Their Cold Heart Is In Need Of Some Heating

, , , , , , , | Working | January 19, 2018

(I work in an office with two coworkers. [Coworker #1] is a nightmare to work with. She constantly needs nudging, telling, reminding, you name it, about her tasks. One afternoon on a freezing day, the phone rings.)

Me: “Thank you for calling [Business]. How can I help you?”

Elderly Woman: “Oh. Is that not [Nationwide Gas Supplier]?”

Me: “No, I’m sorry; it’s [Business]. What number did you dial?”

Elderly Woman: “Oh. I’ve been trying to find their number for a while, and it’s so cold here. I put it down somewhere. Hang on… It was [number].”

Me: “I’m very sorry, but our number’s [number with one digit different]. It’s very similar.”

Elderly Woman: *sounds like she’s about to cry* “I see. Okay. I’ll try again. Thank you so much.”

Me: “No problem; goodbye.”

(Twenty seconds later, the phone rings.)

Me: “Thank you for calling [Business]. How can I help?”

Elderly Woman: “Hello, dear, I can’t get my boiler working. Would you send someone, please?”

Me: “Hello again, madam. This is [My Name] at [Business]. We spoke a minute ago? Did you misdial again?”

Elderly Woman: “Well, I thought I did it right.” *starts dialing the number with me still on the line* “There’s zero…” *presses zero for about five seconds* “And eight…” *presses eight for a few seconds* “And—”

Me: “Madam? I’m sorry, I’m still on the line so it won’t work; plus, when you do redial, you only need to tap the numbers, not hold them down for so long.”

Elderly Woman: “Ah, I see. Okay. I just tap the numbers and it’ll work.”

Me: “Yes, it should do. Good luck!”

(We say our goodbyes, hang up, and then twenty seconds later, the phone rings.)

Me: “Thank you for calling [Business]. How can I help?”

Elderly Woman: “Oh, hello again, dear. I seem to be struggling here, don’t I? I’m so sorry to trouble you again. I’ll just go and—”

Me: “Hello again. No, don’t worry; it’s fine. Did you say your boiler was broken before?”

Elderly Woman: “Yes. It broke last night, and I can’t seem to find anyone to come and have a look at it for me. It’s cold today, isn’t it? Boilers always seem to go when you need them the most, don’t they?”

Me: “They certainly do, yes. Look, give me the number you were going to call, and I’ll call them for you. And if you give me your name, address, and number, I’ll get them to send someone round to you. How does that sound?”

Elderly Woman: “Would you? You will? Oh, my word. That sounds fine; thank you so much!” *then she hangs up*

(Luckily, I have the 1471 service on my phone line, so I get her number, call her back, explain who I am, that I need her details to pass to the boiler people, and so forth. I then call the boiler people, explain the situation, tell them there’s a confused and vulnerable elderly lady there without a working heating system, and that she can’t even manage to use her phone. The call centre chap is fine with it and tells me he’ll sort it out. I give it 15 minutes, then call the old lady back. She’s been contacted by the boiler chap, and a visit is scheduled for later in the day. All done; old lady is happy, and we end the call. I put the phone down.)

Me: *to both coworkers* “Phew. I’m glad to be getting back to typing, after all that.”

Coworker #1: *in a snappy tone* “I don’t know why you did that! It’s not your job to do that! You wasted your time doing all that!”

Me: *looks at her for a second* “Right. First of all: are you telling me you’d leave a vulnerable person with no heating when there’s something you could do about it? And secondly, since when did you, you, of all people, get to tell me what is and isn’t my job, when you don’t even know what your own is? I’ll tell you what; when you start pulling your weight, we’ll discuss what my job entails.”

(I stomped off for some fresh air; I was so annoyed.)

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