Making It A Matter Of Public Record(ing)

, , , , , | Legal | May 23, 2018

(When my husband was 18, he defaulted on a credit card in the amount of $500. Fifteen years later a company starts calling, trying to collect on that defaulted credit card in the amount of $12,000. They call him, me, my mom, my sister, his parents, his siblings, and his grandmother. Repeatedly, at all hours. They start telling him that if he doesn’t pay he will be brought up on federal charges and be a felon. They tell our family that he is a bad person who will go to jail for year. That if we don’t settle with them, they will push for the max penalty and he could go away for 10+ years. At first we think that this is a scam call. It’s scary how much information they have on us. When we look into them they turn out to be an actual debt collection agency. We both start taping the calls; so do my sister and two of my husband’s siblings. We all tell the company to leave us alone and stop calling. My husband and I tell them to either take us to court or leave us alone. After three months of this, we finally take them to court for harassment. This is one of the conversations that we have, to the best of my recollection.)

Their Lawyer: “You can’t use the recordings that your clients made. California requires all parties to be informed that they are being recorded.”

(Our lawyer presses play on one of the recordings:)

Employee From The Company: “This is [Employee] calling from [Company]; is this [My Name]?”

Me: “Yes.”

Employee From The Company: “Just so you know, this call is being recorded for legal purposes…”

(Our lawyer stops the recording:)

Our Lawyer: “Sure sounds like everyone was aware the call was being recorded.”

Their Lawyer: “But they weren’t actually recording the calls.”

Our Lawyer: “Well, maybe they should stop lying to people, and then they wouldn’t be here today.”

(They settled out of court, which was to pay our legal fees, “settle” our account so they couldn’t sell it to anyone else, a small amount of monetary compensation, and to never contact us or anyone in our family again.)

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At Least Your Alcohol Addiction Supported An Old Lady

, , , , | Legal | May 22, 2018

(It is about 15 years ago, and I am a greeter at a gigantic nationwide store. My duties are to make sure the front of the store is a safe place, all the carts are clean, and cart wipes are stocked in the proper container. Occasionally, something will set the buzzer off and I have to check the receipt to find a common data point between all the things that set off the buzzer that day, but other than that, it is usually a pretty chill job. This is the tale of one afternoon shift that is decidedly not chill: An incredibly old, frail, and somewhat wobbly woman comes through the doorway with a cart, and sets the buzzer off.)

Old Woman: “Oh, dear me! What is that?”

Me: “Hi, ma’am! I’m [My Name], and please don’t worry. It’s an alarm that makes sure everything is scanned and all tags are deactivated, like on pharmacy items, liquor, and detergents. I’m so sorry for the scare there! May I see your receipt, for the register and order numbers?”

Old Woman: “I went through the pharmacy, and then I grabbed this cart from over by those old registers they never use except for the holiday season, what with the Black Friday and Thanksgiving and all that…”

(While she’s talking, I take a quick look at the cart, noticing quite a few bottles of liquor, partly covered by newspapers and a torn up box. A common trick, but only in a much younger demographic.)

Me: “Oh, okay, ma’am. Well, it looks like you may have grabbed someone else’s cart. There’s actually a few bottles of liquor in here.”

Old Woman: *is very confused* “Liquor? Like bourbon and whiskey?”

Me: “Yes, ma’am.”

Old Woman: “Oh, no, dear, I don’t use any of that… A Scotch every other week, maybe some baking with rum or something for the holidays, but I don’t buy it. My husband does all that stuff! Oh, heavens, all this trouble! Well, I was just getting my prescription, but I took this cart from the old registers! Oh, but you…” *motions towards me with one hand, and almost falls, catching herself on the cart* “…well, you can take all this rubbish out, right? I need this to walk to my car!”

Me: “Well, yeah, but I think it may be easier for you tonight if you just got a scooter.” *points at the electric carts*

Old Woman: “Oh, no. Oh, no. That won’t do.” *tries to walk with the cart, but is even more wobbly*

Me: “Ma’am? I’d much rather see you safe in a scooter than wobbling and falling. The young man bringing in carts will help you out to your car, okay?”

Old Woman: “Well, all right, if you insist.”

Me: “I do, yes. I’m sorry for the scare; you have a better day, okay?”

Old Woman: “Well, you just added a bit of excitement in this old woman’s day. You have a good evening now, child.”

Me: “Thank you.”

(The courtesy clerk quickly gets her purse, and I make a stop motion as he starts to grab the liquor. He whispers:)

Clerk: “Like what, she stole it?”

Me: *whispering back* “No. This isn’t even her stuff at all! Totally unintentional.”

(I think that the matter is finished, and all I have to do is take the cart back to the LP department so they can do their thing. But, as I’m walking the liquor filled cart to Customer Service, some random woman, reeking of liquor and looking worse than drunk, grabs my arm. She has an incredibly fragile, tough-girl act going on:)

Drunk Girl: “Yo! Like, why’d you move my cart, b****?”

Me: “This cart? An old woman was using it to support herself while she was walking out of the store!” *quickly reaches the Customer Service desk*

Drunk Girl: *walking briskly beside me* “YO! LIKE, NO, B****! YOU DON’T F****** TOUCH MY STUFF!” *tries and fails to grab the cart* “I PAID FOR ALL OF THIS, YA KNOW!?”

