Big Brother Is A Big Bother

| FL, USA | Right | May 14, 2014

(Our company sells high-tech gadgets for use with RC planes and helicopters, such as GPS locators and infrared sensors.)

Customer: “Hello. I’m trying to order your GPS unit, but I don’t want to put my credit card number online.”

Me: “I’m sorry, sir, but I don’t have a way to take a credit card order over the phone. The only thing I could do is bring up the website and enter it there myself.”

Customer: “Well, I’m not putting my credit card number out on the Internet!”

Me: “Sir, I can assure you that entering your credit card information on our encrypted website is much more secure than reading it off to me over the telephone. But we also take PayPal, if you don’t want to involve your credit card at all.”

Customer: *grumbling* “Okay.” *hangs up*

Coworker: *overhearing the conversation* “Did someone have a security issue with the website?”

Me: “No, he just wants military satellites to be able to track his model airplane’s precise location… but he’s afraid of e-commerce.”

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Making A Bad Impression

, | Japan | Right | May 13, 2014

(I am the operations manager of an overseas military TV and radio station. In place of regular commercials, we run locally-made information spots. We get feedback through an email system, mostly complaints about stuff out of our control, such as TV shows and music selections. A few months ago, we got an email from an irate listener complaining about a radio spot advertising the base library, where one of the producers did an imitation of former President George W. Bush. He was livid about the disrespect to our former Commander-In-Chief. I responded professionally, explaining we often use humor in our spots to make the information memorable, and the impression was fairly innocuous. He kept emailing back more irate, insulting military broadcasters, questioning our patriotism, accusing us of communism, etc. Finally, he came to our station to personally confront me. The following exchange occurred in our lobby.)

Irate Marine: “Your excuses are just that! The ‘humor’ of that imitation is offensive and disrespectful! How dare you demean the former president!”

Me: “Well, he didn’t seem to think so.”

Irate Marine: “… What?”

Me: *points to framed picture on the wall* “See that?”

(It’s George W. Bush in our production room laughing with a young Marine.)

Irate Marine: “He came here?”

Me: “Years ago, I’m told. See that Marine in the photo? He’s the one who voiced and produced that spot. That photo was taken while he was playing the commercial for The President. He apparently has a better sense of humor about himself than you do.”

Irate Marine: *walks out the door, mumbling* “Well, it’s STILL disrespectful!”

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No Holding Back

| St. Louis, MO, USA | Right | May 13, 2014

(I work at a popular lingerie store that also sells a line of young women’s clothing. It’s nearly closing time on a Sunday night when a teenage girl and her mother come in.)

Me: “Hi. Welcome to [Store]. What brings you ladies in tonight?”

Mother: “Yes, I called earlier today about a hoodie y’all sell. I was told you had several.”

Me: “Sure, I can help you with that. Which hoodie was it?”

(The mother produces a picture of the hoodie from our website. I recognize it as a style that we have not had for a few days, due to the style’s popularity.)

Me: “Oh, I’m sorry. We haven’t had those in for almost a week. The few we did have sold out between yesterday and today. I can order one online for you, though, and you’ll get free shipping right to your house.”

Mother: “This is unacceptable! I called at nine this morning, and the girl told me you had a bunch!”

Me: “Are you sure you called today, ma’am? We don’t open until 11, and nobody was here before 10.”

Mother: “Well, maybe it was 11. I don’t know. But you still should have saved one for me!”

Me: “Did you put one on hold? If so it’s still in our closet.”

Mother: “I don’t know.” *speaking to daughter* “Did you put one on hold?”

Daughter: “Yeah, it should be under Kelly.”

(I check the closet. The hoodie is definitely not there.)

Me: “That’s weird. It should be here.” *to mother* “And you called today, you said?”

Mother: “Well, no. It was my daughter who called.”

Me: *to daughter* “And you called today?”

Daughter: “No, I called Thursday. Maybe, Wednesday. No… I think it must have been Monday. Yeah, Monday.”

Me: “So, you called on Monday? And you put a hoodie on hold? Did they tell you that we only hold merchandise for 24 hours?”

Daughter: “Um, idk, maybe?”

