Some People Just Don’t Want To Be Helped

, , , , | Working | June 15, 2021

I work for a company that supplies service desk services to the national offices of a huge international pharmaceutical. Our job is basically to take the incoming calls from the client’s office employees, solve them at the first level and, if not possible, route the issue to the second level — local IT teams, since our service desk team is remote.

The day is going calmly. Suspiciously calmly. I am already three hours in and have had zero calls.

Me: “Service desk, [My Name]; how can I help you?”

User: “This is absurd. I’ve been trying to talk to you guys for the last two hours and the line’s always busy!”

The fact that theirs is my first call of the day proves this statement is a lie.

User: “I can’t receive emails; my [email software] isn’t working. Fix it!”

Me: “Sure. I just need your user ID first, please.”

User: “I can’t believe it. Every time you guys ask for my ID! Don’t you remember me?”

The fact that we receive calls from the whole country makes it clear that we don’t remember each and every voice.

User: “I’m [User]; my username is [user ID].”

Me: “Okay, [User], just give me a minute to check some things. Do you have network access?”

User: “I have no idea. I can’t receive emails; that’s all I know.”

Me: “You got an error message on [email software]?”

User: “What? No! Where did you get that from? [Coworker] told me on [messenger] that she sent me something that I need to see!”

Okay, that means they still have network.

Me: “Understood. Just give me a moment. I’ll connect to your computer to check what could be going on.”

User: “Do it fast.”

I remote into their computer, and it’s a huge mess, as usual. Dozens of spreadsheets are open at the same time, the browser is open with several tabs and, apparently, one of them is playing music. Basically, their computer is overworked. Among the other windows, I find the email software window… frozen.

Me: “I see. Your computer seems to be overworked, and [email software] froze. All we need to do is close the program and reopen it.”

User: “I already tried that, moron.”

I’m surprised that I’m being insulted during a recorded call.

Me: “Oh. Okay, in this case, we need to reboot the computer.”

User: “Not happening.”

Me: “I’m sorry?”

User: “You won’t reboot my computer. I need to work; it’ll take my time and I’m busy.”

Me: “You… need your email working, correct?”

User: “Yes.”

Me: “Have you tried using the webmail service?”

User: “That thing’s stupid. All my contacts are on [email software].”

Me: “If the program won’t close and the computer can’t be rebooted, I can’t solve the issue.”

User: “Such incompetence. Get me your supervisor!”

Our service desk team has no “supervisor” in the sense of someone who can overrule something to get things done. The best we can do is escalate the issue to Level 2.

Me: “You want me to send the issue to the Level 2 team so they can send someone to your desk?”

User: “You thought of that by yourself or someone helped you to reach that conclusion?Yes! I want someone here! Now!

My eardrums still hurt just by remembering them shouting in my earpiece. I write a ticket to the Level 2 team with notes of their behavior. In the description, I write, “[User]’s [email software] froze and won’t close. [User] won’t allow a reboot. [User] agitated.”

Me: “Done, [User]. There’s a ticket for you on Level 2’s queue. They’ll get to you as soon as possible.”

User: “They have five minutes.”

Me: “I’m sorry?”

User: “No, you’re not. I want someone here in the next five minutes, or else I’ll go straight to your boss.”

Joke’s on them; my boss isn’t even part of their company.

Me: “I can’t give you an estimate of when someone will be by your desk, as I don’t have access to the Level 2’s queue. They could be with you in minutes or hours, depending on what they have going on.”

User: “You’ve been warned. Five minutes.” *Click*

The following day, I get a message from a friend on Level 2.

Level 2: “Hey, [My Name]! Why didn’t you solve the issue with [User] yesterday?”

Me: “They demanded someone locally.”

Level 2: “I got to their computer and rebooted it. But they kept saying that they didn’t have time to waste waiting for us and that they could’ve rebooted the computer themselves, and they even asked why [Client] keeps us on their tab if we’re this useless.”

Me: “They… what?”

Level 2: “I s*** you not! They’re insane!”

Me: “You added this conversation on the ticket log, right?”

Level 2: “Of course. I’ve covered my a**. You covered yours?”

Me: “The system records all calls we receive. I hope this one gets randomly picked for revision.”

Level 2: “You don’t know the worst part. After I finished rebooting, they logged in and opened the browser first, going to YouTube, checking personal emails, even a finance blog, before even trying to open [email software].”

To my surprise, I got an email later with an evaluation of my service… from that user! It was an automated email, yes, but it was about the user’s call; it had their ticket number and their user ID, and in a field reserved for observations, they laid on me, saying I was rude and called them names and even said they should jump off a bridge! I brought it to my supervisor’s attention since he was the one responsible for our company’s contact with [Client]. He took the issue directly to human resources, and I found out that [User], prior to my hiring, had similar issues with other people on the service desk.

The last I heard about [User], they’d been demoted to someone’s assistant and put back into interpersonal training.

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A Little Class In Class Will Pay Off Later On

, , , , , , | Working | April 28, 2021

High school was a difficult time for me. I was the “smart kid”: straight-A student, top of my class, the one everybody wanted for group projects. And I was the one everybody forgot was there when recess came. I wasn’t quite bullied, but I was ignored A LOT.

To make things worse, I was diagnosed with a tricky disability in my senior year and was extremely ill, in and out of hospitals all through that year. My grades naturally slipped a bit, and at that point, the few people who talked to me regularly dropped me like a hot potato. Obviously, now that I was only a B student and couldn’t do the whole group project on my own, I was no longer necessary. By the middle of the year, only the “weirdos” from two classes below me even acknowledged I existed. (Great guys. We’re still friends!)

