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No Fortitude For Longitude, Part 15

, , , , | 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 14
No Fortitude For Longitude, Part 13
No Fortitude For Longitude, Part 12
No Fortitude For Longitude, Part 11
No Fortitude For Longitude, Part 10

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