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    Archive for 2010

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    This Thief Is Booked

    | Bloomington, IN, USA |

    Customer: “Hey, I have an overdue charge on this book. Can I get it removed?”

    Me: “I’m sorry, but if you kept the book past the due date, then I can’t remove the charge.”

    Customer: “Then can I just keep the book?”

    Not So Beautiful Mind

    | Alberta, Canada |

    Customer: “Hi, I’m looking for a book based off a movie. Life is Beautiful, I think?”

    Me: “I don’t believe Life is Beautiful” was originally a book. Are you perhaps thinking of A Beautiful Mind?”

    Customer: “Yes! Yes that’s the one! Get me that one! It’s the one about World War II. And the guy is burned. And there’s a French Nurse. That’s the book I want!”

    Me: “That actually sounds like The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje. I can grab a copy of that for you!”

    Customer: “Yes! The English Patient. That sounds right. But Michael Ondaatje, that sounds like a foreign name. No, The English Patient wasn’t written by a foreigner. Do you have a copy that wasn’t written by Ondaatje? I want that story, but I want it written by a Canadian.”

    Me: “So you want a copy of The English Patient that is not written by Michael Ondaatje?”

    Customer: “Yes! That’s what I want. Do you have any copies of that story written by Margaret Atwood? I do like her.”

    Me: “No. I really don’t think we do.”

    Customer: “Oh. Do you think any of your other stores might?”

    Me: “I doubt it, ma’am.”

    Demand A Battery Of Tests ASAP

    | Boston, MA, USA |

    (A customer comes to pick up a phone they had dropped off for repair.)

    Customer: “I’m so glad it is working! What was the problem?”

    Me: “It just needed to be charged.”

    Customer: “No, it was fully charged Friday and then just died.  There must be something else wrong with it. Please look at it further.”

    Me: “Well I did. The battery was at 0%, in fact, you still will need to charge it for quite a while. It is working though.”

    Customer: “No, you keep it and keep looking.” *leaves*

    (The customer comes back two hours later. A co-worker handles it.)

    Customer: “So is it okay?”

    Coworker: “Yes, it turns out there was a problem with the phone’s N.R.G. We have corrected it.”

    Customer: “So that explains it!”

    Studying Post-Grammatic Stress

    | Bozeman, MT, USA |

    (I work for the university Psychology department where several labs have students participate in experiments. A girl is wandering around the hall looking lost.)

    Me: “Excuse me, but you look a little lost. Can I help you find something?”

    Volunteer: “Yeah, I signed up to participate in an experiment, but I don’t remember which one or what the requirements were.”

    Me: “Alright, that’s fine. We can look you up on one of our computers. Can I have your name?”

    Volunteer: “[Name].”

    (I go to the office computer and her name, the experiment and the requirements.)

    Me: “Alright, well it looks like you’re going to be in the lab down the hall and the only requirement is that you should be a native English speaker.”

    Volunteer: “Oh, but I don’t know that language.”

    Me: “What language?”

    Volunteer: “Native English, I’m not familiar with that language, only regular English. I’ll just go tell them I can’t do it. Thanks!”

    Money To Burn

    | United Kingdom |

    Caller: “I want to know why my gas bill is so high.”

    Me: “Ok, well looking at your account history I can see we have billed you accurate readings which show very high daily consumption. How many hours is your central heating in use per day?”

    Caller: “I never use my heating since my boiler started smelling of gas.”

    Me: “It sounds like you may have a gas leak in the property. I need you to call the gas emergency helpline as soon as you finish this call. Please extinguish any naked flames and try to turn off your electrical appliances if it is safe to do so.”

    Caller: “Is the leak causing my high bill?”

    Me: “How long have you been smelling gas?”

    Caller: “About 5 months.”

    Me: “Sir, that is a very dangerous amount of time to leave a gas leak unattended. Why did you not query this earlier?”

    Caller: “It didn’t seem important.”

    Me: “I cannot stress enough how important it is for you to call the emergency helpline straight away.”

    Caller: “Can’t we talk about my bill first?”


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