Category: Crazy Requests

Some customers can be demanding, but within reason. These customers however make some requests that go beyond demanding, beyond reasonable, beyond possible! These requests, like the customers, are crazy!

The Customer Is Not Always Copyright, Part 3

| ON, Canada | Crazy Requests, Criminal & Illegal

(A husband and wife come in to get wedding announcements made, which have multiple professional photos in the design.)

Me: “So these photos were clearly taken by a professional, right?”

Husband: “Yep.”

Me: “Okay, so I just need something in writing from the photographer saying that you are allowed to use the photos.”

Wife: “No, it wasn’t a professional. It was a family friend.”

Me: “I still need permission. Just something with the photographer’s signature saying you were given the digital files to print yourself, or something like that.”

Wife: “But it wasn’t a professional! It was a friend! She’s not a professional!”

Me: “She still holds the copyrights to the photos, unless she’s given you the rights to them. If she has, I need something in writing stating that.”

Wife: “No! She never takes pictures! She just did this for us once! That’s the only time she’s ever taken pictures!”

Me: “Wow, she’s really good at it.”

Wife: “I KNOW!”

Me: “Okay, well, I’m sorry, but without the permission, I can’t print them. But I can still book in the order for you today, and once we get the permission, I’ll go ahead and print them.”

Husband: “Well, if all she wants us is for to write down that we can print them, I’m sure we can get her to do that.”

Wife: “No! I’m not asking her to do that! Just print the pictures.”

Me: “I’m sorry, I can’t. But I’m sure she would be flattered if you tell her she needs to do that in order for us to print them.”

Wife: “No! She would be annoyed! She isn’t a professional photographer! She’s a land surveyor! She’s never done this before!”

Me: “It doesn’t matter. The photos are still copyrighted. If someone wrote a book for the first time and had another job, that wouldn’t mean their book isn’t copyrighted, just because they haven’t done it before, right? Same thing.”

Wife: “No! It’s not the same thing!”

(At this point, the next customer in line stepped in.)

Customer: “Excuse me, but she’s not going to print them without the permission. I’m a photographer and I give a release with my digital photos stating that they can be printed, because a lot of photographers charge per printed photo, and charge extra for a disc with the digital images.”

Husband: “We can get her to sign a thing for us.”

Wife: “No! We’ll just go somewhere else!”

The Customer Is Not Always Copyright, Part 2
The Customer Is Not Always Copyright

Has Them Frothing At The Mouth

| FL, USA | At The Checkout, Crazy Requests

(I work in a department store with several small kitchen appliances, all of which have displays out that a customer can look at and fiddle with. When an item goes out of stock, we often sell off the display for a small discount. A customer approaches me with a milk frother that is part of an espresso machine set.)

Customer: “Hi, I noticed there weren’t any more of these on the shelf. Can I take this one?”

Me: “Actually, ma’am, that frother is part of a set. It comes with a machine, and so you have to purchase the machine itself if you want that frother. Otherwise, I could order one for you that doesn’t go with the machine, with free shipping as well.”

Customer: “Hmm, no, I really need it today. Can’t I just take this one?”

Me: “Well, no. As I said, it’s part of a set. You have to buy the whole machine.”

Customer: “But it’s not attached or anything! You can do this for me, can’t you?”

(The customer adopts a grossly sweet tone with me in an apparent attempt to flatter me into giving her the display. We proceed with several more minutes of me telling her that she absolutely cannot have the display. Finally, she gets more belligerent.)

Customer: “I don’t get it; you have numbers for these things! Just plug your numbers into your computer or a register and give me the damn display! I know you sell them and I want this display right now!”

(I’m emotionally exhausted by this point, and although I always want to talk to childish customers as if they are actual children, professionalism usually prevents me from stooping to such a level. I decided we were past formality. However, I remained polite.)

Me: “Ma’am, suppose you have… a chair at home that you really like. One day the leg of the chair breaks, so you go down to the furniture store and find another chair.”

