concierge’, and you have been stood there for ten minutes complaining about no service. You’re ill, so you thought it would be a good idea to come into a store with hundreds of other people for you to infect today, and potentially hundreds more another day because you’re getting your germs everywhere. You’re claiming you’re better than me despite the fact that I read the signs, have been patient and calm, and have not done anything to suggest I’d steal other than wearing casual clothing?”

    (The other customer then leaves in a huff, walks to the concierge and arranges the assistant. One minute later, an assistant comes to help her.)

    Other Customer: “I’ve been waiting for you for 20 minutes! The customer service here is horrendous! I want to speak to your manager!”

    Assistant #2: “Actually, I am the floor manager today. I was informed of your outburst and I was asked to deal with you as no other assistant wished to deal with your attitude, and your illness. I am fully aware that you only asked for an assistant less than two minutes ago, but have been stood at the desk next to the signs telling you what to do for ten minutes. I am happy to help you, but please try to keep calm or I will have security escort you from the building. Also, please do not touch any products or surfaces as we do not want our customers to get ill.”

    (The other customer was quite shocked, but clearly took on board everything the manager said. Her issue was dealt with, which was to find out what type of memory card her camera would take, which happened to be the cheapest model the shop sold. I left shortly after with my new, high-end DSLR at a discount because of the hassle.)

    All Sighs Point To No

    | MD, USA |

    (A lady calls and complains to our store.)

    Me: “Good Afternoon, [name of store]. How can I help you?”

    Customer: “Yes, I would like to speak with a manager!”

    Me: “Sure, no problem!”

    Manager: “Hello, this is [name]. How can I help you?”

    Customer: “Yes, I was just in your store eating my lunch in your little cafe, and your cashier on register #11 offended me.”

    Manager: “I’m sorry, ma’am. What did she do to offend you?”

    Customer: “She yawned.”

    Manager: “I’m sorry?”

    Customer: “She yawned, and I was so offended that I could not eat my lunch. She should not be paid to just stand there and yawn.”

    Manager: “Uhm…” *dumbfounded*

    Customer: “I did not want to say anything to her because she was very large.”

    Manager: “Okay ma’am, I will tell her to stop yawning and to get more sleep at night.”

    Customer: “Thank you so much!” *hangs up*

    May The Customers Be Ever In Your Favor

    , | Auckland, NZ |

    (I work at a very busy fast food chain, so we often take our customers’ names and call them to the counter when their food is ready.)

    Me:” Your name please, ma’am?”

    Customer: “Primrose Everdeen.”

    Me: “Thank you, could you please wait by the window? We’ll call you up when your meal is ready.”

    (At this point, I’m thinking that this customer is a bit strange, but I let it pass. A few minutes pass.)

    Coworker: “Primrose Everdeen.”

    Customer: “I volunteer!”

    Related:
    May The Employees Be Ever In Your Favor

    Discussing Green Cards Until You’re Red In The Face

    | MI, USA |

    (I work in a drug store as a photo tech. Part of my job is taking passport photos. I take the photo then run it through a software program to ensure it meets standards for a passport photo. I have no leeway on the size of the photo. I cannot make it smaller or larger.)

    Customer: “I need a Green Card photo.”

    Me: “I can’t do Green Card photos.”

    Customer: “But I need a Green Card photo.”

    (He speaks pretty decent English, and his accompanying wife speaks flawless English.)

    Me: “I’m sorry; I’m not even sure where you would go for that. It needs to be taken in a very specific way and I don’t have the software to do a Green Card photo.”

    Customer: “Just take the photo!”

    Me: “I can take a passport photo for you, but it won’t be the right size.”

    Customer: “Take the photo!”

    Me: “I’ll take a passport photo for you, but it won’t be what you need.”

    (The customer speaks to his wife in their native language.)

    Customer’s Wife: “Shut up, she knows what she’s doing.”

    Me: “I actually don’t, because we don’t do Green Card photos and I assure you, this is not going to be what you need. This photo will be too large to use.”

    Customer’s Wife: “You’ll do fine, dear.”

    (I take the photo, explain to them again it will not be what they need. At their insistence, I process the photo and tell them as it develops it will not be what they need. I hand the finished product over.)

    Customer: “It’s not the right size!”

    Me:” I know. I do not have the capability to do a proper Green Card photo. This is the smallest photo I can make for you.”

    Customer: “It’s too big!” *brandishes credit card at me, mistaking it for Green Card* “This size, this size!”

    (I decide to make one last attempt at explaining this before I call my manager, who I love but I know is having a bad day.)

    Me: “I do not have Green Card specification software. The only identification photos I can take accurately are passport photos. My computer is not capable of making a Green Card photo.”

    Customer: *pauses* “Well, why the h*** didn’t you just tell me that?!”

    Me: “I did, love. Five separate times. Have a great day, folks!”


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