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Good Customers, Bad Customers, It’s All Relative

, , , , , , | Related Right | June 2, 2022

I have a very friendly regular who comes in super early every morning. They always order the same thing, and we always have a little talk.

Regular: “I just took one of those DNA test thingies.”

Me: “Oh, wow! Me, too!”

Regular: “It’s really cool.”

Me: “Yeah, the ancestry mix is amazing. My family is from so many places.”

Regular: “Yeah, but the family tree function is the best part. I found cousins and relatives I didn’t even know I had.”

Me: “Really? That’s on there?”

Regular: “Yes! You have to opt in. Want me to show you?”

Me: “Yes, please!”

Since it’s so early and quiet, the regular takes my phone and activates the “Relatives” section of the ancestry app. Straightaway, it highlights some distant cousins.

Me: “That’s so cool!”

The regular’s phone dings with a notification.

Regular: “Oh, would you look at that? I’ve got new relative matches, too!”

We both look at our phones for a moment to take in the new information, and then we both realize something. We look up at each other, shocked but smiling.

Me: “Your great-grandma was Nanna Beth from Brooklyn?”

Regular: “Hello, cousin!”

She’s no longer “just” my favorite regular now!

Grad Students Using Coke To Solve Their Problems

, , , , , | Learning | May 28, 2022

In the mid-1990s, I worked in tech support in a campus computer lab for the English department of my university. A grad student came to me, nearly in tears. The floppy that contained their thesis was unreadable. Could I help?

After several attempts, it was obvious that the disk was beyond repair. Sorry.

They shifted to plan B. Could I use the scanner attached to my computer to scan in their thesis? I was on the clock, and it was a slow day. Why not? So, I proceeded to scan their thesis using ’90s-era OCR software on an ancient flatbed scanner. It took forever.

When I gave them their file — with a caveat that the text was sure to be full of errors — they gave me a Coke.

In hindsight, they got off really cheap. But we were both poor college students, so I was happy with the Coke.

An Un-Toxic Work Environment!

, , , , , , , , | Working | May 24, 2022

I work at an independent insurance agency. We are allowed to disconnect abusive calls, and the agents and owner will fire clients if the behavior is repeated. We are asked to give at least one warning before disconnecting; I give two.

We have recently hired a new customer service agent. She has many years of call center experience. She has been doing pretty well on the phone and has started taking calls solo. I follow up with her to make sure the files are noted properly after her calls. I’m reviewing some of her notes and notice she has in the notes that a client yelled and cursed at her.

I pull the call and listen to it. It’s vile. She kept trying to tell the client she was trying to help him, but he was yelling over her and cursing up a storm. He finally hung up on her.

I immediately notify the client’s agent and send him the call recording. I then ask the agent to come to my office.

Me: “Hey, I saw the notes from [Client]. Are you okay?”

Agent: “Yes, I’m okay. I’m sorry, I tried to calm him down and help him but…”

Me: “No, no, no, don’t apologize. You did nothing wrong. I know I mentioned it when you started doing solo calls, but I want to reiterate that you do not have to put up with that kind of behavior.”

Agent: “You were serious?”

Me: “Absolutely. I ask you to give them at least one warning; it’s up to you if you want to give more. If they continue to be abusive, tell them their agent will be in touch and hang up. Let the agent know and they will take care of the issue.”

Agent: “I can seriously hang up on people?”

Me: “Well, not for random reasons. But if they are inappropriate or abusive, absolutely!”

Agent: “That’s amazing. We weren’t allowed to hang up on anyone at the call center. No matter what.”

Me: “That’s one of the perks of having an awesome owner. We don’t tolerate abuse.”

I love my job and my boss. Even though it can get stressful, knowing the agents and boss have our backs makes a massive difference.

It’s Unusual To Find A Place With A “Usual”

, , , , , , | Right | May 24, 2022

From the time I was about ten until I was about nineteen, I’d walk to the chippy (fish and chip shop) every week and bring home dinner for my family of four. I was given a £20 note every time for the £14.20 order. Over the years, I’ve become a regular to the point that when I enter, they ask if I want my usual.

