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You Have To Stand Apart(ment) Somehow

, , , , , | Legal | November 21, 2021

I found a well-paying job as a software engineer in Berlin and naively believed that I wouldn’t have any trouble finding an apartment in the largest city in Germany.

As it turns out, the competition for vacant apartments was FIERCELY competitive and applying was akin to buying raffle tickets. Each apartment showing would have approximately twenty to thirty people piling their applications onto a tower of other applications, only ONE lucky applicant receiving the apartment. And as I would leave, I would pass by another crowd of thirty-plus people appearing for the next appointment showing. To gauge the level of competition I was up against, I posted a fictitious advertisement for an apartment — no photos, crappy part of town, more expensive than usual. Twenty-four hours later, there were 315 messages in the site inbox!

I found myself living in hostels, and out of desperation, I decided to try something innovative. I posted an advertisement offering a €2,000 reward to anyone who was either moving and willing to give up their apartment to me or otherwise knew someone else with a vacant apartment they were willing to give me.

As I should have guessed, this attracted a number of aspiring con artists. I say “aspiring” because either I have the word MORON stamped on the back of my head or they’re accustomed to swindling third-graders.

Message #1: “Send the reward money in cash to [post office box] and I’ll help you out!”

Message #2: “I own an apartment in [Area]. Meet me at [Restaurant], bring the €2,000 in cash with you, and we can discuss the terms of the lease.”

Message #3: “I have an apartment I’m ready to move out of. Send the reward money to [bank account number] and I’ll give my landlord a three-month notice, and it’s all yours!”

Message #4: “My mom owns an apartment. Give me the €2,000 and I’ll have her hold it for you!”

I ended up amending the advertisement to say that the reward would be paid AFTER the keys and signed lease were in my hands and I was physically in said apartment. This drastically whittled the responses down to people who actually did have an apartment they were planning to vacate.

Fortunately, I ended up finding an apartment, and ironically, the girl who gave it to me insisted I keep the €2,000.

Flattery Will Get You (Almost) Nowhere

, , , , , | Working | November 19, 2021

Outside of my former workplace is a strip of stores and restaurants that I would go to on my break to get a bite to eat. For some odd reason, there would always be girls there collecting signatures to promote some kind of environmental or political cause or trying promote a charity organization. Each one of them was very passionate about what they were representing, and if you weren’t careful, they would happily talk your ear off while showing you various pictures and information slides. Even if you weren’t up for signing up to donate monthly, they still felt it was their duty to make you aware of their causes.

This got to be a serious problem when I was on my freaking lunch hour!

Regretfully, I’m one of those people who are afraid to offend others or say no, so more than once I spent a good portion of my lunch hour listening to some girl babbling about an air pollution issue.

I soon discovered a remedy for this. When approached by one of them, I would continue walking while loudly saying, “My God, you are absolutely beautiful! You need to make a portfolio; there are plenty of modeling agencies looking for people like you!” It would catch the girl completely off guard and stun her into an awkward silent spell — sometimes with a stuttered, “Thank you!” — allowing me time to escape.

Fast forward to the health crisis. Unfortunately, I lost my job. I managed to score a job interview coincidentally in a building near the same strip of businesses. As I hurried into the lobby, a lady approached me with a notepad and what appeared to be a stack of pamphlets. Uh-uh, no time for this! 

Lady: “Excuse me—”

Me: “Lady, you are absolutely gorgeous. You should be modeling for Vogue magazine! How’d you get your hair so perfect?”

I rushed into an elevator as it closed. I went up to the floor of the office and let the receptionist know I was there for my interview.

Receptionist: “She’s actually waiting for you in the lobby. A water pipe burst in her office so she has to interview you there.”


Yeah, it was her, all right. I noted that she maintained a bright smile throughout the interview, and at the end, she remarked that she didn’t feel I qualified for the particular job I was applying for, but she DEFINITELY would call me should a more fitting position become available.

The Complaint Is The Critical Concern!

, , , , , | Right | November 16, 2021

Caller: “The operating system in my car is giving me [error code].”

Me: “Okay, that error code means there is a critical issue with your security system, so what I’m going to do is open a ticket for you and forward your complaint—”

Customer: *Irritated* “Complaint?”

