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Vendor Bender

, , , , | Right | May 17, 2022

I am working at a call center for a website that sells tours and trips around the world.

Customer: “Hi. I booked a trip on your website and had a question.”

The customer proceeds to ask a detailed question about the trip he booked.

Me: “Okay, what you’ll need to do is call the tour vendor for that information. We provided the phone number for you on your voucher.”

Customer: “Why can’t you tell me yourself?”

Me: “The nature of our business is selling events and trips for tour vendors through our portals. If you need specific information about the trip you booked, you’ll need to speak with the vendor and they’ll be happy to provide you with all the information you need. Again, the number is on your voucher.”

Customer: “I asked you!

Me: “Sir, there are over 30,000 different trips, tours, and events listed on our website—”

Customer: “Then what’s your job?”

Me: “I’m here to assist you if you have a problem with the booking itself, such as if you need to reschedule or cancel, if you have a complaint about the tour, you were injured—”

Customer: “Yeah, you’re really fast to take my money, but slow to help me when I need it!”

Me: “You are asking the wrong person. You will need to call the tour vendor. The phone number for the tour vendor is on your voucher. If you don’t have it in front of you, I can give you the number if you have something to write with.”

Customer: “You just don’t want to help me!”

Me: “Sir, I can’t give you information I don’t have. Did you need to—”

Customer: “I’m done talking to you. You’re fast to take my money but slow to help. You’re nothing but lazy and useless, and let me tell you something else—”

Me: *Hangs up*

Ten seconds later…

Me: “[Greeting].”

Customer:Why did you hang up on me?!

Me: “You said you were done talking. If you need the tour vendor’s number—”

Customer: “I’m the customer here! I hang up first!”

Me: “Did you have any other questions?”

Customer: “No. You wanna waste my time, I’ll waste your time.”

Me: “Not at this business.” *Hangs up*

Consistency Has To Do With Texture, Right?

, , , , | Right | May 18, 2022

My client, a marketing director, tends to be very particular about consistency in point sizes across various pieces.  

Me: “I can’t get this headline to wrap properly!”

Client: “What about rewording it to fit?”

Me: “I’ve tried that; nothing seems to make it fit.”

Client: “Just make the point size bigger.”

One of the other designers at the table points out that it will break the consistency across the ads.

Client: “Consistency doesn’t mean doing the same thing all the time.”

No one knew how to respond to that.

Define “Urgent”

, , , , | Working | May 17, 2022

I work in IT and I assist in tracking down issues and correcting them from various departments. The tickets are coded in priority from low to urgent, meaning that business is stopped.

I get an urgent ticket from the call center, which typically means phone lines are down, so I stop what I am doing to look at it. The request states that eighty calls in the past month have been routed incorrectly for [Product]. This needs to be researched and corrected immediately.

Eighty calls? I pull up how many calls this product receives each month: over 35,000.

I close the ticket and respond.

Me: “I show that members have the ability to select in the phone tree which department they wish to reach. If eighty members out of 35,000 calls reached the incorrect department — which is less than 0.23% of the call volume for [Product] — I would recommend that we put this in the monthly bulletin as a success case and see if we can get the same percentage in our other products. Thank you for sharing the good news with the IT department as, typically, we only see Urgent tickets for escalated items such as the phone system down in the call center.”

Sadly, it was not in the monthly bulletin, but it was brought up in my one-on-one with my manager to not copy the entire department on ticket responses.

Never Commit The Same Crime In The Same Place Twice

, , , , , | Legal | May 17, 2022

After my colleague quit their job, I needed someone in the laboratory who could represent me from time to time. I got permission from my boss to train an unskilled worker for this.

I worked with her for over a year, explained the processes, showed the necessary steps, and made sure that [New Hire] got all the help she needed when I was away. She could call me anytime during my vacation (and she did, a lot). On the whole, she did the job well. I was mostly able to iron out small mistakes. Now that she was my substitute with responsibility, she also got a hefty raise.

