Big Brother Is Not Watching You

| ON, Canada | Extra Stupid, Technology

(I work in a call centre that handles calls exclusively from American customers. Since we’re located right on the Ontario-Michigan border, we often tell customers that we’re located in Northern Michigan to avoid having to explain how the company manages to serve Americans properly.)

Me: “Thank you for calling [insurance company], roadside assistance. How can I help you?”

Customer: “You have a weird accent. Where are you from?”

Me: “I’m from Northern Michigan, ma’am. How can I help you?”

Customer: “Oh! That’s where I am! You must be able to see me, then!”

(I assume she means on our program’s mapping system.)

Me: “I don’t have your location listed here, ma’am. If you’ll answer a few questions, I can get that information from you in a moment. Is your—”

Customer: “You mean you can’t see me?”

Me: “Not yet, ma’am. First I have to get some more information from you and then I can bring up a map of your location.”

Customer: “No, on the cameras! Can’t you see me on the cameras?”

Me: *confused* “What cameras, ma’am?”

Customer: “They’re right there! I’m waving at it! It’s just on top of the traffic light!”

(I realize she’s talking about the traffic camera that takes photos of vehicles that run red lights. I spend the next 10 minutes trying to explain that. Eventually, she accepts I can’t see her.)

Customer: *resigned* “Well, I guess if you can’t see me, I’ll just call my husband. He can change my tire…”

(She hung up before I could explain that we could set up service. About 20 minutes later, I heard my coworker explaining to a customer that traffic cameras are not a country-wide surveillance system. It was the same woman. She hung up on him, too!)

Weeding Through The Voters

| USA | Politics

(I am phone-banking Colorado voters, encouraging them to support the Amendment 64 initiative to legalize marijuana in the state.)

Me: “Hello. I’m calling with the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana like Alcohol. In November, you will have the chance to vote—”

Voter: “Why should we only regulate marijuana like alcohol during November? I think we should do it the whole year!”

A Storm Of Protest

| Seattle, WA, USA | Uncategorized

(I work at a call center for a large online distributor of high-end lighting.)

Me: “Thanks for calling [company], this is [name]. How can I help you today?”

Customer: “Hi, I was wondering where my shipment was.”

Me: “Okay, if you give me your order number, I can check on that for you.”

Customer: “I don’t have my d*** order number! Can’t you just look it up by my name?”

Me: “Unfortunately, since we have customers all over the country, I can’t look you up by just your name. I can try your email address, however.”

Customer: “Oh, okay! It’s [email].”

Me: “Okay, give me just a moment to pull that up.”

Customer: “Thanks. I’m really frustrated because this d*** thing was supposed to arrive yesterday and it’s still not here yet.”

(I pull up her order. The tracking information for her shipment says that it is being delayed because of the hurricane. I check her information: she is located in New York, a few miles outside of New York City.)

Me: “I’m sorry for the delay in shipment, but it seems that delivery to your area is on hold because of the hurricane.”

Customer: “What? The hurricane was last night. Is my furniture coming today?”

Me: “Unfortunately, the shipping company is going to have a hard time getting to your area because of the hurricane.”

Customer: “What the f***?! How is that my problem? I paid for the d*** furniture, and I want it to be delivered on time!”

Me: “I’m sorry, ma’am, but have you seen the news for your area?”

Customer: “Well, duh! Everyone’s talking about the d*** hurricane!”

Me: “Well, ma’am, would you want to be out driving right now?”

Customer: “Of course not! It’s awful out there!”

Me: “But you expect the delivery company to be able to get to you?”

Customer: *silence*

Me: “They will be out for delivery as soon as everything is cleaned up.”

Customer: *click*

Editor’s note: Although this story tells the lighter side of things, the devastation caused by Sandy is very serious. Click here to visit FEMA’s dedicated Sandy page and learn how you can donate and volunteer.