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Very Bad Reception, Part 23

, , , , , , | Working | January 6, 2022

I work as a security guard for a winery. The winery also owns the hotel across the street, which always seems strange because it’s a pure production winery, not a tourist winery. Regardless, during my shifts, I am the sole security guard for both the hotel and the winery, but my guard shack and 95% of my job happens at the winery. One Saturday during the off-season, when the winery is completely dead, I get this phone call from the hotel receptionist.

Me: “Hello, what can I do for you?”

Receptionist: “Hi, I wanted to call and report a suspicious car in our parking lot.”

Me: “Okay, please describe the car and why it’s suspicious.”

Receptionist: “The car looks like [description] and it’s suspicious because it’s been parked there for two days without moving.”

Me: “Oooookay, does it belong to a guest?”

Receptionist: “Actually, yes, I think I saw the people in room number [something] get out of it.”

Me: “All right, are those guests still there?”

Receptionist: “Yes, they are, but the car has been there for a really long time. Do you think I should call the police?”

Me: “I think that’s a bad idea, since it sounds like the guests just haven’t gone anywhere while you were there, but let me talk to my supervisor so I know what he wants to do about this situation.”

I hang up as she continues trying to explain why it is so weird that the car hasn’t moved.

Getting my boss’s opinion is really just an excuse to loop my boss in on the exchange I had just had in case the receptionist tries to do something crazy like call a tow truck and act as if I supported the decision. After calling her a moron, my boss asks me to call her back and get more information.

When I call, it’s clearly still the receptionist’s voice, but now with a bad Spanish accent. She gives a different name.

I’m very confused but I roll with it.

Me: “Hi, I just wanted to follow up with [Receptionist] and gather some more info about her concerns. Could you put her on the phone, please?”

Receptionist: “I’m sorry, she went to the kitchen area; she could be anywhere right now, I don’t think I could find her.”

This is not a giant hotel complex. The entire hotel has about ten guest rooms in a two-story building plus a manor house area with a kitchen, a bar, and a few miscellaneous rooms. The idea that anyone could disappear in this place is absurd.

I’m 95% sure that I’m actually just talking to the receptionist but not quite at the point of calling her out.

Me: “All right, well, could you give me [details] for my incident report?”

Receptionist: “Oh, yes.”

She gives the exact same details to the point that my 95% surety increases to 98%. I try to contain my laughter at the absurdity of the situation.

Me: “Okay, thank you.”

I have rarely heard a voice more filled with abject despair and exasperation with the absurdity of the world than my boss listening to the details of my second exchange. For my part, I spent the next thirty minutes bursting into random bouts of uncontrollable giggles as I struggled to force the inanity of it all into a professional format in my incident report.

Very Bad Reception, Part 22
Very Bad Reception, Part 21
Very Bad Reception, Part 20
Very Bad Reception, Part 19

What Is HAPPENING Over There?!

, , , , , , , , | Working | January 5, 2022

My spouse and I, after many years of saving up, bought ourselves our first house. The house has a fairly old refrigerator, and when we test the electrical draw, we find that it’s gotten inefficient, so we save up to buy a new one.

We first attempt to buy it online. It’s “Cyber Monday” (in November) and there’s a huge sale on refrigerators, so we’re able to order one for about a quarter of the original list price. Because the deal is so good, they say that they’re low on stock, and the earliest time they can get us the fridge is several months later, in March. We call the energy company to have our old fridge picked up for a $50 rebate.

In January, we get an email from the refrigerator company saying that they cannot fulfill our order and that they’re canceling it against us. We call the energy company and cancel the pickup of our old fridge. Then, we start looking for a good deal on a fridge from a brick-and-mortar company.

Somehow the cancellation didn’t stick, and the energy company shows up to take our fridge in March as previously agreed. We talk to the fridge recovery people, and they look at our client notes and agree that it says in the notes that it should be canceled. Because of those call notes, we’re able to talk our way out of a cancellation fee.

In May, flush with our tax refund, we finally find a fridge we like, and it’s at about half of the original list price. We buy it and schedule to have our fridge picked up by the energy company.

The energy company initially refuses to do it because they think they’ve already picked up our fridge. Then, they cancel pickup because someone read the notes from the old pickup. Then, they come, but they somehow get the address wrong; they end up on the West version of our street rather than the East.

Finally, in June, they get the old fridge and take it. The $50 rebate is applied correctly to our energy bill for that month.

Fast-forward a year and a bit: on July 17th, a group of refrigerator delivery people shows up. This is almost but not quite two years after we placed the original order online.

We explain that we already have a refrigerator and they take it back. They promise that we’ll be refunded within three or four days. Refunded?! We check and, sure enough, money was taken from our bank account to pay for the refrigerator in late April and we hadn’t noticed.

Three or four days pass. No refund happens. We call the online retailer. Customer service is very understanding; they tell us they’ve fixed it, and if we give them three or four days, we’ll have the money.

