Math Is Usually To Blame

| ME, USA | Crazy Requests, Math & Science

Customer: “What is 25 multiplied by 24?”

Me: “That comes to 600.”

Customer: “WHY?!”

Me: “I’m sorry… Are you asking me why it comes to 600?”

Customer: “Yeah!”

Me: “Because of math?”

Will Need To Explore Some Therapy Options

| UK | Technology

(Working on a tech support line:)

Me: “Okay, so what browser are you using?”

Client: “What’s a browser?”

Me: *sigh* “Okay, do you know if you use Firefox, Chrome, Internet Explorer?”

Client: “I don’t know.”

Me: “Okay, at the bottom of the page where your start button is—”

Client: “What’s that?”

Me: “The little Windows symbol in the left hand corner of your screen.”

Client: “Oh, okay!”

Me: “Next to that are some little icons. Is there an icon that looks like a blue ‘e’?”

Client: “I don’t know. There is the calculator, a notepad, and the symbol for the explorer.”

Me: “…”

Cashing And Crashing

| NY, USA | Extra Stupid, Money

(I work for the call center of a major ticketing organization. Most of my job consists of helping people find the tickets they want and then helping them pay via the phone. Most customers are great…)

Me: “All right, that brings your total to [amount]. How would you like to pay?”

Customer: “Cash.”

Me: “Oh, I’m sorry, ma’am. I can’t hold the tickets for you so you can pay later. I have to take the payment now on a debit or credit card.”

Customer: “But I want to pay in cash.”

Me: “I understand that, but unfortunately, I cannot accept cash for an over-the-phone purchase since you can’t hand it to me.”

Customer: “You just want to steal my credit card!”

Me: “Not at all. I assure you, many people buy tickets like this every day and it’s completely safe.”


Me: “I’m sorry, ma’am, but I simply cannot take cash as a form of payment over the phone. You are welcome to come to the theater and pay cash if you wish.”

Customer: “Well, that’s stupid; I’m not in New York.”

Me: “Unfortunately, the theater is the only place we accept cash, ma’am.”

Customer: “F*** you. I’m ordering online.”

Me: “Ma’am, you can’t pay cash online either.”

Customer: *slams phone down*

Your Attitude Is Off-Balance

| Hampshire, England, UK | Crazy Requests, Money

(I work for a third party debt collection agency. We collect debt on behalf of other companies, but we don’t buy the debt. We are a last-ditch attempt – if we can’t claim the debt they will usually take it to court. As you can imagine, we aren’t popular with our callers, especially those who owe large amounts. One such call sums up my experience.)

Me: “Hi, you’re through to [My Name] at [Company]. Are you calling to make a payment?”

Customer: “Oh! How presumptuous. You certainly are full of yourself.”

Me: *ignoring her snide tone* “How can I help you today?”

Customer: “That’s better. I’m calling to query my balance.”

(I take the customer’s account number and confirm various details for security. As I do, I see the debt is for a credit card. The customer maxed out the balance in the first few months but has never made any payment towards it.)

Me: “Okay, I have your account up. What was your query?”

Customer: “Well… I just don’t know why my balance is this high.”

Me: “Your balance is high because you accrued a balance on your credit card but have never paid any of it. Because of this, you have accrued interest and charges for non-payment.”

Customer: “I beg your pardon?”

(I repeat myself.)

Customer: “How dare you! You are so rude!”

Me: “I’m sorry, madam. I merely answered your question.”


Me: “Of course, madam. Give me one minute.”

(I go and get my manager and explain the situation. He then takes the call. I am standing behind him the whole time and can hear the customer screaming through the headset. He tells her multiple times that she does not need to shout and that if she doesn’t control her volume, he will disconnect the call. This seems to help and the customer quiets down. My manager nods and takes notes.)

Manager: “Based on what you’ve told me, I cannot see an issue with the call, but I will listen to the recording and call you back.”

(A few hours later my manager comes and collects me. He is going to call the customer back and has invited me into his office to listen into the call with him. He advises me I’m not in any trouble and he found no issues with the call.)

Manager: “Hello, is that [Customer]?”

Customer: “Yes, this is [Customer].”

