A Demented Way Of Doing It

| West Yorkshire, England, UK | Working | July 4, 2017

(My mother applies for power of attorney over my grandmother’s finances because she is senile. This is so she can sort out all of my grandmother’s bills, shopping, etc. while she is still in her own home. My mother rings various places, asking them to contact her about this stuff, since it’s causing problems with them only contacting my nan. All are fine with it, except for the bank.)

Mother: *ringing the bank* “Hi, I just wanted to call about this letter you’ve sent my mother.”

Agent: “I’m sorry, we can only speak with the account holder.”

Mother: “I’ve got power of attorney, so I’m acting on her behalf.”

Agent: “We can only speak to the account holder. Is she there? Can you put her on the line?”

Mother: “She is here, but she can’t talk to you. She has severe dementia, so she’s not really aware of her surroundings and can’t communicate.”

Agent: “I can only speak to the account holder. Please put her on if she needs to make a request.”

Mother: “But I have power of attorney! I’ve notified the bank about this before. Is there some kind of evidence I need to provide you with now to sort this over the phone?”

Agent: “Please put the account holder on the line to deal with the request.”

Mother: *frustrated* “All right, then. One moment.” *takes the phone over to my nan, who is playing with some stuffed toys. She puts the phone between them so they can both hear*

Agent: “Hello? Hello, is that Mrs. [Grandmother]?”

Nan: “…” *still playing with toys*

Agent: “Hello? Your daughter said you would like to speak with us about changing your contact address over to her? Would you like to do that, Mrs. [Grandmother]?”

Nan: *incoherent mumbling* The… one is… gone… few…”

Agent: “I’m sorry, I couldn’t hear that. Would you like us to change your contact details today, Mrs. [Grandmother]? Also, would you be able to talk to us today about your [savings account]?”

Nan: “…” *oblivious, playing with toys*

(This went on for some time, until the agent finally asked if there was “anything else I can help you with today” and the call was ended. Despite contacting them many times, it never did get sorted. They were still contacting my nan when she was in the dementia unit of a nursing home, cared for by a team of nurses and mostly comatose from the dementia.)

ATMs Are Not Always Working

, , , , , , | Working | July 1, 2017

(There are only a few businesses open 24 hours in Japan, but there is one thing that really surprised me my first year there and still boggles my mind. It came up in my second year when I and some other teachers were answering some questions to some of the local residents in our area.)

Question: “What surprised you most when you came to Japan?”

Me: “Oh, that’s easy: ATMs close.”

(I proceeded to explain that ATMs in the States operate 24 hours a day, which they found strange. When I first got here, most ATMs closed at six pm; three pm on Sundays. Now they mostly stay open to nine pm except at the post office where they close at seven pm or so. On New Year’s the ATMs and banks are closed for about three days so you have be ready for it. Still confuses me as to why.)

Hard To Understand A Soft Problem

, , , | Right | June 19, 2017

(The intersection where our branch is located is under construction. The sidewalks are dug up and there is some utility work going on. We’re a small town branch, and the company headquarters is in another state.)

Customer: “Yes, I’m having trouble with my online banking account.”

Me: “Are you having trouble logging in this morning?”

Customer: “Yes, it says I’m locked out!”

Me: “I see. We’ve just received notice that the system went down this morning. They’re working on it now, but it’s still not operational at the moment.”

Customer: “So it’s not me?”

Me: “No, it appears to be a system-wide problem.”

Customer: *turns and points out the window at the construction* “Do you think it’s because of the construction?”

Me: “No, it’s a software problem.”

Customer: “Are you sure they didn’t cut the lines?”

Me: *sighs*

Not Quite Married To The Idea

, , | Romantic | June 17, 2017

(I’m in my mid-20s, female, and single. This is very odd in our small town, as most girls marry fairly young. Occasionally, customers comment on it. I don’t mind too much, as I’ve been burned in past relationships, so I know I’m a little picky when it comes to guys. Then there’s this regular customer…)

Me: “Hi, [Customer]! How are you?”

Customer: “Well, I’m just fine, young lady. How are you? How’s the wedding planning going?”

Me: “Oh, I’m not getting married. You must have me mistaken with someone else!”

Customer: “But why aren’t you?”

Me: “Well, I just haven’t found the right guy yet.”

Customer: “You SHOULD get married! It’s a disgrace, the way you young girls hold out nowadays. Don’t you WANT to get a man?”

Me: “Well, sure, once I find the right one—”

Customer: “You and [Coworker #1] over there. She was engaged last year, and now she’s not. How are you two are as old as you are and aren’t married?”

(The coworker in question is in her early 20s.)

Me: “Um… I really don’t think I should comment on her personal life.”

Customer: “FIND A MAN!”

Me: “I’ll do my best.”

(Customer exits. The coworker in question walks over to me.)

Coworker: *sarcastically* “Right. Because being married to an a** is way better than being single! This town, I swear…”

The Only Option Left Is To Complain

, , , , | Right | May 31, 2017

(I am a bank teller in 2001. It’s important to note that this is a small grocery store branch so in that setting your coworkers are literally standing right next to you most of the time. A man approaches my window.)

Me: “Hi, welcome to [Bank]. How can I help you today?”

Customer: “I lost my debit card and had to cancel it. What can I do to get a new one?”

Me: “That’s no problem. I can print out a form for us to fill out here and send it in for you. It can take up to 7-10 business days to process and it will be mailed to your address.”

Customer: “What?! That’s too long. I don’t want to do that.”

Me: “Okay. Another option is here in the branch we can make you an ‘instant’ ATM card today but unfortunately they only work at ATMs. You would not be able to use it to make purchases but you can still get one of those in the meantime while you wait for the new debit card.”

Customer: “No, I don’t want to do that.”

Me: “Okay. Another option is you can cash a check here with us to get money. I can even print a counter check for you if you don’t have any checks.”

Customer: “No, I don’t want to do that.”

Me: “Okay. Another option is if you have a credit card you can make your daily purchases with that and then pay the balance daily to avoid any interest.”

Customer: “No, I don’t want to do that.”

Me: *dumbfounded and out of ideas; those really are all the options* “Okay… well… I’m… sorry?”

Customer: *says nothing, walks off*

(I found out later that he had come back and complained about my “attitude” to my branch manager who was not there at the time. My coworker, who was standing right next to me during the entire exchange, backed me up. She said I was nothing but polite and helpful and the man simply wasn’t interested in working with us to get his problem resolved. She saved me from possibly getting written up.)

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