A Taxing Customer

| UK | Criminal/Illegal, Money

(I work as a tax collector for the UK tax office. I phone guy who owes tax.)

Me: “Hello, is that Mr [Debtor]?”

Debtor: “Yeah.”

Me: “I’m [My Name] from HM Revenue and Customs. I’m phoning about your outstanding tax.”

Debtor: “No, you’re not.”

Me: *pause* “Um, yes, I am.”

Debtor: “No, you’re not.” *click*

(I pause. Maybe I gabbled the first bit. I say the same thing so many times a day it becomes routine. I phone back.)

Me: “Mr. [Debtor]. I’m sorry; I seem to have got off on the wrong foot.”

Debtor: “Whatever.”

(I can hear what sounds like a pub in the background; maybe he’s putting on an act for his mates.)

Me: “I need to talk to you about your debt. If you don’t pay we will enforce the debt, either by distraint, which is removal of goods for sale at public auction, or by placing you in county court and asking for judgement against you.”

Debtor: “Do what you got to do mate. Now f*** off!”

(A few weeks later, I get a phone call transferred to me.)

Debtor: “You’ve put me in court.”

Me: “You told me to, sir.”

That Old Adage About Old Age

| Wales, UK | Bizarre, Health & Body

(My department for the local county council takes service requests from residents of the area for all sorts of things:)

Me: “Bore da. Good morning. This is [Local Council].”

Caller: *shouting* “I’M OLD!”

Me: “Okay, sir, it happens to all of us eventually. Now, how can I help?”

Caller: “I’M OLD, YOU SEE! I’M DISABLED! I HAVE ARTHRITIS AND SCIATICA AND BUNIONS.”

Me: “I’m sorry to hear you have those things, sir. Now, please tell me how I can help you this morning.”

Customer: “YOU’RE NOT LISTENING TO ME. I’M OLD AND YOU NEED TO GET THIS SORTED.”

Me: “I listened to everything you’ve said, sir. You’re elderly and you suffer from arthritis and sciatica and bunions. Now, these things understandably cause you pain and would have meant you needed help with something. If you can remember what that ‘something’ was and recall why you might have phoned me up, I can try and help you.”

Customer: “I NEED YOU TO… Oh. I can’t remember. If you remember can you call me?” *click*

Me: *to thin air* “Uh… not without your phone number, I can’t.”

Has One Of Those Genderal Voices

| Wales, UK | Bizarre, Health & Body

(I work in the departmental switchboard, so I field calls. If someone’s on their phone or even logged out, the calls reroute to me/ Normally people are fine with me taking messages.)

Me: “Bore da. Good morning.  [Local Government].”

Customer: “Hello! Is that [Male Colleague]?”

Me: “Nope, [Colleague] is off sick at the moment. If you tell me your query I can direct you to somebody else who may be able to help.”

Customer: “Oh, it IS you [Male Colleague]!”

Me: “Ma’am. I am not [Male Colleague], I am [Female Name] and you’re through to switchboard. What’s your query?”

Customer: “How did your op go, [Male Colleague]? I didn’t realise it was THAT kind of op!”

Me: “Ma’am, I am NOT [Male Colleague]. If you tell me what your call is regarding, perhaps I can help you.”

Customer: *ignoring me* “Cruciate ligament, you said. Well, now we know better. I think [Female Name] is a great choice! Good for you!”

Me: “Ma’am, [Male Colleague] is still on sick. He did not have gender reassignment surgery. I am a different person. And I would like, very much, to help you with your query.”

Customer: “It’s okay. I’ll see you at [Local Pub] on Friday. We can have a chat ‘off the record’ and I’ll bring you my favourite lipstick.” *click*

(All my switchboard colleagues, who’ve only heard my half of the conversation, are staring at me.)

Me: “Yeah, I have no idea either.”

Always Time For A Rhyme

| UK | Awesome Customers, Awesome Workers, Language & Words, Top

(Our county council has online web-forms for people to get in touch.)

Customer Email:

“The winds outside blew and blew
and my bin lid verily flew
in a lickety split
I emailed you quick
to request a brand new one from you”

(Since the customer did not tell us whether it was her recycling or refuse bin that broke in the weather I have to contact her back. It is the first time I have EVER received a request in limerick form, so I decide to phone the lady. Unfortunately, it goes to voicemail.)

Me: *to the voicemail*

“The council received your request
but you leave us a little perplexed
Amidst rhyming hype
forgot ye the type
of the bin-lid you meant to suggest”

Gotta Find Johnny Cash

| USA | Crazy Requests, Money

(My office handles reports of fraud, but has a reputation for trying to help everybody who calls in, even if it’s nothing that we usually handle.)

Me: “[Office], [My Name] speaking. How can I help you?”

Caller: “This guy is getting benefit checks and he’s working! He does odd jobs around the trailer park where we both live.”

Me: “Okay. We’re not the right place for this, but if you tell me a little more about what’s going on, I can try to find the right place for you.”

Caller: “His name is Johnny, and I don’t know what his space number is.”

Me: “Do you know who he gets his checks from?”

Caller: “Nope, don’t see him at the mailbox. But he brags about it.”

Me: “Do you know what kind of benefit checks he’s getting?”

Caller: “No.”

Me: “I’m not sure on where to tell you to go.”

Caller: “Why don’t you take the information? You’re the fraud department, aren’t you? His name is Johnny, the trailer park is at [address], and he’s getting money from the government that he shouldn’t! Just write that down and investigate it.”

Me: “Do you have a surname for Johnny?”

Caller: “Nope.”

Me: *inwardly sighing* “Well, I’ll do my best to get this to the right people.”

Caller: “Thank you!” *hangs up*

(At this point, my coworker comes over as I’m staring at the notes from the call.)

Coworker: “What was that all about?”

Me: “I think I’ve found the fraud line equivalent of ‘I once read a book. It was blue.'”

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