Category: Money


Not Aiming For A Photo Finish

| IN, USA | Crazy Requests, Money

(I am a clerk in a small-town newspaper office.)

Customer: *on phone* “Hello, I’d like to purchase the photos of my daughter [Name] that ran on June 13, 14, and—”

Me: “Sir, I can’t place an order for you over the phone, but I can give you directions to order the photos through our website.”

Customer: “Well, that won’t work for me. I’m computer illiterate. And I can’t come in to your office because I’m in [Town more than an hour away]. Can’t I just give you my credit card and you can do it for me?”

Me: “I apologize, but the only way to order copies of our photos is through a third party on our website. Do you have an email address? I can email you directions for using the website. They’re very simple.”

(The customer grudgingly agrees to this and gives me his email address. He promises to call me back if he can’t understand the directions, and I tell him that as long as he is in front of a computer I will be happy to walk him through the process. Sure enough, a couple hours later, he calls back.)

Customer: “Well, all right, I’m at [University] library in front of a computer.”

Me: “All right. Did you receive the directions I emailed to you?”

Customer: “Yes, but they didn’t make sense. I told you, I’m computer illiterate.”

Me: “Can you open the Internet?”

Customer: “Well, now the computer’s restarting. The screen’s gone black. I’m pressing buttons.”

Me: “It might be best to get a librarian to help you.”

Customer: “There’s no one here! It’s just me!”

(I sit on the phone for almost ten minutes while he gets the computer to restart. Eventually he gets a browser open, and it becomes clear to me that he doesn’t understand how to enter a URL into the address bar, but he does recognize Google and knows how to enter search terms. I get him to google our website and walk him through the photo-ordering process. Everything is actually going smoothly until we hit a dead-end on our search for the pictures.)

Me: “Sir, it’s possible the pictures were submitted photos. We only have the right to sell photos that were taken by our staff photographers.”

Customer: “Well, can’t you just make a copy of it for me from your files?”

Me: “I’m sorry, I can’t. If you send us a check to cover postage, I would be happy to send you some copies of the newspapers.”

Customer: “I don’t understand why you can’t just copy it and blow it up to an 8×10. I know you have the printing capabilities to do that at a newspaper!”

(We actually don’t have the capacity to print anything on photo-quality paper in my office, which is one of the reasons we contract with a third party to print and sell our photos online.)

Me: “Sir, I don’t feel comfortable identifying which photos you want if we aren’t able to look at them together. I would hate to send you the wrong photo or the wrong size. Like I said, I would be happy to send you some copies of the newspaper, and you can take them to Kinko’s and make whatever copy you would like.”

Customer: “Well, I’ll send you an envelope, but I don’t understand why I have so much trouble with your newspaper! I’ve left several messages over the last week trying to order these photos and everyone has been too cowardly to call me back! I don’t understand why I can’t just give you my credit card number and you can do this for me! I run a business, you know! I always pay people to do things for me! I demand retribution for the service I’ve received!”

(Yes, he did say “retribution.” I’ve always wondered how someone who runs a business in this day and age can be quite so computer illiterate. I also wonder why someone who runs a business was so eager to give his credit card information to someone who doesn’t work for the company that sells the photos and therefore isn’t authorized to handle credit card information for them.)


Not Much Assurance About The Insurance, Part 4

| UK | Money, Religion

(I work in a call center for car insurance. We currently have a promotion for people over 50, where if their info matches up from last year (same registration, same main occupation, same people on policy, etc.) then we’ll price match their renewal offer from their existing company, and knock off an extra £50. Any deviation from what we need to match up means we can’t offer the promotion anymore: eg. if it was just one person on their original policy, and they want to add a second driver this time round, etc. They then have to send in their renewal premium as proof, as long as it matches, they’ll get the money refunded to make it the price of the over 50s offer.

This sort of thing happens constantly:)

Me: “And what is your current job?”

Customer #1: “Taxi driver.”

Me: “Okay, and is that what your job was last year on your renewal premium? Just checking it off my list.”

Customer #1: “No, I was working at a fish and chip place.”

Me: “Well, I’m sorry, but we can’t give you the offer, as your info no longer matches.”

Customer #1: “Well, just make it match, then!”

Me: “I’m sorry, what do you mean, sir?”

Customer #1: “Just say that I’m still working as a cashier at the fish and chip place!”

Me: “I can’t do that, sir. You’ve already told me that you’re a taxi driver.”

Customer #1: “So? Why can’t you change it? I said you have to make it match, so just make it match!”

Me: “It’s illegal to lie on your insurance, sir, and I can’t help you do that know that you’ve told me what your actual job is.”

Customer #1: “Well, I’ll just take my business elsewhere!” *hangs up*

(Another caller:)

Me: “And your main job?”

Customer #2: “I’m retired now, but I still do clergy work and service on the side.”

Me: “Okay, I’ll put you down as retired but ‘clergy’ in the part time occupation; is that the same as last year?”

Customer #2: “Last year I was a full-time clergy. I’m retired now, though.”

Me: “Okay, well, I’m sorry, but you don’t qualify for the offer as your info no longer matches up to last year.”

Customer #2: “What do you mean? I’m still a clergy, so of course it matches up.”

Me: “I know you said you still do it on the side, but you are fully retired now and that changes aspects of the quote, and it doesn’t match up anymore because you weren’t retired last year.”

Customer #2: “But I am a MAN. OF. GOD! That will never change! It’s not your usual type of job; I’ll never not be a clergy!”

