Unless You Have A Very Eager Owl?

, , | Right | December 5, 2020

I’m working at a call center for a car-sharing company. Customers pick up and return cars to certain reserved parking spots, which occasionally get taken by other cars. The ensuing phone conversation happens at least once a day.

Customer: “There’s someone in my parking spot!”

Me: “Okay. In that case, you’ll have to find a different spot to park the car; just let us know where it is so we can call the next customer and inform them.”

Customer: “How do I let you know?”

Me: “Call us back?”

How else, by carrier pigeon?

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The Hangover Hurts Less Than Dad’s Disappointment

, , , , , , | Friendly | December 1, 2020

One of the cardinal rules, when my siblings and I start to drive, is don’t drink and drive. Based on experience, this is later refined to: don’t get in a car with a drunk driver.

This happens on a school outing. We are studying catering and visit some venues. We are all of drinking age and some of us have our driving licenses, so we arrange transportation amongst ourselves resulting in five or six cars for the entire class.

At the end of the day, we go to a pub. Some classmates think it a funny joke to spike the designated drivers’ drinks, which becomes apparent when we want to go home. So, it is two or three o’clock in the morning, and we’re stranded in the middle of nowhere, discussing what to do.

For me, the solution is obvious; we went in search of a phone — cell phones aren’t that common yet — and call home. My classmates are in awe.

Classmate: “You’re calling your dad?! Won’t he be mad?”

Me: “No, my dad won’t like it. He will be grumpy as h***, but given the choice between me calling him in the middle of the night or the police telling him I was in a drunk driving accident, the answer is simple.”

He did turn up, and he was as grumpy as rhinoceros in a bad mood and barely spoke, but he did offer to drive the students in the same car as me home. The first to be dropped off was the driver. We accompanied him so we could vouch for him, assuring his father that he’d only ordered sodas. He sighed, helped his son inside, and asked where his car was. My dad ended up driving him back to the venue where it became clear that the other drivers were drunk, as well, and both dads made sure everyone got home safe.

The jokesters were suspended. They did not understand why because it was “just an innocent joke.”

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Good Golly Gossip!

, , , | Working | November 2, 2020

This happens a number of years ago when I am at the start of my career. One day, the head of accounts is escorted out by two managers. He looks defeated, head hanging down. Accountancy is at the far end of the office, so it is a walk of shame witnessed by the whole office. No explanation is given other than him being let go and not allowed on the premises anymore for whatever reason.

Tongues get wagging and it is said that he was caught with his hand in the till. Again, there’s no official statement concerning the reason for his dismissal.

When the receptionist has a day off, I am to take over. A few days later, I happen to answer the phone when the auditor from corporate calls.

Auditor: “Is [Receptionist] there?”

Me: “I’m sorry, she has a day off. Can I assist you?”

Auditor: “Is it true that [Head Of Accounts] was fired?”

Me: “That is correct, sir.”

Auditor: “Why?”

Me: “I’m sorry, sir, but no information was given.”

Auditor: “But there is gossip, surely.”

Me: “I’m sorry, sir. I can only repeat what I said before; no official statement was given about the reason why.”

I started to become uncomfortable. The auditor urged me some more, but the harder he pushed and the more irritated he got, the more reluctant I became to tell him. It was only later that I realised that the last audit had been done by another auditor, and with the sums involved according to the gossip, the regular auditor should have known about the fraud or he was incompetent. I left the company not long after this and I have no clue what happened to the auditor other than that the next audit, just before me leaving, was performed by the other auditor again.

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They’re Gradually Driving You Insane, Part 2

, , , | Right | October 26, 2020

We get a lot of calls from customers who have a light or other indication on their dashboard. Before sending someone out, we try to troubleshoot on the phone to see if it warrants towing the car. This customer, who sounds like she’s in her fifties at least, makes me wonder how she ever got her driver’s license.

Customer: “I have two green arrows on my dashboard. I don’t know what they mean, but I think they have something to do with my headlights.”

Me: “Two green arrows? Do you mean your hazard lights?”

Customer: “I don’t know what they are. They just started burning.”

Me: “And if you push the button for the hazard lights, do they go out?”

Customer: “What button?”

Me: “The red button with a triangle in the middle of your car’s dashboard.”

Customer: “Where?”

Cue me pushing the “mute” button on my phone and asking my colleagues if this is an April Fool’s joke in June.

Me: “In the middle of your dashboard, near your vents and your gear shift.”

Customer: “I don’t have a gear shift; it’s an automatic.”

Me: “Near your right hand, then. A button with a triangle on it, probably red.”

Customer: “What button?”

It took five whole minutes of me alternately explaining what the button looked like, in my most patient and polite voice, followed by pushing the mute button and swearing, until she pushed A button — she still didn’t know which one — and the green arrows went out. I believe the average road user IQ went down a few points that day.

They’re Gradually Driving You Insane

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Stuck On The First Letter

, , , | Right | September 27, 2020

My very first job after graduating is at an office within a courthouse where people can get their official documents pertaining to their lawsuit or verdict. Mostly, they need a version of the official verdict that they can take with them — the original always stays in the archives — e.g. a verdict wherein the judge says that their insurance does have to pay them, which they can then use to take steps to receive this payment.

One day, a little old lady shuffles into our office, and when I ask what I can help her with, she pushes forward an envelope and says, “Letter.” She has an obvious accent, but that’s nothing new, and usually, I can work around the fact that people might not speak Dutch very well.

But it soon becomes very clear she only knows this one word: “Letter.”

I can see the letter she’s given me is from an insurance company, but she is unable to answer any of my questions so I don’t know how I can help her. Even asking if I can read it doesn’t get me any other response than her pointing at the letter. So, I read it in the hopes that there are instructions in it and that they are asking for her to bring a certain document, which I can then provide.

But there’s no such thing; it’s about something completely unrelated.

I try suggesting she come back with a translator, but of course, she doesn’t seem to understand that, either. I decide to make her the most common document mostly used for insurance cases and she seems happy with it, so I think that’s that.

The next day. “Letter.”

Yup, there she is again, with that exact same letter. No translator, nothing. I try my best to show her examples and work around the language barrier, but she doesn’t get any of it. I decide to make another type of document, thinking maybe it was the wrong type.

The next day. “Letter.”

At this point, I’m lost. I get a second opinion from several coworkers — even though they work at totally different services and don’t know as much about our documents — just to see if they can understand. Nope. The only other thing I can do is just give her a copy — which has no “value” or use at all, short of reading what’s on it — and besides, she would have already gotten a copy by letter when the verdict came out, so I cannot imagine it’ll help. Again, she seems happy and leaves.

The next day… you get it.  “Letter.”

I try to say as clearly as I can that I have given her every document she could possibly get from us, and I can do nothing else. She does not move and just repeats, “Letter,” every once in a while.

My patience has finally worn out, so I just say, “There is nothing I can do with that letter. I have given you everything we can. I can no longer help you. Bye!” I even make a point to wave goodbye and just go sit at my computer and begin working on something else. 

She stands there for a minute, during which I pretend she isn’t there, until she finally shuffles away. 

At least I haven’t seen her since!

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