(My manager quickly goes through security before continuing. He also advises that I have been invited in with him to listen to their conversation. The customer is happy with this.)

Manager: “Thank you for that. Okay, [Customer], I have listened to the call.”

Customer: “Okay.”

Manager: “There was nothing wrong with the call. I did not feel [My Name] was rude. You asked a question; she answered it. What about the call did you find rude?”

Customer: “Well, answering right away with assuming I was going to pay. That’s just rude.”

Manager: “That’s part of her call script. She must ask that every time she answers a call. We’re a debt collection company. People call us because they have an outstanding balance. It’s not unreasonable to expect people might be calling to pay something.”

Customer: “Yes, but it’s rude to assume.”

Manager: “I’m sorry you feel that way, but that’s the script and we’re not going to change it. Now, was there anything else you felt that was rude?”

Customer: “Well, what she said. It wasn’t right to say I hadn’t paid.”

Manager: “Have you paid?”

Customer: “Well, no, but it’s rude just to come out and say it like that!”

Manager: “You asked why your balance was so high.”

Customer: “Yes, but she didn’t have to say it quite like that.”

(My manager looks at me. I can see how frustrated he is.)

Manager: “Okay, how would you have preferred she answer?”

Customer: “Well, she didn’t need to mention I hadn’t paid.”

Manager: “So when you asked why your balance was so high, you didn’t want her to mention you hadn’t paid?”

Customer: “That’s exactly right.”

(My manager pauses and looks at me.)

Manager: “Madam, I am afraid there are no issues with the call. Your only options are to set up an arrangement to pay, or pay the balance in full.”

Customer: “See – that was much nicer. Why didn’t that girl say that before?”

(My manager made no comment and instead wrapped up the call. The customer promised to call back and make an arrangement in the next week – she needed time to look at her finances. The customer did not call back, nor did she answer any of our calls or letters. It got passed back to the credit card provider so they could take it to court.)

Not Only Calling About The Color Of Money

| USA | At The Checkout, Bigotry, Crazy Requests

(I’m speaking with a customer whose card was temporarily blocked for suspicious activity. I’m trying to verify her identity.)

Women: “Why should I have to know my old address? No one ever asked me for that before! Why does it matter?”

Me: “Identity thieves will often change the address on a card before using it, so we watch for address changes. Asking for the old address helps us because an identity thief may not have known the old address before he changed it. It’s an effective means of protecting your identity.”

Women: “I’m not an identity thief. Why would you think I was?”

Me: “I did not say you were, ma’am. I’m only explaining that asking for an old address is a great way of verifying you while protecting your identity.”

Women: “Why would you think I stole something? You think any [race] women with a credit card had to steal it? Or you just think I can’t afford a computer?”

Me: “We are not worried about your being able to afford anything. We simply wanted to verify a charge that was unusual for this card to make sure it is one you authorized. Once we have verified the charge…”

Women: *cutting me off* “You wouldn’t be harassing me if I wasn’t [race]!”

Me: “Our policies are the same for all races, ma’am. I didn’t even know your race until you told me.”

Women: “Don’t give me that s***! You can tell. You wouldn’t be harassing me for buying a computer if I was white. You’re just racist!”

Me: “Our system flagged your account because of the address change and large purchase before I ever spoke to you. The system doesn’t know your race either. It’s illegal for us to store that information and our applications don’t ask you to disclose it. There is literally no way that your race could play any role in the system’s decision to flag this account. I certainly hope I’m not racist either. I would hate to find out I had an issue with my little brother.”

Women: “Don’t you lie to me. You’re not [race] and neither is your bother, unless your mother’s…”

Me: *cutting in as politely as I can* “Not my biological brother. My little brother from Big Brothers Big Sisters of America. I visit him in school every Monday for lunch and recess. It’s my favorite time of the week.”

(She didn’t seem to know how to respond to that. She made a few attempts to catch me in a ‘lie,’ made me explain I that had Sundays and Mondays off so I could visit him and why it was only in-school, etc. but generally wasn’t yelling at me as much. Next time I mentioned her address she gave it to me. Yes, she did end up verifying the charges and having the card unblocked.)

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