Me: “That’s fair enough sir, but the main issue here is that you’re retired, but you weren’t last year. it doesn’t match up anymore.”


Me: “Again, I understand that, but YOU. ARE. RETIRED. NOW. You were NOT retired last year; you ARE retired this year. IT. DOES. NOT. MATCH.”

Customer #2: “Well, this was a waste of time!” *hangs up*

(Yet another caller:)

Customer #3: “Oh, I’m so confused by this, Why do you have to make this so complicated!?”

Me: “I’ll try to explain again, sir. I’ve gotten all of your info, from what you’ve told me. It matches. We will charge you the full price now, and when you receive the free post envelope, send your renewal premium to us. When we see it matches, we’ll refund you the money for the offer.”

Customer #3: “Oh, but that’s so confusing. Why are you making it so difficult? Why can’t you just take it off now?”

Me: “We can’t do that, as we don’t know that it matches. Just send us your renewal premium and we’ll refund the money. That’s it.”

Customer #3: “Oh, but that’s so confusing. Why can’t you just take the price down now?”

Me: “I’ve already explained, sir. We just need the proof that it matches. We’ll send a free-postage envelope. Just send it in that and we’ll refund the money.”

Customer #3: “But that’s so complicated! Why can’t you just take the money off now?!”

Me: *face-palm*

(And my favourite:)


Me: “Miss, the point of the offer is to give you a refund AFTER we see proof, and you did the quote online. Did you expect our website to just magically know what your renewal price was and it would automatically take the money off for you?”

Customer #4: *silence, then hangs up*

Not Much Assurance About The Insurance, Part 3
Not Much Assurance About The Insurance, Part 2
Not Much Assurance About The Insurance


Credited With The Best Solution

| BC, Canada | Bad Behavior, Money

(I work for the phone company and, like any other company, prices, promotions, and packages changed over time. I get a call from this customer who has a grandfathered single-line package for $20.95/month that due to some error got changed to the going price of $21.00/month for the same package. The customer calls in to complain. )

Customer: “My price got changed and now I’m paying more! I’m very angry!”

Me: “Yes. I can see what happened. There mus—”

Customer: *cutting me off in mid-word* “I demand to be given the old price back.”

Me: “The old price was grandfathered but we should be abl—”

Customer: *cutting me off again* “I’m sick and tired of you people always cheating me on my bill. I want to talk to a manager!”

Me: “I was going to suggest giving you a $5.00 credit. That would cover you for the next eight years and then you could call back in for another credit at that time.”

Customer: “F*** you, a******!” *click*


Minimum Wage And Maximum Rudeness

| GA, USA | Bad Behavior, Money

(I work at one of the few McDonald’s in Georgia where the company has started to use the electronic kiosk ordering stations that are used in Europe. A lot of customers feel the need to explain to me that they think these machines are a response to people wanting a $15.00 minimum wage and will eventually put me and other employees out of a job. Usually I ignore the minimum wage comment and explain to them that the reason I actually got my job in the first place is because of these machines, as I help people who don’t know how to use them, but one time someone takes things an [unnecessary] step further. About three months into my time working here, two men in their late-thirties-to-early-forties come in.)

Me: “Good morning. I can take your order right here if you’d like.”

(Both men briefly look at the regular registers, but end up walking back over. The first customer lists off his order very quickly, but I manage to punch in everything on the first try. I start taking his friend’s order when the first customer turns to him and says this:)

Customer: “You know what these machines are for, right? It’s because people want a fifteen-dollar minimum wage.”

(By now I am more than used to this sort of talk, so I decide to ignore him and continue to take his friend’s order. But the first man isn’t done.)

Customer: “Can you believe it? Fifteen dollars an hour, to work at McDonald’s!”

(Normally I pride myself on smiling and staying professional even when I have customers that are jerks, but seriously? I am standing RIGHT THERE! The customer then walks away to wait for his order, so he doesn’t see the death glare I am apparently giving him. His friend notices, though, and gives me the most sincerely apologetic look I’ve ever seen.)

Me: “Just so you know, he’s wrong. He’s not the first to say it, but he’s wrong.”

(He starts to apologize, but I just wave him off.)

Me: “Please don’t feel like you need to apologize for him.”

(He looks relieved that I am not mad at him, and I finish taking his order.)

Customer’s Friend: “I hope you have a nice day, ma’am.”

Me: “You too, sir.”

(Moral of the story: A little politeness goes a long way, and if you’re going to be an a**-hole to people, at the very least do it out of earshot!)


Interior Inferior

| Brooklyn, NY, USA | Money

(I work as a retail associate (barely above minimum wage, no benefits) at a very upscale boutique that sells furniture and home goods. Most of our clients are incredibly wealthy AND nosy, but don’t seem to have any grasp of the income gap at all. I have this interaction pretty regularly.)

Customer: “Oh, man, I just LOVE this store. And you always have such great advice, great taste, great design input. You must have the most stylish home.”

Me: “I do what I can.”

Customer: “Which pieces do you have in YOUR home?”

Me: “Uh, I actually don’t have anything from the store. Well, a couple of very small items.”

Customer: “Oh, haha, I’m sure your place is full of great antique finds! You’re probably sick of all THIS stuff.”

Me: “Well, it’s mostly IKEA.”

Customer: “Oh. Well, IKEA is… easy.”

Me: “Yep. And inexpensive. Good for a retail employee’s budget. Anything else I can help you find?”

Customer: *usually completely baffled* “Uh… no, thanks.”

(They are often so persistent I’ve even had to deflect direct questions about my income! Often after selling them a $1900 coffee table or something.)

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