Category: Transportation


Bordering On Ridiculous

| The Hague, Netherlands | Transportation

(Our national touring club has an alarm call centre of its own. I’m doing the so-called intake of foreign calls, getting people on the phone with a broken car or motorbike all over Europe.)

Me: “Good afternoon, this is [Touring Club] alarm centre. My name is [My Name]. How can I help you?”

Caller: *thick Twente accent* “Hello. We had a breakdown here in Belgium, and a towing truck came and brought us to a depannage. Could you send someone over?”

(Usually, a car having been towed means it’s an existing case and we already called out for help. But this sounds different.)

Me: “Let me see. Did you already give us a phone call about your problem, ma’am?”

Caller: “No, I just used one of those emergency phones on the roadside. They said I had to call you about payment and sending a repairman.”

Me: “All right, so it’s a new call. Let’s start filling in the case file, shall we?”

(Over the phone, I ask her for several things. However, no valid insurance policy pops up. They’re only insured for Dutch Road Guard, not for help in other countries.)

Me: “Ma’am, is it right you only have a policy for help in the Netherlands?”

Caller: “Yes, but the man of the towing truck said it wouldn’t matter, since it’s all the same.”

Me: “Not quite, but let me see what I can do.”

(I put her on hold. With all the information about their location and everything I go to my superior. Note that for some foreign people, the Netherlands and Belgium might seem like dwarf states, but that for us, half way through Belgium is considered quite far from the border.)

Superior: “Well, they should have had an insurance policy for Europe. We can’t cover for any Belgian help. The only thing we could do is send some Dutch road guard over, but only if they are close to the border. Where are they now?”

Me: “[Town].”

Superior: “Sounds Francophone. I bet it’s a town in Wallonia.” *Southern, French-speaking half of Belgium*

Me: “Yeah, it’s near Liege.”

Superior: “That’s too far away. We can’t send help.”

Me: “Fine. The Belgian tow company apparently said it didn’t matter.”

Superior: “Then he was wrong.”

(I get back to the phone.)

Me: “Sorry to keep you waiting, ma’am. Unfortunately it turns out there’s very little I can do. Since you’re not insured for foreign road guard we can’t cover the costs for you.”

Caller: “I see… after 25 years of membership and never having any trouble.”

(Some people really think that being a longtime member of anything gives you privileges. However, I think the rules just apply for everyone, unless the rules say differently.)

Me: “I’m very sorry, ma’am.”

Caller: “Well, then this ends our conversation.”

Me: “Very well, ma’am.”

Caller: “Is it possible I could withdraw my membership right now over the phone?!”

Me: “No, ma’am. You’d have to call our service department.”

(A Dutch saying says: “Give them one finger and they take your entire hand.” To be honest, some people just think they already have the entire hand. When finding out they don’t, they don’t want the finger anymore either.)


I Tyre Of These Questions

| UK | Money, Transportation

(I’m one of the sales guys at a caravan dealership. A customer asks me for a part exchange value on his caravan against a new one.)

Customer: “It’s absolutely pristine! Like new.”

Me: “Okay, as you don’t have the caravan with you, I can give you a value by asking you some questions on an appraisal questionnaire we have.”

Customer: “Okay.”

(There are lots of questions on the form but I’ll cut to the most entertaining ones.)

Me: “How are the windows? Any cracks? Scratches?”

Customer: “No, no… Oh, one of the front ones has a stone chip hole in it.”

Me: “Okay, how about the furniture inside? Tables, work surfaces all okay?”

Customer: “Yes, all good… Oh, the work surface has a dent in it.”

Me: “Okay, how about the tyres? Are they less than five years old?”

Customer: “I’m not prepared to answer that.”

Me: “Why? They have a date code so we can check them.”

Customer: “Are the tyres on the caravans you sell less than five years old?”

Me: “Yes. If they are older we change them for new ones before we sell the caravan.”

Customer: “Oh, right, do you? Well I’m not prepared to say.”

Me: “Okay, has your caravan been serviced recently?”

Customer: “No.”

Me: “Do you know when it was last serviced?”

Customer: “When we bought it.”

Me: “When was that?”

Customer: “2012.”

Me: “Okay, based on what you’ve told me, your caravan would have a trade in value of £[amount].”

Customer: “What!? That’s nowhere near enough! It’s pristine!”


In Receipt Of Dumbness

| TX, USA | Bad Behavior, Money, Transportation

(I am working late night at the fuel center. One customer pulls up to the pump and a girl — the customer’s daughter, I assume, who looks to be anywhere from 9 to 11 years old — comes to the window and hands me a ten dollar bill. I set the pump for ten dollars. The customer only pumps $9.54 and the same girl returns to the window.)

Me: *hands her 46 cents* “And that’s 46 cents back. Thank you. Have a good night!”

Girl: *slowly takes the change and stares at me*

Me: “Oh, I’m sorry did you need the receipt?”

Girl: “I gave you ten dollars?”

(Just to make sure I pull up the previous transactions and double check.)

Me: “Yes, dear. And she only pumped $9.54, so you get .46 back.”

(She fixes me with a skeptical look and rushes back to the car. I see the mother, the girl, and a younger girl outside the car and all three of them march up to the window.)

Woman: “I paid ten dollars!”

Me: “Yes, ma’am, but you only pumped $9.54, so you get back 46 cents as change.”

Woman: *getting irritated* “I paid ten dollars!”

Me: *sigh* “YES, and you pumped 9.54 and hung up the pump so you get change!”

Woman: “Why would I not get all ten?! I PAID ten!”

Me: “You HUNG up the PUMP after ONLY PUMPING $9.54. Would you like me to set it for .46 cents?”

(They turn to leave; I take a deep breath and turn the speaker volume all the way down.)

Woman: *to her daughters* “Come on, this b**** is dumb.”

(I finally lose my cool and crank the volume.)

Me: “EXCUSE ME, ma’am, but I do not appreciate being called that, or hearing that kind of language used in front of CHILDREN, no less.”

Woman: “What is your name!?”

Me: “[Full Name]! At least I can count!”

(I saved the receipt for that transaction and told both my supervisor, the service desk clerk, and the manager on duty what happened. I didn’t hear another word about it.)


One Of Them Is Not Very Personable

, | Brisbane, QLD, Australia | Extra Stupid, Transportation

Caller: “Hi, can I get a maxi taxi?”

Me: “Sure. Is that for a wheelchair or group of people?”

Caller: “There are four people travelling. Two adults and three children.”

Me: “…”


Taxing Pranking

| Chester, England, UK | Bad Behavior, Transportation

(I work as a telephone and radio operator. I’m responsible for giving jobs out to drivers and taking bookings. In the early evening, I get a call from a fairly young boy.)

Me: “[Taxi Company].”

Kid: “Yeah, I need a taxi, please, as soon as possible. We need to go out within about ten minutes.”

Me: “Okay. What’s the address?”

Kid: “It’s [Address].”

Me: “That’s great, but I don’t recognise you.”

Kid: “Sorry?”

Me: “I don’t recognise your voice at all. I’ve only got two children, as far as I know, and neither of them sound like you.”

Kid: “What?”

Me: “You’ve just requested a taxi from [Address], right?”

Kid: “Yeah.”

Me: “And that’s where you live?”

Kid: “Yeah.”

Me: “That’s where I live, too. Why would you want a taxi from my house?”

(The kid immediately hung up. I phoned my wife, and apparently she’d had a taxi driver knock on the door after waiting outside for five minutes. The kid had sent one car from at least four different companies to our address. No idea where they’d got our address, or why they were doing it, but they stopped after phoning me!)

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