I’m Afraid I Can’t Allow You To Speak To Dave

| Manchester, England, UK | Right | June 25, 2013

(I work in the debt recovery department of a national mail order company. The department is small, and the only white men are our senior managers, neither of whom are connected to the telephone system in any way. All the other men are Asian, and have traditional Asian names. I am female, and have quite a high-pitched voice. About half an hour after dealing with a perfectly nice, male customer, he calls back and gets me again.)

Me: “Hello, sir! You’re speaking to [My Name] again. How can I help you?”

Customer: *yelling* “I was talking to Dave earlier, and he’s completely f***** everything up!”

Me: “I’m sorry, sir; you must be mistaken. You spoke to me earlier, and your payment plan was sorted out. We agreed to—”

Customer: “I’ve never spoken to you! I spoke to Dave! I want you to transfer me to him so he can sort this s*** out!”

Me: “Sir, please refrain from swearing. I can assure you, you did not speak to ‘Dave.’ There is no one here by that name. You spoke to me at [time] this afternoon.”

Customer: “Are you calling me a f****** liar?”

Me: “Sir, please stop using language like that, otherwise I will have to terminate this call. I think you might be mistaking us for another company you may have called today. Not only is there no-one called ‘Dave,’ but my user ID is the only one to access your account in the last month, and I recall speaking to you earlier.”

(The customer starts screaming so loud, I turn the volume down on my headset. My colleagues are getting distracted by the noise, and even my manager is peering over at me. Eventually he stops for breath.)

Me: “Sir, there is no point in me lying to you, as you clearly don’t believe me. Why would I make my life and yours difficult by continuing to ‘lie’ to you? Also, the idea that I could be mistaken for a man is… Well, I don’t even…”

(At this point, my colleagues are all either laughing, or trying not to because they’re on the phone to other customers. My manager’s eyes have gone wide.)

Manager: “Hang up, and I’ll call him back.”

(I do as I’m told. Two minutes later, my manager comes over, grinning widely.)

Manager: “He admitted straight away he might have been wrong, and paid up.”

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Space (Between His Ears) Oddity

| Toronto, Canada | Working | June 14, 2013

(I work for a company which interacts with senior engineers in the US government. This conversation takes place with a senior engineer in a well-known space organization.)

Engineer: “That’s a funny accent you have there. Where are you from?”

Me: “Canada, sir.”

Engineer: “AH! G’DAY MATE!”

Me: “Canadian, not Australian, sir.”

Engineer: “Well, what’s the difference?”

Me: “Well, for starters, Canada is the country right above you to the north.”

Engineer: “No it isn’t! Russia is above us!”

Me: “And between Russia and you is Canada, sir.”

Engineer: “Liar! Sarah Palin said that she could see Russia from her backyard! Why do you think that places like New York and Boston are full of communists?! Because of the Russians being so close to them!”

Me: “Sir, I have you here as senior engineer at [organization]. How does one become senior?”

Engineer: “You have to have worked hard in the field for 20 years.”

Me: “And to clarify, Canada is Australia, and Russia is above you?”

Engineer: “Right! I don’t see why this is so hard to understand!”

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This Call Contains No Common Scents

| USA | Right | June 10, 2013

(I’m male, and work in a service call center. A man in his 60s is on the line.)

Me: “Hi, thank you for calling [company]. This is [name]; how can I help you?”

Member: “Where are all the pretty girls?”

Me: “Uh… I have no idea what you’re talking about.”

Member: “Every time I call, it’s always pretty women on your side.”

Me: “My apologies. I can talk in falsetto if you would prefer?”

Member: “No, no. Just put on some perfume and we’ll call it square.”

(I end up helping him with his reason for calling.)

Member: “Now don’t forget, something fragrant, but not overpowering as to give them young boys confusing desires.”

(Considering I am gay, and in no way flamboyant, I find this exceptionally amusing!)

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Greeting Perverted, Disaster Averted

| UK | Working | June 4, 2013

(I work in a call centre, and it’s pretty quiet, so my colleagues and I are chatting. We’re discussing how no-one really listens to our greetings, and then move onto the subject of lying. Suddenly, I get a call come through.)

Me: “Hi, welcome to [store]. How can I lie to you today?”

(I go white as I realise what I just said. My colleagues look on in shock.)

Customer: “Hi there, I found some vouchers at the back of the drawer and they expired. Can you help?”

(I get the vouchers updated, and I secretly add a few more because I felt so bad about what I just said.)

Customer: “By the way, that’s the most awesome greeting.” *chuckles*

Me: “I’m so sorry! It sort of slipped out!”

Customer: “Don’t worry love; it’s fine. Have a good day, but try not to tell porkies (lies) now!”

Colleague #1: “Did they say anything?”

Me: “Yeah, but she laughed at it.”

Colleague #2: “B***** h***! People do listen!”

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Addressed The Race Issue

| Edmonton, AB, Canada | Right | May 29, 2013

(I work at a technical service call centre. A call is taken by an African-Canadian tech.)

Tech: “Thank you for calling [name of company]. My name is [name]. How can I help you?”

Caller: “Oh, thank God they gave me somebody white! The last time I called they expected me to talk to some stupid n*****.”

(The tech is perfectly calm.)

Tech: “Sorry about that, sir. How can I help you?”

(The call proceeds as normal. The tech troubleshoots with the caller, and decides new software is needed. He offers to ship the software.)

Tech: “Just to make sure, can I reconfirm your address?”

Caller: “Oh, sure. It’s [full street address].”

Tech: “Thank you. Oh, and before you go, you ought to know that I’m the biggest, blackest mother-f***** you’ll ever meet in your life, and I know where you live. Good day.”

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