Three or four days pass. No refund happens. We call the online retailer. Customer service says that there’s an error with the supplier. They forward our call to the supplier. The supplier makes some sort of changes in the computer system. They say it’s good, and we should give them three or four days and we’ll have the money.

Three or four days pass. No refund happens. We call the online retailer. Customer service says that there’s an issue with the supplier. They forward the call to the supplier. The supplier says that there’s an issue with the delivery people. They forward the call to the delivery people. The delivery people make some sort of changes in the computer system. They say it’s good, and we should give them three or four days and we’ll have the money.

Three or four days pass. It is now August. No refund has happened yet. We call the online retailer. Customer service says there’s an issue with the supplier.

Before they can forward it, I ask:

Me: “I’ve done this before. Can you please transfer me to a supervisor who can just give me my money back, and you guys can deal with whatever labyrinthine bureaucracy you’ve got to deal with on your own time?”

They transfer me to the supervisor.

Supervisor: “Yeah, I can fix it. This is going to be easy.”

This is followed by some frantic typing.

Supervisor: “Um… I think I can fix it, but something weird is happening.”

There’s more frantic typing.

I’m a bit unnerved by this response.

Me: “Something weird?” 

Supervisor: “Yeah, the number keeps changing on me… It shouldn’t.”

Further frantic typing follows. Then, she speaks once more.

Supervisor: “Okay. Well, at least I’m not going to be making this any worse.”

My eloquent and confused response is:

Me: “Uh… what?” 

Supervisor: “You’re going to get a lot of weird emails. Please just disregard them.”

It’s meant to be reassuring, but her tone is tense and afraid.

I stay quiet through more typing and arcane interjections.

Supervisor: “What if I credit it to the account directly?” “No, please don’t revert. Please don’t revert.” “What? Why?! That can’t be right.” “No, no, no! I have to start over again?!” “Okay, easy does it. Easy does it… Please take it… No!” “Why does it think that the ice maker hose was delivered with a different company?” “It’s the ice maker hose!” “It’s not the ice maker hose.” “Maybe it’s the ice maker hose?” “Okay, I can refund the fridge, but not the ice maker hose, but if I try to refund the fridge without the ice maker hose, it cancels out and I lose my work.” “Are you still on the line?”

Me: “Yeah. I’m still on the line. How’s it going?”

Supervisor: “Well, the problem is the ice maker hose, but I don’t seem to be able to resolve this within the system. I’m going to work around the system; I’m going to put in a fake order, apply the payment from the first order to it, and automatically refund it, okay?”

Me: “Uh… okay.”

Supervisor: “Okay. Good. Here goes.” *More typing* “And that was $918.17?”

I check my invoice.

Me: “Yeah. That’s correct.”

Supervisor: “Good.”

She’s literally panting on her end.

Supervisor: “I can see why. I can see why you weren’t getting your refund.”

She gives a slightly unhinged-sounding laugh.

Supervisor: “Uh… So, you should be seeing a credit to your account within twenty-four hours.”

Me: “Thanks. I appreciate the effort.”

Supervisor: “Thank you for your patience. Really.”

She says this with such heartfelt earnestness that I feel awkward and uncertain about how to respond.

Me: “Um… You’re welcome?”

Supervisor: “Is there anything else I can help you with?”

She asks this sounding like she’s just lost a boxing match with a kangaroo.

Me: “No. I’m good. Thank you very much.”

All in all, the supervisor portion of this phone call took about forty-five minutes.

Exactly twenty-four hours later, sure enough, the credit showed up on our account. My spouse and I also double-checked to make sure they didn’t accidentally take more money from us, and they have not yet.

I want to thank that call center supervisor, who apparently wrestled some sort of arcane crocodiles to make sure I got my money back. Thank you. I hope that you have easier cases going forward.

Should Take A Livestock-Take Of His Surroundings

, , , , , , | Right | January 5, 2022

I am driving a truck full of livestock and I need fuel, so I pull up to the pump and pop in a credit card, shove the nozzle in my tank, and set it on “auto.” I start getting trash out of the truck, checking on the livestock in the trailer, and cleaning the windshield. I notice, barely, another vehicle pulling up to the other side of the pump.

I’m driving a full cattle trailer heading back to my farm. I’m wearing a well-worn duster, hat, and boots, and I don’t actually smell that great, as I’ve been around various farm animals since 4:00 am and it’s the afternoon.

As I’m cleaning my windshield, there is a “clearing of the throat” behind me. I ignore, as one does. Then another. I also ignore. Then there’s a “tap” on my back.

Customer: “When you’re done with that truck, I need Premium and a full tank.”

I’m really confused. This is a small mom-and-pop gas station, and it’s “pay at the pump” as, well… credit card readers and everything!

Me: “Feel free to fill up. If you don’t have a credit card, you can go inside and give them cash and they will turn on the pump.”