Customer: *with an exasperated huff* “What does this have to do with anything?”

Me: “Just follow me; the leg of your chair is broken, so you go to the store and find a new chair. Now, instead of deciding to buy the new chair, you ask an associate to break off the leg you need and sell you that leg, and only the leg… How do you think that would go?”

(A few moments of silence follow as her cheeks grow red from embarrassment. When she speaks next she bears a much calmer tone.)

Customer: “I think I’d like to speak to a manager, please.”

(Within a minute I was setting the display frother back on its shelf, still unsold.)

Your Attitude Is Off-Balance

| Hampshire, England, UK | Crazy Requests, Money

(I work for a third party debt collection agency. We collect debt on behalf of other companies, but we don’t buy the debt. We are a last-ditch attempt – if we can’t claim the debt they will usually take it to court. As you can imagine, we aren’t popular with our callers, especially those who owe large amounts. One such call sums up my experience.)

Me: “Hi, you’re through to [My Name] at [Company]. Are you calling to make a payment?”

Customer: “Oh! How presumptuous. You certainly are full of yourself.”

Me: *ignoring her snide tone* “How can I help you today?”

Customer: “That’s better. I’m calling to query my balance.”

(I take the customer’s account number and confirm various details for security. As I do, I see the debt is for a credit card. The customer maxed out the balance in the first few months but has never made any payment towards it.)

Me: “Okay, I have your account up. What was your query?”

Customer: “Well… I just don’t know why my balance is this high.”

Me: “Your balance is high because you accrued a balance on your credit card but have never paid any of it. Because of this, you have accrued interest and charges for non-payment.”

Customer: “I beg your pardon?”

(I repeat myself.)

Customer: “How dare you! You are so rude!”

Me: “I’m sorry, madam. I merely answered your question.”


Me: “Of course, madam. Give me one minute.”

(I go and get my manager and explain the situation. He then takes the call. I am standing behind him the whole time and can hear the customer screaming through the headset. He tells her multiple times that she does not need to shout and that if she doesn’t control her volume, he will disconnect the call. This seems to help and the customer quiets down. My manager nods and takes notes.)

Manager: “Based on what you’ve told me, I cannot see an issue with the call, but I will listen to the recording and call you back.”

(A few hours later my manager comes and collects me. He is going to call the customer back and has invited me into his office to listen into the call with him. He advises me I’m not in any trouble and he found no issues with the call.)

Manager: “Hello, is that [Customer]?”

Customer: “Yes, this is [Customer].”

(My manager quickly goes through security before continuing. He also advises that I have been invited in with him to listen to their conversation. The customer is happy with this.)

Manager: “Thank you for that. Okay, [Customer], I have listened to the call.”

Customer: “Okay.”

Manager: “There was nothing wrong with the call. I did not feel [My Name] was rude. You asked a question; she answered it. What about the call did you find rude?”

Customer: “Well, answering right away with assuming I was going to pay. That’s just rude.”

Manager: “That’s part of her call script. She must ask that every time she answers a call. We’re a debt collection company. People call us because they have an outstanding balance. It’s not unreasonable to expect people might be calling to pay something.”

Customer: “Yes, but it’s rude to assume.”

Manager: “I’m sorry you feel that way, but that’s the script and we’re not going to change it. Now, was there anything else you felt that was rude?”

Customer: “Well, what she said. It wasn’t right to say I hadn’t paid.”

Manager: “Have you paid?”

Customer: “Well, no, but it’s rude just to come out and say it like that!”

Manager: “You asked why your balance was so high.”

Customer: “Yes, but she didn’t have to say it quite like that.”

(My manager looks at me. I can see how frustrated he is.)

Manager: “Okay, how would you have preferred she answer?”

Customer: “Well, she didn’t need to mention I hadn’t paid.”

Manager: “So when you asked why your balance was so high, you didn’t want her to mention you hadn’t paid?”

Customer: “That’s exactly right.”

