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    I Don’t Work Here, Does Not Work Here, Part 15

    | Canberra, ACT, Australia | Extra Stupid, School

    (I am a PhD student. It is 7 pm on Friday night, and everyone is down at the pub, except for me. I have just come back from an experiment. To my great surprise one of my coworkers is still at her desk.)

    Me: “Oh, you’re still here.”

    Coworker: “I’m about to go. A guy called your phone just now, looking for Mr. ‘No-One-Who-Works-In-Our-Office.’”

    Me: “Huh. Must have got the wrong number.”

    Coworker: *suddenly looking pained* “I tried to tell him that. But it was really weird. He said he would call back in a few minutes, though. I think you better wait to speak to him. Anyway, I’m off. See you Monday!”

    (I get on with some paperwork. About 20 minutes later, the call comes.)

    Me: “Hello, this is room [Room Name]. You’re speaking to—”

    Caller: “Hello. Please pass me on to Mr [Name].”

    (I don’t recognize the name.)

    Me: “Ah, it is you! You called before. I’m afraid you got the wrong number—”

    Caller: “This is about my son. I want Mr. [Name] to send me the financial statements for his enrollment. It is a very urgent matter and I want them immediately.”

    Me: “Yes, I’m afraid you have the wrong number. There’s no person by that name in this office. I think my colleague was trying to tell you before—”

    Caller: “So, he is out? In that case, I will give you my son’s name and student number and you will tell Mr [Name] to telephone me as soon as he returns. My son’s name is—”

    Me: “I’m afraid I can’t do that for you. I have never heard of that person, so I wouldn’t be able to pass anything on to him. It sounds to me like you want to get admin or accounts or someone like that.”

    Caller: “That’s right. I am calling international accounts.”

    Me: “Erm, I’m afraid you’re not. This is one of the PhD offices. You have the wrong number. Actually, hang on, let me find the right number for you—”

    (I pull up the university search page to find the right number for him. I am quite new myself and know that it can be a confusing system, especially since it sounds like English is not the caller’s first language. Before I can get it for him, however, he starts shouting.)

    Caller: “How can I have the wrong number? HOW? I cannot understand how this can happen.”

    Me: “Maybe you wrote it down wrong? Or pressed the wrong button? I don’t know how because, well, I’m not you. But I’m trying to get the right one for you.”  

    Caller: “Mr [Name] told me to call this number. How can he tell me the wrong number? What sort of institution is this? It is completely unprofessional! This is how things are run in this country. Every time I call it is like this, some excuse to waste my time. I called only two minutes ago and was speaking to Mr [Name], and he told me to call this number back. He wouldn’t give me the wrong number. You are just trying to slack off work! You are lying so you don’t have to help me!”

    Me: “Erm, I don’t know what to say to you except that you definitely have it wrong somehow. There are only six people in this office and he’s not one of them. And you didn’t call this office two minutes ago because I was here and the phone didn’t ring. Unless you mean about 20 minutes ago, in which case you would have called [Coworker], who is a girl and is definitely not the guy you’re looking for. It sounds to me like you simply got the wrong number somehow. I’m sure he wouldn’t have given it to you deliberately, but maybe he made a mistake. It’s pretty easy to do.”

    Caller: “So, are refusing to help me?”

    Me: “I’m not sure that I can, really. But I’ve been trying to find the right number through the university website for you so—”

    Caller: “I don’t want to call again. You will write down my son’s name like I told you and find out about his accounts for me.”

    Me: “I beg your pardon?”

    Caller: “Write down his name and find out the information I want. Then call me back straight away as this is a very urgent matter. I will give you my phone number. I don’t want to call back here again. I am overseas and it is too expensive and have been wasting too much of my time and money already!”

    Me: “But they’re closed. It’s 7:30 on a Friday night! And—”

    Caller: “So do it on Monday morning! But do it first thing and call me as soon as possible.”

    Me: “And I don’t even work in accounts!”

    Caller: “What?”

    Me: “I don’t work there. There I do not work. Work there, I do not. I am a student. I am not responsible for helping you find out about your son. They don’t pay my wages. I don’t work in accounts! This is not an accounts office!”

    Caller: “You… don’t work for accounts?”

    Me: *relieved* “Yes! That’s what I’ve been trying to say!”

    Caller: “THEN WHY HAVE YOU BEEN WASTING MY TIME?!”

    (He hangs up. Another coworker walks in to find me still gaping at the receiver.)

    Coworker #2: “You look like you need a drink.”

    Me: “You have no idea.”

    Related:
    I Don’t Work Here, Does Not Work Here, Part 14
    I Don’t Work Here, Does Not Work Here, Part 13
    I Don’t Work Here, Does Not Work Here, Part 12

    Closing Time Is Not In Their Books

    | Denver, CO, USA | Books & Reading, Crazy Requests, Theme Of The Month

    Me: “Hello. Thank you for calling the Student Center. How can I help you today?”

    Customer: *sighs* “When the h*** does the bookstore close?”