A few months later, at an employee briefing, it was announced that some employees had stolen money from the office and various desks and that management had called in the police.

I now know from the stories of my colleagues that the police came into the shop and interviewed some of the employees. I was on vacation at the time of the briefing. During my vacation, I got a call from the police and they ordered me to the police station for questioning.

They asked me about certain days, what I had done on the days, in which offices I had been, and, and, and…

I had no idea what it was about, but I answered the questions as best I could. Then, the investigating officer told me that someone had seen me walking into an office on a specific day on which money had disappeared.

So, I was accused of robbing my colleagues.

It was very painful, and the feeling got worse when I got back to work. I found out that I was the only one questioned, and some interpreted it as guilt.

What I didn’t know was that a colleague never said that money was stolen from his desk, too; he only told the police.

And with [Colleague]’s help, the police put some banknotes in [Colleague]s desk that had been marked with chemicals. When those disappeared, [Colleague] immediately informed the police, and they quickly showed up at our office.

They carried out a color test on the fingers of every employee present at the time, including me; I even had to go first.

My fingers stayed clean. So did everyone else’s… until it was [New Hire]’s turn. She was fired the next day.

Several weeks later, I received a letter from the prosecutor’s office stating that the investigation against me had been annulled. There was also a telephone number for questions. I then called and asked for the name of the person who had framed me. Due to data protection reasons, I didn’t get an answer. I’m not 100% sure, but I think it was [New Hire].

[Colleague] got a huge box of chocolates from me.

How Is This Man Not In Jail?

, , , , , , | Right | May 17, 2022


I once managed a photo studio that required a signature anytime portraits were picked up, forcing the customer to acknowledge that they would not try to copy the photos elsewhere.

Pretty basic terms of service, yes? Except, it seems, not for this one guy.

I was already dreading seeing him again, as when he and his partner brought their new-born in for the shoot, I’d had to end the session early and kick him out of my studio after he repeatedly called his partner the worst kind of names because she couldn’t get their seven-day-old to smile on cue, I’d had enough! 

Anyway. He stopped by to pick up his portraits, and I paused the session I was in to hand them to him, rather than have him wait in the crowded area with lots of moms and kids, since I knew he was irrational.

Customer: “Why do I have to sign? I’m refusing!”

He says something something Secret Service FBI 9/11 something something gave him the right to copy his photos.

I did my best to defuse the situation, but he was having none of it, and that’s how I found myself pinned against my studio wall, his hands reaching for my throat, as he threatened to gut me like a deer, put me on the hood of his car, and drive me around town to show everyone what happens when you cross him.

My studio was in a retail store, and one of the clerks finally asks:

Clerk: “Do you think I should call the cops?”

And this is as I am gasping and telling people to call the police! 

Said police arrived. By that time, the retail store manager (not my manager) was there and had contacted my district manager.

Together, they informed me I wasn’t allowed to press charges, and that the disruption was probably my fault. The police begged me to press charges anyway, as this was the fourth time in the last couple of days they’d been called to remove this one customer from various places in town.

My DM stood firm, though, and reminded me that A) I’d get fired if I didn’t make folks sign to pick up photos and B) why did I confront someone over not signing?

So, gentle readers, I quit. A competitor was planning to open a studio, and I gleefully went over there for a bit more money and a lot more autonomy.

The next Christmas season, the same man once again came in for photos, sans partner.

When it came time to review his portrait order, he started to get belligerent with me again, and threatening.

This time, I looked him in the face and said:

Me: “I’m not scared of you. I’ve already called the police on you once and I’ll do it again. If you want portraits from me, you’re going to sit down, shut up, and only open your mouth to politely indicate which ones you’d like to buy. Do you understand me?”

And so he did… and yes, he acknowledged copyright when he picked up that set of photos, too.

Thankfully, I’m long out of retail – this happened twenty years ago – but I’ll never forget my worst customer ever.