Today, my aunts are visiting and the oldest has come with me to choose what she wants.

Me: “You have to look at this list first because if you want any of those you need to order them now and not when we get to the front of the queue, but other than that, it’s like normal.”

Aunt: “Okay.”

She looks at the menu until we get to the front of the queue. I’m chatting a little with [Employee #2] who’s cooking as per usual.

Employee #1: “Usual?”

Me: “Yes, please, and also [what Younger Aunt wanted], please, and also… Aunty [Aunt], have you decided yet?”

Aunt: *Still looking at the menu* “Yeah… I’ll have… [item from order early menu].”

Employee #1: “That’s gonna be about a twelve-minute wait for [item]. Is that okay?”

Aunt: “Yeah, yeah, that’s fine.”

She stops getting the rest of the order ready, because it would have gone cold. I’m a little uneasy because the queue is longer than normal today so we’re already going to be late, but my aunt is an adult and I’m still just a teenager so I don’t say anything. After the wait, the food is ready.

Employee #1: “All right, that’s [lists everything], yeah?”

Me: “Uh-huh.”

Employee #1: “Okay, so that’ll be £22.40.”

I look at the £20 note I have taken out of my pocket and am about to give to the employee, which is very much less than £22.40. I’ve never had this situation before and have no clue what I’m supposed to do now. I completely freeze up for a few seconds.

Throughout the following conversation, I’m stuttering, my aunt doesn’t butt in, and [Employee #1] is giving [Employee #2] looks that I don’t know how to interpret.

Employee #2: “That twenty all you have, love?”

Me: “Sorry. I didn’t—”

Employee #2: “Hey, don’t worry about it. Just pay it next week.”

Me: “But I don’t have—”

Employee #2: “No need to panic, love. I’ll explain to you what we’re gonna do, ‘kay?”

Me: “Okay.”

Employee #2: “You’ll give us that twenty and we’ll give you this food, ‘kay?”

Me: “But—”

Employee #2: “Then, you’re gonna go on home and enjoy your dinner, yeah.”

Me: “Yeah…”

Employee #2: “Then, next week, you’ll come here, and you’ll pay that two-forty along with what you get, ‘kay?”

Me: “Okay…”

I come home to a lecture about how late we are and how I should have told my dad I’d need him to give me more money. I vaguely hear my aunt having a conversation with her sister about why she didn’t chip in.

Next week, I take £2.40 in coins along with the £20 note and hand them over first.

Employee #3: “What’s this?”

Me: “Um, they’re for last week.”

Employee #3: “Last week?”

Me: “It’s the two-forty, um, that I owe for last week.”

Employee #3: “I don’t…” *Turns to face the back* “[Employee #2]!”

[Employee #2] comes out of the mysterious room behind the counter.

Employee #2: “Yeah? Oh, hey, love. How you doing?”

He’s too far away for me to pass him the coins, so I very awkwardly wave with them.

Me: “I have the, um, the two-forty.”

Employee #2: “Yeah! I knew you were good for it.” *To the back* “I told you she was good for it!” *To me* “Usual?”

Me: “Please.”

It wasn’t until I discovered this site that I realised how rare this was.

Make The Customers Happy… But Not Like That

, , , , , , | Working | May 23, 2022

A customer of mine had furniture delivered and was telling me how much she loved it. She just mentioned in passing that, per Sod’s law, her cat had scratched a leatherette dining seat pad. She wasn’t asking for anything; it was just a normal conversation.

The next day, I checked, and we had a damaged set of those chairs out back, so I looked up the woman’s order. I offered her a replacement out of that pack.

She was thrilled — so thrilled she wrote to head office to praise me.

They then chewed me out as I technically shouldn’t have done that; it wasn’t a store or manufacturing fault. Go figure.