Category: Time

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A Worthless Use Of Time

| USA | Bad Behavior, Money, Technology, Time

(I run IT services for a small company that assists with management of independent businesses. As the only person in the organization who is highly computer-literate, I also run an email-based helpdesk to answer IT-related questions for clients but have to charge a flat fee for phone support so as to keep the phone from ringing all the time. A known-to-be-difficult business owner pays the fee electronically without even opening an email support ticket first, and then calls in seconds after the payment comes through.)

Me: “Hi, thanks for calling [Company] IT Services. How can I help you?”

Client: “First of all, I think it’s ridiculous that I have to pay just to talk to a live person.”

Me: “I understand your frustration. What can I do for you?”

Client: “I don’t know. I just have some questions about my web presence.”

(We provide basic homepages for our clients so as to boost the profile of their brick-and-mortar locations, with a portal they can use to do things like update their hours, address, and ‘About Me’ on their own.)

Me: “Great, I can definitely help with that. Just to let you know, this sounds like the sort of thing that I could easily handle over email and then could refund your money and not have to charge you anything.”

Client: “No, no. I only want to talk to a real person. I’ll pay the d*** fee. So… umm… uh… let’s see… Can you go look at my About Me page? I don’t know if I like the wording I put on there last year. Can you re-type something for me?”

Me: “Sure, what would you like it changed to?”

Client: “Um… let’s see… can you change [word] to [synonym]. And take out that next sentence. No, on second thought, put that sentence back.” *long pause* “I changed my mind. Can you go back to the first line and put in what I originally had but then add something that makes me sound better, like that says I’m the best in my town?”

Me: “Sir, wouldn’t it be easier if you just emailed me the corrected paragraph when you know what you want it to say?”

Client: “No, your stupid fee is the same whether I have you for one minute or fifty-nine minutes so I’m gonna get my money’s worth. Just hang on. I’m waiting for my inspiration.”

(He proceeds to surf the Internet, even watch some YouTube videos, while keeping me on the line for 20 more minutes listening to him click, mutter to himself, and watch videos.)

Client: “Okay, I got it. I’m going to dictate word for word and I want you to type what I say.”

(I do this; four paragraphs worth across three separate sub-pages of his basic website.)

Client: “Now save it so I can look at it.” *pause while I do this and he refreshes* “Oh, this is much too informal. You just typed what I said without doing your part to make me sound better? What am I paying for? This won’t do. Hold on.”

(A few more minutes of silence pass.)

Client: “All right. Since I’m having to do everything, I don’t know what I’m paying for, but I’m sure gonna get my money’s worth.”

(His basic website is supposed to be self-managed, so he’s clearly not “having to do everything”!)

Client: “So, here goes. Go back to that first page and I’m gonna dictate again. This time we’ll get it just so.”

Me: *after we get to the last page* “Great, your website has been fully updated. We’ve added or revised content on every page and it’s fresh and new. Do you have any other questions?”

Client: “Nope. I still don’t see why I had to pay for this, but I need to get on with my day. Have a good day.”

(He’s taken up 52 minutes on the phone, not counting my time logging all of this in his consulting file. A couple minutes later, he calls back.)

Me: “Hi again. Is there something else I can do for you?”

Client: “Yeah… I was watching something else on YouTube and I want to get it added to my site.” *starts reading off the YouTube URL, not clearly enunciating any of the letters*

Me: “Sir, could you email that to me instead?”

Client: “I don’t like using email since I just want to talk to a real person, but I guess I can email you just this once.”

(I receive the link and embed it in his site and let him look at it.)

Client: “Umm… I guess I just wanted to see what it would look like having a video on my website. I don’t really need it there. Take it off. But I got my money’s worth, didn’t I? You have a good day now.” *hangs up with a chuckle*

(He spent a total of 59 minutes and 40 seconds on the phone. He must have had a timer or something running on his end to “make sure he got his money’s worth.” I ended up working almost an hour late that day trying to catch up on the things I actually needed to be doing in order to keep the company’s computer systems maintained.)

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Dying To Say That

| USA | Crazy Requests, Popular, Time

(I’m waiting to be called for my appointment in my doctor’s office when a man comes in and charges up to the check-in desk.)

Man: “Do you do lab work on site here? I need a test and I can’t wait for it!”

(The receptionist explains that while they collect all manner of samples on site, they send their samples off-site for processing. She ends the conversation with “but we do accept walk-ins and usually have lab results within a day or two.” The man decides this is good enough for him, takes the check-in paperwork, and sits down to fill it out. Not a minute later…)

Man: “I’m really sorry, but I need to eat something or I’m going to pass out. I mean, really, I’m going to pass out if I don’t get some food right now. Can I take this paperwork with me and just come back in an hour or so?”

