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Small Town America

, , , , , , | Right | December 5, 2022

We talk to customers all over the United States.

Me: “May I please have your address?”

Caller: “Oh, I live right behind Arby’s, down the street from the gas station.”

Me: *What I wish I could have said* “Right. We’ll have a technician out to every house in America behind an Arby’s immediately.”

Me: *What I actually said* “Just in case there’s more than one Arby’s, can I get your address, please?”

Teens Will Be Teens, Duh

, , , , , , , | Right | December 4, 2022

Back in 2005, I was doing customer service for an online payment service. One day, I got a call from an irate gentleman who wished to report fraudulent transactions on a debit card. Uh-oh.

I’d learned by now that, rather than going through the “Do you have an account with us? Does anybody else in your household?” motions, it was heaps easier to just ask for the full card number and run a search across all accounts. If the card has already been compromised, what damage can it do at this point to tell me the full card number, right?

An account indeed popped up on which the card had been used. However, the name on the account didn’t match that of the caller, so I did some more probing and sniffing, all within rules and regulations. 

Long story short, it was Junior who had gone on a shopping spree. Apparently, for his fifteenth birthday, his parents had given him a Visa debit/credit card with no spending limit. And our service required that all customers be at least eighteen years of age when opening accounts.

Customer: “Well, how do we get his money back?!” 

Me: “Um… we rather… don’t, sir. There’s been no fraud committed because, well, the card owner spent his own money, which was well within his right.”

Christ on a bike, how Daddy Dearest blew a fuse!

Customer: “But that can’t be, because that was money for Junior’s birthday! Why didn’t you stop the transactions, then?!”

Yup. Daddy actually blamed us for not verifying Junior’s age prior to letting him open an account with us and go to town with his card.

It took all of my composure not to burst out laughing. Instead, I diplomatically replied:

Me: “Sir, it’s clearly written in our terms and conditions that account holders must be at least eighteen years of age when signing up for our services. That alone frees us from any responsibility — not that we had any in the first place. Secondly, it was not our company that decided it might be a good idea to give a fifteen-year-old his own debit card with no spending limit. You’re quite welcome to dispute the charges with the card issuer and see if they’re willing to reverse the charges, but, quite frankly, I doubt it, seeing as the card was always in the cardholder’s possession and all charges were made knowingly by said holder. As such, no fraud has occurred, and we are unable to assist you further. Thank you, and goodbye.”

And the amount squandered? Roughly DKK 4,200. Adjusted for inflation and the exchange rate, we’re looking at US$600 or €590 in 2022 money.

Happy birthday, kiddo! I hope you at least got to keep your stuff, whatever you bought.

There’s A Hole In The Hardware

, , , , , , , | Right | December 3, 2022

It’s my first day on the floor in a tech support call center, and my trainer is showing me the ropes. He’s also a supervisor, so our training keeps getting interrupted by escalated calls.

Trainer: “So, those are the basics. I think you should be good to go as most of the calls we get can be answered using the scripts.”

Another worker calls over to us.

Worker: “Hey, [Trainer]! I need you on this one! The caller is threatening to sue us because he shot his laptop when it was freezing as he thought he could — and I quote — ‘shock it back into working again.’”

My trainer and I just stare at each other.

Trainer: “I said most of the calls we get can be answered using the scripts. I never said all.”

This Is Why We Learn Shapes As Children

, , , , | Right | December 1, 2022

Caller: “A digital camera broke my computer when I plugged it in.”

I went through all the standard troubleshooting, and nothing seemed to work, so we had to send someone out for a house call. The problem was immediately obvious and relayed to us all upon their return.

She took the camera cord, which had a USB plug, and tried to put it in the ethernet port. However, it didn’t quite fit, so she took a HAMMER, and well… you know what she did.

This was compounded by the fact that some ethernet ports can fit USB plugs in them; however, the caller’s reasoning was that the cord wasn’t snug, as it fell out. Well, after it was driven into the port an inch, it was quite snug.

A Promising Management Strategy

, , , , | Working | December 1, 2022

I briefly worked for an internal call center for a software development company. It was mildly frustrating dealing with both incoming calls and outgoing follow-ups, and the commute was terrible, but the business hours, pay, and eventual benefits were decent for what the work was, if less than enough to cover the cost of living as well as the commute. What actually sold me was the fact that they were opening up a new location all of ten minutes from my house, and I was verbally guaranteed to get assigned to it when it went live three months later.

Unfortunately, just shy of two months after starting, I get called into a meeting with the department head.

Department Head: “So, I’ve got some bad news, but let me start by saying you’ve been doing absolutely wonderful and have exceeded all your marks so far, and everyone loves having you around.”

Me: “I sense a ‘but’ looming on the horizon.”

Department Head: “Heh, indeed. But… the group we were going to be leasing our new office from backed out on the deal. I don’t have all the details, which is why I haven’t made an official email to everyone yet, but I wanted to talk to you first. I know you said the only reason you were able to work through this was anticipating the new office.”

Me: “Yyyyeah. No offense to you or the company, but between gas and tolls, the commute eats up way too much of the paycheck, and it’s way too long a drive for me that early in the morning long-term.”

Department Head: “Totally understandable. I already talked with Human Resources, and we came up with two solutions: first would be a fifty-cent-an-hour raise effective immediately, if you could stay.”

Me: “Unfortunately, that’s not enough to cover everything.”

Department Head: “In that case, rather than making you quit, we can work out a deal where we let you go in a way that you’re still qualified for the unemployment you were on before.”

Me: “Oh, really? That’s… unexpectedly generous. You’re sure there won’t be any repercussions for me?”

Department Head: “Positive. [HR Representative] will have all the details — she’ll talk with you tomorrow — but the verbiage was something along the lines of ‘no-fault economic difficulties’. Can we at least contact you to see if you’ll still be available should we get another office up and running in your area?”

Me: “Absolutely. Thank you for actually taking the time to talk through this with me.”

I worked through the rest of the week, and the department head bought lunch for me and a couple of others in the same boat on the last day. Sure enough, unemployment did kick back in right away.

Nine months later, I got an email back from [HR Representative] there, offering to take me back in at full-time with the offered increase at a new facility. Unfortunately for them, I had already gotten another, much better-paying job in the interim, but it was still nice to see they actually kept their promises when they could.