(My manager pauses and looks at me.)

Manager: “Madam, I am afraid there are no issues with the call. Your only options are to set up an arrangement to pay, or pay the balance in full.”

Customer: “See – that was much nicer. Why didn’t that girl say that before?”

(My manager made no comment and instead wrapped up the call. The customer promised to call back and make an arrangement in the next week – she needed time to look at her finances. The customer did not call back, nor did she answer any of our calls or letters. It got passed back to the credit card provider so they could take it to court.)

We’ll Send The Internet Through The Mail

| Thunder Bay, ON, Canada | Crazy Requests, Technology

(I get a live transfer from an Internet repair level-one agent who sends us tickets to test and troubleshoot some technical stuff with the customer. The level-one agent advises me that the customer has a defective Internet modem. Keep in mind, it’s three pm and the techs only work till five pm in her town.)

Me: “Hi, I’m told you have a defective modem?”

Customer: *impatience already in her voice* “Yeah, I need a new one today!”

Me: “Okay, ma’am, our policy is to send you one in the mail. Can I verify your mailing address?”

Customer: “What? No! I need you to send a technician to my house today to change my modem for me. I had this problem at my office and they came to fix it the same day! I need it TODAY!”

Me: “How long has your Internet been down? I can have a modem to you in two days.”

Customer: “You listen here! I’ve had no service for five days and because nobody has come to fix it yet, I have to call and waste my time talking to you. Now, I want my Internet working TODAY! Never mind; transfer me to someone else that can help me.”

Me: “Okay, no problem. My manager can also arrange a modem to be mailed out.”

(I hit transfer before she continued to yell at me and told the story to my boss before transferring… Guess what? He mailed her a modem!)

Not Only Calling About The Color Of Money

| USA | At The Checkout, Bigotry, Crazy Requests

(I’m speaking with a customer whose card was temporarily blocked for suspicious activity. I’m trying to verify her identity.)

Women: “Why should I have to know my old address? No one ever asked me for that before! Why does it matter?”

Me: “Identity thieves will often change the address on a card before using it, so we watch for address changes. Asking for the old address helps us because an identity thief may not have known the old address before he changed it. It’s an effective means of protecting your identity.”

Women: “I’m not an identity thief. Why would you think I was?”

Me: “I did not say you were, ma’am. I’m only explaining that asking for an old address is a great way of verifying you while protecting your identity.”

Women: “Why would you think I stole something? You think any [race] women with a credit card had to steal it? Or you just think I can’t afford a computer?”

Me: “We are not worried about your being able to afford anything. We simply wanted to verify a charge that was unusual for this card to make sure it is one you authorized. Once we have verified the charge…”

Women: *cutting me off* “You wouldn’t be harassing me if I wasn’t [race]!”

Me: “Our policies are the same for all races, ma’am. I didn’t even know your race until you told me.”

Women: “Don’t give me that s***! You can tell. You wouldn’t be harassing me for buying a computer if I was white. You’re just racist!”

Me: “Our system flagged your account because of the address change and large purchase before I ever spoke to you. The system doesn’t know your race either. It’s illegal for us to store that information and our applications don’t ask you to disclose it. There is literally no way that your race could play any role in the system’s decision to flag this account. I certainly hope I’m not racist either. I would hate to find out I had an issue with my little brother.”

Women: “Don’t you lie to me. You’re not [race] and neither is your bother, unless your mother’s…”

Me: *cutting in as politely as I can* “Not my biological brother. My little brother from Big Brothers Big Sisters of America. I visit him in school every Monday for lunch and recess. It’s my favorite time of the week.”

(She didn’t seem to know how to respond to that. She made a few attempts to catch me in a ‘lie,’ made me explain I that had Sundays and Mondays off so I could visit him and why it was only in-school, etc. but generally wasn’t yelling at me as much. Next time I mentioned her address she gave it to me. Yes, she did end up verifying the charges and having the card unblocked.)

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