Fishing For Answers That Will Never Come

, , , , , | Right | April 7, 2020

(Though the outdoor store I work in primarily sells non-hunting gear and clothing, we’re also licensed to sell statewide hunting and fishing licenses. We do so through our rental department, which uses a website hosted through the state department to input customers’ information and register the licenses.

Unfortunately, midway through the summer, the state department’s system crashes, leaving us with the uncomfortable task of making excuses for our lack of licenses. Usually, customers, especially younger ones, are able to understand that the state department’s website is not something we can control, but some customers are particularly pesky.

I’m working at the administration desk, checking out some keys for a coworker, when this phone call comes in.)

Me: “Thank you for calling [Outdoor Store]. How may I direct your call?”

Customer: “Yes, hi. I’m coming down tomorrow on a business trip, and I was hoping to hit the river. You sell fishing licenses, right?”

Me: *resigned to the course this conversation is going to take* “Yes, sir, ordinarily we would. Unfortunately, we sell our licenses through the state department’s website, and the website is out of service right now. So we aren’t carrying fishing licenses at this time.”

Customer: “What? So, you can’t put me through to your license department?”

Me: “We still wouldn’t be able to sell you a license. The state department’s website is down, and we sell licenses through them.”

Customer: “Well, when are you going to get it fixed?”

Me: “It’s been down for about a month now, sir. It’s the state department’s website, not ours, so the entire state’s been affected. No one can buy a fishing license at this time.”

Customer: “So, you’re not going to fix it?”

Me: “Again, it’s not our website, sir. It’s a state website, and not one that we have access to other than the sale functions, so there’s really nothing we can do.”

Customer: “That’s okay. I don’t even want an online license, only a paper one, so just put me through to your license department and I can come to pick it up tomorrow.”

Me: “Sir, that’s actually not how license sales work. We would give you a paper license if we could sell them, but unfortunately, without the website, there’s no way to validate any licenses with the state.”

Customer: “Okay… but I’m willing to pay for a paper license, anyway.”

Me: “Sir, we would not be able to use the website—”

Customer: “No, I know, I know! But listen, I’ll pay for a license, and you can just give me a paper one. Then, when the website comes back up, you can just validate it then!”

Me: *flabbergasted* “Sir! Perhaps you misunderstood me. We don’t have any licenses to sell you, paper or otherwise. The website exists to validate licenses as the sales go through. Our system only prints out a license after they’ve been validated. Also… the process you’ve described is… literally fraud.”

Customer: *annoyed* “Oh, so you really can’t help me, then? Okay. Whatever. I guess I’ll just go hiking or something, instead.”

(He hangs up, and I look up from the phone to see my coworker staring at me, openmouthed.)

Coworker: “Wow. I’ve never seen anyone just not get it that badly!”

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