Fast forward several years. My disability is well under control and my career is taking off. I am to be the project manager on a big project in a prestigious engineering firm and I’m involved in hiring more people to the team. We call in a guy whose resume looks promising, and this exchange happens as soon as he is introduced to the interviewing panel.

Candidate: “[My Name]?! Wow, it’s been so long I didn’t recognize you! How’s it going?”

Me: “I’m sorry, do we know each other?”

Candidate: “What, you don’t remember me? I’m [Candidate]! We went to high school together.”

I figure maybe he is someone from another class aiming for a leg up, but I still have no clue who he is.

Me: “Ah, well. That was almost ten years ago and was a difficult time. I’m afraid I don’t remember you. But anyway, your resume…”

Candidate: “Oh, come on! You have to remember me! [Candidate]? We were in the same class all the way through! I think you even had a crush on me!”

Me: “I beg your pardon?”

Candidate: “Yeah, you totally had a crush on me! You were always up for helping me with homework, and you were game to include me on group projects and then do my share. Pretty sure you did everyone’s share! Ha, no point risking your grade being lower, right? You were a weird little girl!”

I remember him now. I did have a crush on him for a while and “helped” him a lot with schoolwork (meaning I did it for him). It’s bad enough to bring that up in an interview, but… 

Me: “Ah, yes. [Candidate]. I remember you now. You were the one who started yelling out that the [ableist slur] was coming when my disability first started. And stepping back in corridors or crossing the street when I walked by. And telling people they should stay away from the [other ableist slur] or they’d become losers like me, too.”

Candidate: “Er… I… Well, I was young, and…”

Me: “Thank you for reminding me of all this. Turns out it saves us some time.”

Candidate: “But… my interview?”

My Boss: “I think we can all agree that we’re done here.”

He seemed sincerely shocked that he didn’t get the job!


This story is part of our Best Of April 2021 roundup!

Read the next Best Of April 2021 roundup story!

Read the Best Of April 2021 roundup!

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The Sweetest Thief

, , , , | Working | March 6, 2021

Before the health crisis enforced working from home, my team had a tin of candy set out. We took turns restocking it weekly and it worked well since we had an area just for ourselves. Then, the candy started disappearing after hours, at incredible rates.

We honestly didn’t really mind because we always got too much candy and there was typically a lot left at the end of the week. But we also knew it was likely a project manager who had a massive sweet tooth and tended to stay late, and we thought it was rude to just take without a heads-up when he could easily afford his own.

So, we wrote, “God is watching you,” on the tin the next time we restocked. We expected that the guy would come to us and say something about liking candy and being put on the restocking rotation, but it turns out that we both overestimated and underestimated the guy’s honesty.

The candy continued disappearing at the same rate, but every Monday, a $20 note would appear below the tin. Our regular candy budget was about $10, so this was way too much. But since we never officially found out who our candy-thief-turned-candy-supplier was, we couldn’t exactly give it back. We started getting a fancy cake once a month with the leftover money.

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Great Expectations

, , , , | Working | December 8, 2020

This happened to my wife in her first job. She was sixteen at the time.

In this clothes store, all kinds of people came because they had a large collection and lots of stuff to complement the clothes. Also, all ages and sizes could buy stuff here.

One slow day, my wife is on the floor with a colleague. Two customers come in: one very pregnant woman, looking hot and miserable, and a regular customer that often spends a lot of money there.

In the store, everybody works on commission, so the employees are always happy to see this customer, and she often asks specifically for my wife to help her.

My wife’s colleague jumps and runs to be sure to be able to help the regular customer and my wife gets stuck with the mother-to-be.

Not a nice move by the colleague, but what can you do? Well, this.

My wife approaches the pregnant woman.

Wife: “Would you like to take a seat and have a glass of water?”

She is very happy to accept and visibly relieved to get off her feet. Then, my wife asks about the pregnancy, expected delivery, sex of the baby, and stuff like that.

Pregnant Customer: “I’m actually here to shop for the baby; I have almost nothing bought yet!”

Wife: “Can I make some suggestions?”

Then, my wife went around the store and gathered lots of clothes and baby stuff. The woman could take her pick, could use the bathroom, and could keep sitting and be comfortable all afternoon. She ended up buying almost all of the stuff for the baby she needed — some toys, cute stuff for the nursery, etc. — and gave a big tip to my wife for all the help.

And the regular? She bought a skirt and left quickly.

My wife’s colleague was curious and went to their supervisor, claiming that my wife stole her customer. But too bad for her, the supervisor had seen what happened and told her off. My wife was complimented for treating a customer so well and making such a good sale.

My wife and her colleague were never really friends after that, but my wife soon found a better job.

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A Watch Might Be Handy For This Handyman

, , , | Working | October 22, 2020

My bathroom faucet has been dripping non-stop for a few days, so I decide to call someone to fix it. After a quick research, I find a landline for [Handyman #1] and he assures me he will be in my house in an hour. He is a little evasive about prices, but I decide to trust him for now. Not so bad, right?

Well… after almost four hours, I call again.

Handyman #1: “I’m already driving to you!”

Weird. I am calling a landline! I get fed up with the unprofessional behaviour and cancel the job; I confirm my information with him, tell him I will not need his services, and — after hearing some very “polite” words from him — hang up.

After calling some friends and family, I found another person, [Handyman #2], who got here in less than twenty minutes, fixed my problem, and even gave me some tips about what to do if I encountered the same type of problem again. Great!

After three hours of the first cancellation — SEVEN HOURS after the initial contact — guess who was on my buzzer? Yep, [Handyman #1], and he even had the audacity to ask if I was the person who’d cancelled.

And some people ask why they can’t find work.

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