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    Forming A Theory

    | Helsinki, Finland | Extra Stupid

    (I’m a lawyer in a small firm. We send out documents in an envelope with our address stamped on it, and with prepaid postage fees. The society where I live operates on trust, and the postal service has stopped stamping sent mail. If you are the dishonest type, you can send the same envelope multiple times for free, but you’d have to put a sticker or something on the previous address. I get a call from an irate client.)

    Customer: “What is the matter with you!”

    Me: “What seems to be the problem?”

    Customer: “Why do you keep sending me this same form over and over again?! Are you out of your minds?! If I filled it wrong you could attach some advice as how to fill it, and not just the same form again and again! And further, this envelope of yours is in a disgraceful state. I’m at the end of my patience here!”

    Me: “I’m very sorry that this has happened to you. Could I please have your name so I can check what the problem is?”

    Customer: “Well okay, but you should know who I am since you seem to send me mail every single day!”

    (I check the records. Only one letter has been sent to the customer.)

    Me: “I don’t know how this could have happened, since I’m pretty sure we’ve only sent you one letter.”

    Customer: “You are wrong! This same letter keeps coming and coming. You are sending it to me!”

    Me: “I’m sorry, but I would know if I’m sending you mail every day. And furthermore if we get a legal document from a client that has been filled wrong, we always call and give advice on how to fill it. Could you please go over the document, and I’ll see if there is anything wrong with it.”

    Customer: “Fine!”

    (We go over the form, and all seems to be fine.)

    Me: “Thank you very much for your patience. Everything on the form seems to be correct. I can’t think of any reason why it would get sent back to you. Could you go over the whole procedure of how you are sending it back to us?”

    (She goes over the whole thing in detail…)

    Customer: “…and then I glue the envelope back shut again.”

    Me: “Excuse me, but did you say you use glue to shut the envelope again? What does it say on the envelope you are trying to send us?

    Customer: “It says [her own name and address], of course!”

    Me: “So, you are carefully opening the letter we used to send you the form. Then you reuse it to send the form back to us, instead of the attached envelope meant for return mail? You do realize that the envelope goes to the address that is actually on the envelope?”

    (There is a long silence and sounds of paper rustling.)

    Customer: “You really should write clearer instructions on how to return these d*** forms!” *click*