Receptionist: “You are welcome to take the paperwork with you and come back whenever, but we can’t enter you into our system or put you in the walk-in queue until we have your paperwork and we know you are waiting to be seen. If you want to be seen as soon as possible, please fill out the paperwork now and have a seat to wait to be seen. Our wait isn’t long now, only about 30 minutes.”

Man: “No, I will die on your floor if I don’t eat something right now. Don’t you have a call-back system where I can get in line and just come back when you’re ready for me? All my favorite restaurants do that now… I love it. Can you do that?”

Receptionist: “No, sir, you have to fill out the paperwork now and wait here in the lobby until we call you, or you can make an appointment to be seen later. We have guaranteed appointments starting at 8 am tomorrow, if that would be better for you.”

Man: “No, if you insist that I have to wait, I’ll wait. I just need some tests. 30 minutes isn’t too bad. I might pass out from not eating, but you can revive me if that happens, I guess.”

(Less than five minutes later, the receptionist calls me back for my appointment. As I walk back all I hear is:)

Man: “Now, what kind of scam are you trying to pull here? You said I was next to be seen, and they called someone else back before me!”

(While a hybrid primary and urgent care, I’ve never seen anything like this before at this office, and I raise an eyebrow at the receptionist.)

Receptionist: *quietly* “Word got around to the posh nearby residents that we offer prompt service, and we’ve had an influx of rich people who think they won’t have to wait, no matter when they waltz in.”

(Since I needed a number of tests and whatnot, my appointment takes a while, but I end up leaving around the same time as the impatient man.)

Me: *loudly* “Well, thanks for taking such good care of me at my scheduled appointment time. I’m sure tired after hustling to be on time for my appointment and going through all those tests. I hope I can still find a restaurant open in this big city at 8 pm on a weekday, so I don’t starve before I make the 20 minute commute back to my house!”

(The staff were trying not to laugh behind the desk.)

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Cooking Up Some Trouble

| CA, USA | Bad Behavior, Popular, Time

(Five minutes to closing, a woman and her grand-daughter come to the door. What kind of person takes their five-year-old grand-daughter to dinner at nearly 11 at night?)

Customer: “I demand you serve me. It’s not closing time.”

(It is10:55. We close at 11:00.)

Me: *hiding a mental sigh* “Certainly. This way, ma’am.”

(Everything has been cleaned by then: the grill, the counters, the tables, everything. This woman orders things that causes us to re-clean everything. All of us, especially the cook, are livid. They spend about an hour eating.)

Customer: “I need to complain about my steak. I demand that the cook remake it.”

Me: “Yes, ma’am.”

(They finally left at about 12:30. When I was cleaning her table, I noticed she had left her car keys. Right after she walked out, we had locked the door. When she came back to the door yelling that she had forgotten her car keys, we all acted like we could not hear her. She had to take a taxi home. I suppose she never was taught about the cardinal rule of not pissing off the wait-staff or cooks.)

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Momentarily Shocked

| Hudson, WI, USA | At The Checkout, Bad Behavior, Time

(I’m working the drive-thru at my job, and like many of our lunch rushes, we end up getting slammed that day. Since I’m the only one wearing the headset, I have to put a few customers waiting to place an order on hold.)

Me: “Hi, welcome to [Restaurant]! I’ll be with you in just a moment.”

Customer: “Okay.” *short pause* “Your moment’s up.”

(I’m startled into a brief silence. I’m fairly certain the guy was joking, but in the middle of a rush, I’m never in the mood for jokes.)

Me: *slowly* “Fine. I’ll be with you in thirty seconds.”

Customer: “That’s better.”

(I was actually ready to take their order about ten seconds after that. But because they decided to pull that rude joke, I counted down to exactly thirty seconds before actually taking their order.)

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There Is No Plus Side To This

| Melbourne, VIC, Australia | Extra Stupid, Popular, Time

Customer: “I want to complain about your meter readers. They didn’t come in the period they were supposed to.”

Me: “Okay, let me check… So, your scheduled read date was March 22, plus or minus two business days. Our records show the readers attended on March 25 but the gate was locked.”

Customer: “Of course it was. That’s outside of the window.”

Me: “I’m sorry, but it isn’t; the 25th is two business days after the 23rd.”

Customer: “NO. Where it says plus or minus two business days, that means it’s one day either side, two extra business days, up to three business days total. What are you, stupid?”

Me: “I’m afraid that’s not the case. Plus or minus two business days means it can be up to two business days either side, a total of five business days.”

Customer: “NO, IT DOESN’T! IT NEVER MEANS THAT! ARE YOU STUPID?!”

Me: “Ma’am, out of curiosity, what would you assume it meant if we’d written plus or minus one business day?”

(Long silence.)

Customer: “F*** YOU!” *click*”

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