(Yes, she really said ‘idk.’)

Mother: “It shouldn’t matter when she called! You should have held it for her!”

Me: “Well, unfortunately, we don’t have the space to hold product for that long, especially over a weekend. Plus, it’s not really fair to other customers. But, like I said, I can always look online and see if we can get one shipped to you.”

Mother: “No! Go into your back room and find one.”

Me: “I’m really sorry, but we don’t have any more in the stock room; I’ve checked several times today for other customers. I can check again, if you’d like, but you’re going to be disappointed.”

Mother: “GET ME YOUR MANAGER! I’M GOING TO GET YOUR A** FIRED!”

Me: *losing all patience* “Sure, but I’m going to have to ask you to please watch your tone and language.”

Mother: “You little b****! How DARE you speak to me like this? First you sell my daughter’s hoodie to some tramp, I’m sure, and then you refuse to do anything about it. MANAGER! NOW!”

(I radio to the back for my manager.)

Me: “She’ll be out in just a minute. Again, I’m sorry for the inconvenience.”

Mother: “I bet you are! I drove an hour to come to this store just for this hoodie because you lied to my daughter and told her you had a product you clearly don’t have! This is incorrigible.”

Me: “What’s incorrigible is your attitude right now. I’m very sorry about all this, but your daughter did call our store nearly a week ago about a product. Of course our inventory is going to change between Monday, when we get all our shipment in, and Sunday just before close. If the hoodie was that important, perhaps you should have come out sooner. I can only apologize so many times for something that is outside of my control. Additionally, we are now closed, and have been for several minutes. However, I would still be willing to call another store or order this hoodie online. Alternatively, you could leave and come back at another time, and perhaps we’ll have some in then.”

Mother: “Well, I never! All right, here’s what I want you to do. I’m going to give you my number, and you are going to call me when you get more of these hoodies in. Then, you are going to send me one to my house free of charge. Do you understand me?”

(My manager comes around the corner with a look on her face that clearly indicates she had been listening.)

Manager: “Of course, ma’am. Let me take down your name and number, and I will be sure to talk with my associate about all this.”

(The woman smugly gives my manager her info, then she and the daughter leave. I wait by the registers while my manager pulls and locks our gates.)

Me: “Am I fired?”

Manager: *crumples up paper with the customers info* “Like h*** I’m catering to that b****.”

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Pales In Comparison To Wales

| Wales, UK | Right | May 13, 2014

(I work in a tourist information centre in a Welsh town. As well as its regular Welsh town name, the town has an anglicised version since it is a popular seaside destination for a large swathe of people from central England. The anglicised name sounds similar to another popular seaside resort that actually IS in England, but it’s a good 350+ miles away from us.)

Me: “Bore da, Canolfan Groeso [Welsh town]. Sut gallai helpu chi? Good morning, tourist information [Anglicised name of Welsh town]. How may I help you?”

Caller: “Yeah. I want sailing times for the ferries to the [island near the English town].”

Me: “I’m afraid I don’t have that information to hand, sir. I can either give you the phone number for [English Town]’s tourist services or I can pop you on hold whilst I look it up.”

Caller: “But people sail from [town not far from English town] all the time. Why haven’t you got it to hand? I could look it up on the Internet myself!”

Me: “We are [Welsh town], 350+ miles from [English town]. We tend to only provide information for [Welsh town] and the surrounding county.”

Caller: “I don’t understand.”

Me: “You’ve called Wales, sir. The services you want are in England.”

Caller: “Wales?”

Me: “Yep, Wales.”

Caller: “So you’re not [English town]?”

Me: “Nope, we’re [Welsh town].”

Caller: “Well, what’s the point of that? Why would you do that?”

Me: “Erm, I’m really sorry but I don’t follow?”

Caller: “Why would you be in Wales?”

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Needs Some Light Soul Food

, | CA, USA | Right | May 13, 2014

(I am working the drive thru of the store very early in the morning.)

Me: “Welcome to [Fast Food Store], what could I get for you today?”

Customer: “Just a small coffee.”

Me: “How will you take your coffee today?”

Customer: “Black, just like my soul.”

Me: “… okay?”

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