    Me: “Let”s see… The bookstore closes at 5:00 pm, sir.”

    Customer: “Then why the h*** didn’t they pick up their phone?! I’ve called four times!”

    Me: “I’m sorry, sir, but it is now 5:47, so the bookstore has been closed for nearly 50 minutes. Can I help you with anything?”

    Customer: “Well, why the f*** aren’t they open until 6:30?! This is bull-s***!”

    Me: “Well, sir, I believe the bookstore has shortened store hours. They will resume normal hours in September. I apologize if this has caused any inconvenience.”

    Customer: *breathing heavily and getting worked up* “Well, transfer me to the manager. Jesus Christ!”

    Me: “Upon looking online, sir, I see that the manager does not have a direct line. I am sorry, you will have to call the bookstore during normal business hours.”

    Customer: “WELL, THE WEBSITE IS WRONG!” *hangs up*

    Unable To Make Contact

    | MD, USA | Crazy Requests, Extra Stupid, School, Technology

    (I work in the IT Help Desk of a university.)

    Caller: “I’m calling about the homepage for the university.”

    Me: “Okay…”

    Caller: “It’s terrible! I can’t see any contact information on the page at all!”

    Me: “Is it [website URL]?”

    Caller: “I don’t know! I’m not on that site now!”

    Me: “Okay, can you tell me the URL to the site you’re having this issue with?”

    Caller: “No! Your homepage doesn’t have any contact information! It’s terrible!”

    Me: “Well, I’m on the [website URL], which is what our homepage is, and there is contact information at the bottom of the page.”

    Caller: “That’s not good enough! You don’t have contact information on the page!”

    Me: “Yes, we do. It’s at the bottom of the page.”

    Caller: “Well, I’m a Harvard graduate and as an educated person, I didn’t think to look down there, so obviously the page is terrible.”

    Me: “Okay, well, at the bottom of the page-”

    Caller: “You’re telling me there’s the information there but I didn’t see it?!”

    Me: “What I’m trying to say is that it has a place to comment on the page. If you click-”

    Caller: “I’m telling you about this!”

    Me: “Okay, but I don’t run the website. So, if you click-”

    Caller: “This is a business call! I will never call again! I’m just trying to tell you the website sucks!”

    Me: “Well, thanks for letting us know. Have a great day.”

    Be-Wear Open Questions

    | Memphis, TN, USA | Bizarre, Rude & Risque

    (I work once a week at the help desk answering calls for students, alumni and guests. This exchange happened after I helped an elderly student change his password. Since this is my first day of work, I have a team leader shadowing my calls.)

    Me: “Is there anything else I can do for you today?”

    Client: “Yes, ma’am… Whatcha wearing this evening?”

    Team Leader: *muffled giggling*

    Me: *bewildered* “Uh… I’m sorry, what?”

    Client: “What are you wearing? I’m serious.”

    Me: *struggling to muffle my laughter* “Standard work clothes, sir.”

    Client: “Well, you shouldn’t be leaving yourself open to questions like that, little lady. It gets ya in trouble. You have a good day.” *hangs up*

    (I took myself out of the queue and my team leader and I spent a good five minutes laughing.)

    Questionable Behavior

    | Pullman, WA, USA | Crazy Requests, Family & Kids, Pets & Animals, School

    (While I am a student I work as a tour guide for prospective students.)

    Me: “Now if you have any questions. Feel free to ask me anything that doesn’t violate my fifth amendment rights!”

    (A good portion of the groups laugh as expected. The tour continues with me answering the occasional question. A mother of a high-school girl has one.)

    Mother: “What are your enrollment numbers?”

    Me: “Our undergrad enrollment is [number]. If you count grad students it goes up to [higher number].”

    Mother: “Thank you.”

    (Several minutes later, this same mother asks another questions.)

    Mother: “Where are the dining halls and how many options do they serve?”

    Me: “Well, ma’am…”

    (I proceed to give her every piece of info I can about meal plans, the dining locations, and even the specific food items. Several more minutes into the tour…)

    Mother: “I heard that last year you had a swine flu epidemic and had to shut down the school!”

    (At this point I wonder if she is clueless or deliberately trying to get a question I can’t answer.)

    Me: “Actually, several students were diagnosed but nowhere near an epidemic.”

    Mother: “How do you know? I heard they had to cancel two football games here!”

    Me: “Ma’am, I go to every home football game. If they really did cancel a football game then I have no idea what I was watching.”

    (Some of the other parents are trying to contain their laughter, and even this woman’s daughter looks embarrassed at her mom)

    Mother: “Fine.” *looks around and then points* “WHAT KIND OF BIRD IS THAT!?”

    (The rest of the group as this point cannot believe this is happening.)

    Me: “If we look at that bird, we can clearly see that’s a magpie, which my friend pointed out to me last week. Now moving on…”

    (At this point the mother pulls out a phone as we continue and about two minutes later I hear the daughter.)

    Daughter: “See? It was a magpie! Now, will you please stop!?”

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