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A Camera By Any Other Name

, , , | Right | June 27, 2019

(I work for a very large electronics retailer. My department is accounts receivable, so I mainly deal with giant corporations, government offices, or schools. Every once in a while a regular customer gets transferred to our department by mistake; either they enter the wrong extension or someone in the company who doesn’t know any better sends them to us. It’s usually not such a big deal, as we can access the entire company system and can generally help with order status, payment problems, refunds, etc. But we cannot do anything that relates to actual sales like selling things, taking returns, or things like that. This happens after a customer calls into my direct extension.)

Me: “Thank you for calling [Accounts Receivable] department. My name is [Slightly Uncommon Name]; how can I help you?”

Customer: You sold me a broken camera! I was at an extremely important event last night with [Famous Actor] and [Famous Politician], and when I checked my camera today I couldn’t access any of my pictures! You better fix this right now!”

Me: “I’m so sorry to hear that your camera isn’t working right. May I transfer you to tech support or customer service, as they can help you with this problem? You are speaking to accounts receivable and unfortunately, I can’t help with this problem. I don’t even know anything about cameras.”

Customer: “Your name is [My Name], right?”

Me: “Yes?”

Customer: “Then I’m speaking to the right person! You sold me this camera! I remember your name!”

(My company has over 2000 employees; it’s very possible that some of us have the same name.)

Me: “I’m very sorry, sir, but as I said, I work in accounts receivable. I don’t sell any of our products. I don’t even know what most of our products are, let alone how to work or fix them. Now, it sounds to me like you went to a very prestigious event, and I don’t want you to lose your photos; please allow me to transfer you to someone who can help!”

Customer: “You f****** b****! You just don’t want to deal with me yourself! You know you sold me a broken piece of s*** and now you don’t want to take responsibility! Well, guess what. I know your father! Bet you didn’t know about that! Wait until he hears how you treat customers! He will punish you!”

Me: *thinking* “You’re claiming you know my father? I’m not sure how that is relevant, as I am an adult who does not live at home.” *out loud* “I am very sorry that you feel like you are being mistreated. Once again, you have called into the accounts receivable department; if you will give me a moment I may be able to find out exactly who sold you the camera.”

Customer: *starts screaming and cursing*

(I put him on mute and begin to search our company directory to see if there is someone in sales with my name. Lo and behold, there is someone from our sales team who shares my name. Her phone status says she isn’t currently taking customer calls, which also helps explain how the customer got to me. I was the only available person with my name when he called in.)

Me: *to my coworker* “Hey, I know you aren’t taking calls right now, but I have someone calling in that says I sold him a faulty camera and, as I don’t work in sales, I figure he probably meant to speak with you. Also, fair warning, he’s pissed and claims he knows your father.”

Coworker: “Oh, boy. Is it [Customer]?”

Me: *after checking caller ID* “Yes, how did you know?”

Coworker: “He knows my husband, not my father, and he always tells him to punish me after he buys anything from me. Apparently, I only sell him faulty stuff. I bet he didn’t put his memory card in the camera.”

Me: “Can I transfer him to you? He probably won’t notice that he’s speaking to a different person.”

Coworker: “Sure! Let me just change my status to available and then send him my way.”

(I check on the customer and he’s still yelling, so I take him off mute.)

Me: “Hey, I just wanted to let you know that I found the other [My Name], and she’s willing to take your call. I’m transferring you now.”


(I transferred him. Coworker, I’m so sorry you had to deal with him! I hope you were able to resolve his camera issues!)

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