You Gave Obsessive Tom A Code: It Was Super Effective!

, , | Right | October 16, 2018

(It’s my first week working at a video game store. The store has a promotion where it’s giving out codes for a free legendary Pokémon. A man who looks incredibly high on something runs literally into the store before managing to make it through the door. He’s wearing an unzipped Pikachu jacket, a Pokémon T-shirt, and an Ash Ketchum hat.)

Me: *looking concerned* “Can I help you, sir?”

Customer: “Meh!” *points behind counter* “Meh!”

Me: “Do you want an Arceus code?”

Customer: “Yeee!”

Me: “Okay, here you go, sir.”

Customer: *incoherent gibberish*

(He runs back out of the store, trips over a trash can, and then cuts a hard right before running off into the ether, leaving me looking really confused.)

Me: “What just happened?”

Coworker: “Oh, we call that guy ‘Obsessive Tom.’ Everytime something Pokémon comes out, he comes running in like that and does the same thing he did just now. We usually look forward to his visits!”

(I think I’m kind of looking forward to them, too, now.)

They Should Aspire To Do Better

, , , | Right | October 16, 2018

(I work at an electronic cigarette store. The amount of people who know nothing about their devices astonishes me. An e-cigarette tank requires a coil to heat up the juice in order to make it into vapor.)

Me: “Hey there. How can I help you?”

Customer: “I need a coil.”

Me: “Okay, for what kind of tank?”

(The customer points at a battery device, not a tank.)

Customer: “It’s for something like this.”

Me: “Well, that’s just the device that powers the tank; which one do you have for that device?”

Customer: “A tank.”

Me: “What kind of tank?”

Customer: *starting to get mad* “A tank for e-juice.”

Me: “Okay, do you remember the brand of the tank?”

Customer: “It’s an Aspire tank.”

Me: “Okay, which kind of Aspire tank?”

(We have about six different tanks from that one company.)

Customer: “Aspire.”

Me: “Which one?”

Customer: “ASPIRE!”

Me: “Okay, let me show you all the coils we carry from that company.”

Customer: *looks at them* “I don’t know what one goes into it.”

(He finally just picks one and leaves. About an hour later he comes back, screaming at me for a refund.)


(He brought his device in, and it wasn’t even the Aspire brand.)

Totally Estúpido! Part 5

, , , , , | Right | October 16, 2018

(I work at a call center for a popular vacation company. I am trained to take calls from guests and travel agents in English. Even though I have an obviously Spanish name — which I have to say in full when answering calls — and can speak Spanish pretty well, I don’t feel confident enough to take Spanish calls. Once I am done training, I request to not have Spanish calls come to me. The company is happy to oblige and removes my phone from that list.)

Me: *in English* “Thank you for calling [Company]. This is [Obviously Spanish Name]. How may I help you?”

Travel Agent: *in English with heavy Spanish accent* “Oh, you speak Spanish! Perfect! I was wondering if you could…” *trails off into Spanish*

Me: *still in English* “I’m happy to help you; however, please know that I am not trained in Spanish and may need you to repeat yourself in English if I don’t understand something.”

Travel Agent: *back to English* “Oh, that’s okay. I’ll speak to you in English, then. So, my client needs…” *trails off into Spanish again…*

Me: *English* “I’m sorry, I didn’t understand that. Would you mind saying it in English? Or I can transfer you to our Spanish desk, and they’ll be happy to help you.”

Travel Agent: *English* “I’m so sorry. Okay, I’ll try in English. The customer needs to know when…” *trails off into Spanish… AGAIN*

Me: *English* “Ma’am, I’m more than happy to transfer you to our Spanish desk if it’s easier for you to communicate that way. It’s really no trouble at all. They’re very quick to pick up, since we don’t get many Spanish calls.”

Travel Agent: *in Spanish* “But you speak Spanish, right? You have a Spanish name. So why don’t you speak in Spanish to me?”

