No Fortitude For Longitude, Part 13

, , , , | Right | July 12, 2019

(I work in a very small office. Due to a severe storm that knocked out power, we have to close the office for two days. When we reopen, I am working my way through voicemails. I return a call.)

Operator: “Thank you for calling [Finance Company.] Can I have your account number?”

Me: “No. I’m returning a call about confirming employment.”

Operator: “Can I have the social security number of the applicant?”

Me: “We don’t give out employee social security numbers. I can confirm employment, however.”

Operator: “I need the social to look it up.”

Me: “Then I guess we’re done here.” *hangs up*

(Over the next several days, I get multiple additional voicemails from the same company. Each return call is the same. Finally, one comes in while I am there.)

Caller: “Hi, this is [Caller] from [Finance Company.] I need to confirm employment for one of your employees.”

Me: “Yes, I’ve had multiple voicemails from you but I can’t get past the part where your operator wants me to provide a social security number.”

Caller: “No worries. I have that information. I need to confirm employment and pay for [Employee].”

(I confirm the details for her. She’s got all the information and simply needs me to say it is correct. The employee has authorized this, so I confirm.)

Caller: “I just have one final question. What are your company’s hours of operation?”

Me: “We have posted hours of nine am until five pm, Monday through Friday. We are sometimes here earlier or later, but you can always get someone during those hours.”

Caller: “I’m only asking because I called on [Date] and got the voicemail and then again on [Other Dates] and got voicemail.”

Me: “Well, as you may have seen on the national news, our area was hit with a massive storm on [Date] and we had no electricity or phones. We were closed for two days while the flood waters went down and the utility companies restored power.”

Caller: “I thought that might explain [Date], but what about the other times I called?”

Me: “Each of those calls came in after six pm. Everyone was gone by then.”

Caller: “No, I called shortly after four pm. each time.”

Me: “California time, yes. We are on the east coast.”

Caller: “What do you mean?”

Me: “You are in California. You are three hours behind us.”

Caller: “I don’t appreciate your attitude. We aren’t behind anything.”

Me: “Sweetie, what time is it where you are?”

Caller: “It’s the same as where you are: noon!

Me: “No, here it is three pm. Our time is different because we are in the Eastern time zone.”

Caller: “The whole country is in the same time zone. I’m going to have to flag this application. I don’t think this is a legitimate company.”

(Several days later, the employee told me the application went through… after she had a conversation with the loan officer about why [Caller] thought we weren’t a “real” company. I have no idea if anyone explained time to her.)

No Fortitude For Longitude, Part 12
No Fortitude For Longitude, Part 11
No Fortitude For Longitude, Part 10

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