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  • September Theme Of The Month: Overheard!

    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.'”

    Laptop Flop, Part 6

    | USA | Extra Stupid, Technology

    (I work as a computer tech for a major university that has a contract with a government agency. The laptops issued to the government agents are standard except for the software. We try to diagnose and repair everything over the phone, and when we can’t resolve the problem, the customers are required to ship the laptops to us.)

    Me: “[Organization]. This is [My Name].”

    Customer: “Yeah, I accidentally spilled some soda into my laptop keyboard.”

    Me: “Okay.”

    Customer: “So I shut it off immediately, but the keys were all sticky.”

    Me: “Okay, so we—”

    Customer: “So I decided that I would run it through the dishwasher.”

    Me: “You what?”

    Customer: “So yeah, I figured it wouldn’t hurt anything if I didn’t turn it on right away, while it was still wet.”

    Me: “So, your laptop is—”

    Customer: “Well, I didn’t want to wait for it to dry. So I figured I could use a blow dryer on it.”

    (A blow dryer typically heats up to less than 160 degrees F or about 71 degrees C.)

    Me: “So the laptop needs—”

    Customer: “But I didn’t actually have a blow dryer, I only had a heat gun.”

    (Heat guns are shop and industrial tools used to melt plastics, solder, and a host of other things, often generating heat in the 1100 degrees F [about 600 C] range. Keyboards can melt at temperatures as low as 200 degrees F/93 degrees C.)

    Me: “So, you need to—”

    Customer: “So, the whole middle of the laptop is melted. Do you think I need to send it in?”

    Me: *sigh* “Yes, just ship it to us, we will ship a replacement.”

    Laptop Flop, Part 5
    Laptop Flop, Part 4
    Laptop Flop, Part 3

    Takes A Toll On The Soul

    | USA | Bizarre, Money, Religion

    (I am a phone customer service rep for a government agency that has been strongly encouraging constituents to use our website for basic governmental functions. It is my first day out of training.)

    Me: “How may I help you?”

    Caller: “Hello. I just want to know if you charge spiritual taxes to people of certain religious beliefs?”

    Me: “Excuse me?”

    Caller: “Spiritual taxes. Do you charge them for using your website?”

    Me: “… I think that’s more a question for your religious leader of choice, but no, to the best of my knowledge we do not charge taxes on the soul for using our website.”

    Caller: “Oh, wonderful!” *click*

    Body Of Lies

    | Scotland, UK | Bizarre, Crazy Requests, Theme Of The Month

    (I work in the ‘special collections’ department for the local authority. My job is to cover the reception area and take any orders for special collections over the counter. Usually people come in to get things such as TVs, furniture, and such uplifted.)

    Customer: “Hi. Is this the right office for booking a collection?”

    Me: “Yes. How many items do you need uplifted?”

    Customer: “Just one.”

    Me: “Okay, no problem. Is this for a business a personal residence?”

    Customer: “Personal Residence.” *leans closer to me over the counter in a creepy manner* “Is there any way this can be done discreetly?”

    Me: “What do you mean?”

    Customer: “I mean, can you not record my details. Can I just have the uplift, and pay extra to not have my details logged?”

    Me: “Um… No, not really. That’s not how we do it. We have to record your details. Now, what do you need uplifted?”

    Customer: “A dead body.”

    (We stare at each other in silence whilst I have the biggest mental panic attack ever. A few seconds pass before the customer bursts out laughing.)

    Customer: “I am so sorry. I’m just messing with you. You’re face was priceless! I have ALWAYS wanted to do that!”

    (The customer left, still laughing, while I stood there with my mouth hanging open in complete shock and amusement.)

    Doing A Disservice To Service With A Smile

    | UK | Bizarre, Liars & Scammers

    (I work in a call center that directs calls to local benefits offices. It’s a dull job, but I try to keep positive when I greet people on the phone.)

    Me: “Good morning, [Job Center] national switchboard, [Name] speaking; how can I help?”

    Caller: “You sound very happy.”

    Me: “Well, yes, it’s a nice day today! How can I help?”

    Caller: “No one at [Job Center] is happy. You can’t be at [Job Center]! You must be a scam!”

    (The caller hangs up.)

    Me: “…what just happened?”

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