Me: *English* “Because I wasn’t trained to take calls in Spanish. Some terminology used in [Our Industry] are unknown to me, so I wouldn’t know how to explain something if I needed to.”

Travel Agent: *Spanish* “This is ridiculous. You should speak Spanish to me if you have a Spanish name. How can you not speak Spanish?”

Me: *English* “I do speak Spanish, but my [Industry] vocabulary is limited, and I’d hate to say something incorrectly. As I stated before, I’m more than happy to get you someone from our Spanish desk. I’ll even gladly stay on the line with you until someone comes on. Would you like me to do that?”

Travel Agent: *Spanish* “No. I want you to speak to me in Spanish. Why are you not speaking to me in Spanish? Aren’t you required to speak Spanish?”

Me: *English* “It’s not my job here to speak in Spanish. So, no, I am not required to speak to you in Spanish. As you wish to continue speaking in Spanish, I will transfer you now to the Spanish desk. Thank you and have a pleasant day.”

(After I transferred the call, I got my Q&A evaluation with a zero score because I said it was “not my job here to speak in Spanish,” even though they knew I was not on the Spanish desk. Needless to say, I fought to get reevaluated by my direct supervisor and the Q&A management. The score was removed, and I asked to be allowed to use my English, no-trace-of-Spanish-in-sight nickname for the duration of my time with the company. They approved that request without resistance!)

Totally Estupido, Part 4
Totally Estupido, Part 3
Totally Estupido, Part 2


, , , , , | Right | October 16, 2018

(I work at the deli department in a grocery store. I am part Filipino and part white. Everyone thinks that I’m Mexican. I am currently the only one in the department; my other coworker is on lunch. A customer stares at me and then stares at the hot case.)

Customer: *speaking loudly and slowly* “UNO. BURRITO. POR FAVOR.”

Me: “One burrito? Did you want the bean and cheese, or the chicken and rice?”

Customer: “Don’t you talk to me, you [Mexican slur]! Think you’re smarter than me? I’m tired of your people coming over the border and taking our jobs. Go back where you came from.”

Me: “I’d love to go back to Hawaii where I was born; the military hospital is really nice, so I have heard.”

Customer: “So, an islander, huh? Hawaii isn’t part of the US, idiot.”

Me: “So, bean and cheese, or chicken and rice?”

Third Party Gets Third-World Slurs

, , , , | Right | October 16, 2018

(We have a lot of issues with third-party reservations at the hotel. We encourage people NOT to book with them because they’re going to screw it up one way or another eventually. This is one of those cases. The guest is not irate with me by any means; she knows the fault is with the third party, but she decides she is going to yell at this person over the phone in my lobby like it is that individual’s fault. She’s cursing and using racial slurs because most call centers with third-party agents are overseas. We have children in the lobby. So, I address her on the issue — I hate racists — very calmly because yelling back at her doesn’t do anything but make it worse.)

Guest: “I want to speak with your manager!”

Me: *points to the manager on duty sign, with my name under it*

Guest: “Well, I want to speak with corporate! Give me their number!”

Me: *gives her the number*

Guest: “You’re in for it now!”

(She gets on the phone with corporate, in front of me, on speaker as if their answer to this is going to surprise me, and of course, they call me to get my side of it. She’s getting pretty frustrated because no one seems to be on her side.)

Guest: “Look. I was referring to the incompetent people with [Website].”

Corporate: “Ma’am… a racist slur is still a racist slur, no matter who it is directed at or intended for. We at the [Hotel Corporation] cannot condone that behavior, and now your status is put up for review to revoke your membership with [Hotel Company] entirely.”

Guest: “THAT’S BULLS***! All this over me calling someone a ‘[slur]’?”

Corporate: “Ma’am… my mother is one of those [slurs] you are referring to.”

(And that’s the first time this particularly well-known hotel brand insisted that I kick someone out of the hotel. They did not have to tell me twice.)

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