Me: “Sure. Okay.” *quickly moves the cart of booze behind the Customer Service desk* “I just need to see your receipt for all of that. Immediately.”

Drunk Girl: “LIKE, WHATEVER, MAN, GIVE IT TO ME. MY F****** CART, YO!”

Me: *turns around to the clerk* “Hey! Page LP real quick. We’ve got a live one.”

Clerk: “Already done.”

(The drunk girl ran and took the cart from behind the desk, and as she ran towards the other doorway, a couple of police officers stopped her, one handcuffing her and the other redirecting the cart towards Customer Service where the LP guy was waiting. She was arrested when they found that she had an outstanding warrant, but they added underage drinking, public intoxication, and a couple of other things.)

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Allow Me To Deposit Some Reality Right Here

, , , , | Legal | May 21, 2018

(I work for a telephone company and one of the laws governing unpaid accounts is that after a certain length of time they become “statute barred” for approximately six years, which means that the statute of limitations has expired and we can no longer collect from the ex-customer or refuse service due to an unpaid account. There are some “customers” who know to the day how long they have to wait before once again getting service they have no intention of paying for. Often a family will cycle between companies and family members getting free service most of the time. Then the company changes their policy so that even if their account is “statute barred,” the “customer” is considered a poor risk and can get basic dial tone only — which we cannot not refuse — but absolutely no services like long distance or calling features, or they can open a “deposit” account where we get our money up front, and a full service package comes with a very hefty deposit. When I get someone who is just past the date, I sometimes slip into passive-aggressive mode.)

Customer: “Hi. I would like to set up service.”

Me: “Certainly. Have you had service with us before?”

Customer: “No, I haven’t.”

Me: “Very well. We need to set up an account for you.” *collects identification information* “Oh, it looks like we have an old account from just over six years ago for you.”

Customer: “Oh, okay. I guess I forgot.”

Me: “No problem. Well, it looks like you left owing us money, so you have a choice between a restricted account or a deposit account.”

Customer: “What is a restricted account?”

(I explain how it is dial tone and local dialing ONLY.)

Customer: “But I want features: long distance, Internet, and TV.”

Me: “Then you would require a deposit account.”

Customer: “Why?”

Me: “Because you left your last service without paying your bill.”

Customer: “But I don’t owe you any money.”

Me: “No, you don’t.”

Customer: “…”

Me: “…”

Customer: “So when can I get service?”

Me: “After the deposit posts to your account.”

Customer: “But I don’t owe you any money.”

Me: “No, you don’t.”

Customer: “…”

Me: “…”

Customer: “How much is the deposit?”

(For the size of the service package and the equipment it is — no kidding — $1800. I advise the customer it is the charge for three months service in advance, plus the value of the equipment.)

Customer: “How about hooking me up, and I’ll pay the deposit in instalments?” *clearly no intent to pay*

Me: “I’m sorry, but the computer will not complete the processing of your order until the full amount of the deposit posts to the account.”

Customer: “…”

Me: “…”

Customer: *becoming more and more agitated as they can’t find the loophole to get free service* “BUT I DON’T OWE YOU ANY MONEY!”

Me: “No, you don’t.”

Customer: “WHY DO I HAVE TO PAY A DEPOSIT?”

Me: “Since you did not pay your balance when you last had service, you are now considered a high risk for non-payment and the company wants their money up front.”

Customer: “F*** YOU!” *click*

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Banking On Common Sense

, , , | Legal | May 20, 2018

(I am out taking care of some errands one afternoon when I turn down the street for my bank and see several police cars, all with lights flashing, in the bank’s parking lot. I immediately pull off into an empty parking lot and turn around going back the way I came. Just then one of the police cars comes FLYING out of the bank’s parking lot and pulls me over.)

Officer: “Do you know why I pulled you over?”

Me: “Um, no, sir. I don’t.”

Officer: “Well, I noticed you headed for the bank but you turned back around.”

Me: “Yes, sir, I did.”

Officer: “Well, I just noticed that when you saw us you immediately turned around.”

Me: “This is true.”

Officer: *staring at me expectantly* “Okay…?”

Me: *confused* “Okay?”

Officer: *clearly still waiting for an explanation* “Sooo…?”

Me: *still confused about why I got pulled over* “Sooo… why am I going to go into a bank surrounded by cops?”

(He literally jumped back in surprise like that question had never crossed his mind. He let me go with a warning to “Be careful out there.” Way ahead of you, buddy.)

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Global Positioning Showers

| Legal | May 25, 2013

(I work at a drug testing facility. I am having an e-mail exchange with one of Parole Officers that refers me a lot of clients.)

Parole Officer: “Has [new client] shown up yet?”

Me: “He was supposed to come to me about a week ago, but nope, still nothing.”

Parole Officer: “Okay, he’s on his way. He’s not the brightest crayon in the box, so you might have to explain the procedures to him a few times.”

Me: “Cool, good to know.”

(Several minutes pass.)

Parole Officer: “He apparently can’t find you. He called me a few minutes ago to say he was in the shower. I am confused.”

Me: “That’s a new one.”

Parole Officer: “I know, right? Job security.”

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