He gets a look on his face that makes me wonder if I insulted his mother in another language. Only THEN do I notice that his car is sporting New Jersey plates; you aren’t allowed to pump your own fuel in New Jersey. He’s likely just confused or uneducated about the workings of a self-service fuelling station.

Customer: *Demanding* “Take this cash and fill up and service my vehicle!”

Me: “I don’t work here; this was a self-serve station. There is no one to pump for you.”

Customer: “You’re a liar. You just don’t want to do your job because I have a Mercedes! If you don’t service my car, you’ll be sorry.”

His wife and kid are sadly watching. I’m tired, I smell bad, I have three more hours to drive, and I want a shower and a beer. I’m in my late fifties and too tired for nonsense, and my new livestock are stressed.

Me: “You either have to pop a card in the reader or pay the person inside in cash, and they will turn on the pump.”

He screams — not yells, not raises his voice, but screams. He pulls out a cell phone, hits three digits and “send” (I’m thinking 911), and turns around so his back is toward me. I can’t hear what he was saying.

I am still filling up — the truck has twin tanks: one in the truck and one in the bed that is used for the truck or whatever diesel tractor or whatever I’m running — so I have time.

Three — THREE! — police cars pull up. Idiot-boy still has not pumped the first ounce of fuel nor paid for any… but he is yelling that I have threatened him, called him names, and disparaged (that’s the word he used) his entire family, and he wants me arrested!

They ask me what happened, and I give my account. Idiot-boy is still being… well… an idiot. His wife and kid disappear into the gas station while dear old pops is being a pain.

He is almost — and would have been — arrested had I pressed charges for him touching me, but the police accept my account of what transpired.

This customer isn’t happy.

Me: “The gas station likely has video/audio recordings. Oh, and my truck has front/rear cameras, with full audio also. I’d be happy to give you the memory card for your investigation.”

In the end, the customer was left looking confused at the pumps, and I drove off. My wife had a very cold beer waiting for me once I got home.

Wait, Who’s Having The Cops Called On Them?

, , , | Right | CREDIT: sunny543 | January 4, 2022

I work at a large craft store and it was almost closing time. I was at a register waiting for stragglers to check out, and I had my back toward the exit, which is right behind the registers. There was nobody coming up, so I was looking around, and I noticed a woman walking quickly behind me toward the exit.

By the time I saw her, she was already turning toward the doors and walking into the foyer which leads to the outside entrance, and I only saw her back and a little of her side, enough that I noticed her arms were crossed over her chest like she was holding something against it. I didn’t think much of it and just yelled, “Have a good night!”

I guess she was so focused on getting out of the store that she didn’t notice me standing there, so when I spoke to her, she startled really badly and dropped what she was holding. It was a little vase that cost like ten dollars. So, immediately, I walked toward her out into the foyer. I don’t know why she stayed there; she could have just booked it and I wouldn’t have followed her.

Me: “Are you planning to pay for that vase?”

I said it kind of in a snarky way, but it was late, and I was too tired for this bull.

Woman: *Huffy* “Yes.”

I picked up the vase to bring it to my register and check her out.

I don’t know if that set her off or what, but she suddenly got PISSED and snatched the vase away from me.

Woman: “I paid for this! Stop putting your dirty paws being all over my property!”

I already knew what this was going turn into, so I went to the registers, picked up a phone, and paged for my manager. A couple of my coworkers came up to the registers.

Woman: “She tried to steal my property, she accused me of shoplifting, and she yelled at me!”

They all knew she was lying already because I’m a very quiet, shy person, and I’ve never raised my voice, let alone yelled at someone at work.

Woman: “Call the cops! She physically cornered me and I was afraid for my life!”

Now, this woman was five or six inches taller than me and bigger in general. There’s no way I could have intimidated her that much.

My coworkers and I just let her carry on until my manager got there, and it turned out that he had been suspicious of her earlier and had been checking the cameras. She tried to start her bullcrap on him about having me arrested and stuff.

Manager: “I already know you haven’t paid for anything. You need to leave and stop harassing my employees.”

Woman: “I’ll be calling corporate!”

Manager: “Go ahead.”

She stormed out after that.

The kicker of this whole thing was that she was wearing what seemed like expensive clothes and nice jewelry, and when we watched her leave, it was in a car that looked pretty new/expensive. And she was trying to steal and make a big fuss over a little ten-dollar vase?

What Are You, Twelve?, Part Two

, , , , , | Right | January 4, 2022

I am shopping for groceries in a large, chain supermarket. As I am picking through the broccoli, a middle-aged man walks in, stands just next to me, holds his finger in the air dramatically, and releases a thunderous fart before turning smartly and walking away.

A few minutes later, as I have moved on to the dairy, I see him sidling up to me again.

Me: “Seriously, mate, again?”

Customer: “Oh! I’ve done you already!”

Then, he moved smartly away. Shortly afterward, I saw him being politely asked to leave by staff. Apparently, he does this regularly and it seems to amuse him.

What Are You, Twelve?