Me: “Yes? Your complaint. I’ll need to contact—”

Customer: “It’s nice to see you think this is a petty issue.”

Me: “If you would let me finish, I said I will open a ticket for you and forward your complaint—”

Customer:Why are you calling it a complaint? It’s not a coffee machine, you idiot! This is a $40,000 vehicle!”

I just got done arguing with a customer for over a half an hour because he insisted that I give him the CEO’s contact information so that he could get his security service he hadn’t been paying for turned back on. I have a splitting headache, I have been called in on my day off, and I am not in the mood anymore.

Me: “Sir, do you need our assistance or not?”

Customer: “I’m just asking you to quit acting like this is a T-shirt replacement and show some respect!”

Me: *Squeezing my eyes shut* “Okay. I will forward your critical concern to our tech department—”

Customer: “Now you’re being a smarta**!”

Enough is enough.

Me: “Sir, please bring your vehicle to your nearest [Brand] dealer for further assistance. Have a nice day.” *Click*

I was almost certain I was going to be written up for that one, but oddly enough, no one ever said anything.

Customers Are Experts At Time Dilation

, , , , , | Right | November 16, 2021

Me: “Thank you for calling [Company]. How can I help you today?”

The caller describes a problem that three particular coworkers are trained to handle. They don’t get in until noon, and we have been asked to simply take a message and offer a callback, as we are not permitted to discuss employee schedule information with customers. I offer the lady a callback and she leaves her number.

Twenty minutes later, the same customer calls in describing the same issue.

Me: “Madam, I have your number. Our agent will call you back as soon as they are available; we won’t brush this off.”

Caller: *Yelling* “You told me that three hours ago and I’ve called at least six or seven times, and you idiots just either put me on hold, transfer me to someone else, hang up on me, or tell me someone will call me back! This is poor customer service! I want the manager! Now!”

I’m the only agent on the floor for the first two hours due to the low call volume in the early mornings.

Me: “Madam? We only opened forty-five minutes ago.”

Caller: “Bulls***! You open at six in the morning!”

Me: “Not since two weeks ago when our hours changed. Our automated greeting states that, but in case you missed it by pushing a button for our department, opening hours are now 9:00 am until 10:00 pm, so I don’t know who it was that you were calling six or seven times and getting transferred around or put on hold or hung up on by since 6:00 am, but it wasn’t [Company]. No one was even here.”

Caller: *Click*

Not today, lady. Not today!

Yeah… Your Car Is Being Repo’d

, , , , , , | Right | November 2, 2021

I work in a call center for a travel and touring agency.

Customer: “I booked an excursion and cancelled within the deadline! Why don’t I have my money back?!”

Me: *Checking the booking* “Sir, you cancelled this booking about twenty minutes ago. Refunds take up to seventy-two hours to be processed and credited back to your account.”


Me: “I’m sorry, sir, but there isn’t anything I can do at this end other than tell you that we have confirmed your cancellation and will be refunding you within the next seventy-two hours.”

Customer: “Why does it take so long? Just give me my money back!”

Me: “Funds leaving the business need to be verified and accounted for by management and the accounting department so as to minimize fraudulent activity and so that the finances are balanced correctly—”

Customer: “I don’t care about that! Look, my bank is about to come to repo my car any minute if I don’t come up with that money today!

Me: “I’m sorry to hear that, but I can’t do anything—”

Customer: “No! Stop what you are doing, put me on hold, go to the managers and the accounting department, and tell them to stop what they are doing and process my refund! Move it!

Me: *Stifling laughter* “Sir, that’s not how that works.”

Customer: “Transfer me to your manager!”

Me: “I’m not going to waste his time having him tell you the exact same thing I’ve just told you now.”

Customer: “Do you not understand this is a high-priority case?!

Me: “Sir? For the past hour, I have been tied up making calls back and forth with one of our tour operators and a bus line vendor because one of our customers left a purse containing her child’s heart medication, insulin, and allergy pen shots on one of the buses. We are trying to track down which bus it was on and get it back to her before something terrible happens. That is a high priority. Your €300 refund is not a high priority; it’s an inconvenience.”

Customer: “…” *Click”