Guaranteed To Shut Anyone Up

| San Antonio, TX, USA | Bad Behavior, Language & Words, Top

(I am an EFL teacher and self-published writer. I am an English major and in several classes focusing on the history and structure of the English language. I am paying my way by working at a call center. I get a caller who sounds reasonably educated.)

Caller: “I want you to tell me if there is a guarantee on this product.”

Me: “I know, sir, but to cont—”

Caller: “Tell me about the guarantee before we get anywhere else.”

Me: “I’ve given you the information on my sidebar, sir. To get further details I need to advance the screen so can you just give me your name—”

Caller: “Just tell me about the guarantee! Guarantee: Latin for get your money back!”

Me: “Latinate.”

Caller: “Pardon me?”

Me: “It’s Latinate, not Latin. We acquired it from the French. Probably Parisian French but I’m not sure in that. Warranty actually comes from the same word, but Norman French has the W sound and other types of French don’t usually. Probably because the Normans were a bunch of Norse Viking types the French gave some land to in order not to be pillaged. The Normans invaded and conquered England and tried to obliterate the English language but only managed to get a bunch of words added. When the English invaded and conquered France a couple of hundred years later, they got the Parisian version of the word with the GU sound. This is why warranty has a more official and stronger meaning than guarantee.”

Caller: “Uh…”

Me: “Now, I have a specific script the client requires us to read about the guarantee. It is important that I read precisely the words they chose without interpretation. To get to that script, I need to process the first screen as if I am taking an order. I am not allowed to read from memory. If you choose not to order, then I just cancel it out and there is no order placed. Can I get your information now, sir?”

Caller: *much calmer* “All right…”

Yukon Freeze It, Part 2

| ON, Canada | Canada, Extra Stupid, Geography

(I work at a call centre located in Canada, but our focus is verifying orders placed for long distance phone service with a particular company in America, so all our incoming calls originate from there. I am on a call with a man from a Southern state.)

Caller: “Where are you from?”

Me: “We’re located in Canada, sir.”

Caller: “Oh wow, you must see a lot of moose up there then?”

Me: “Well, maybe more so out west, sir. But we are in Southern Ontario. There aren’t really any moose here.”

Caller: “You must have a lot of snow, right?”

Me: *it’s currently summer* “Yes, during the winter we can get lots of snow.”

Caller: “How do you power your call centre?”

Me: “I’m sorry, sir? We use electricity.”

Caller: “Wouldn’t the heat from electricity melt the igloos?”

(I have to mute my headset as I laugh and try to compose myself. I want so badly to joke with him, but our calls are recorded.)

Me: “No, sir. We live in houses and buildings in cities just like you. Even way up north I don’t think you’d find any igloos anymore.”

Caller: “Really? Oh. What were you asking me again?”

(We resume the call as normal, but at the after our goodbyes, he jumps in.)

Caller: “Wait! If I give you my email, can you send me a picture of a moose?”

Me: “I’m sorry, I can’t do that.”

Caller: “Aw, how come?”

Me: “Because it’s against company policy and the moose are camera shy. Have a great day, sir!”

Related:
Yukon Freeze It

A Taxing Conversation

| Norwich, England, UK | Money, Top

(My colleague is the customer in this transaction. He has received a letter from HM Revenue (British tax authority).)

Colleague: “Hello, I am ringing about the letter I received stating the amount due to you is £1,400!”

Tax assistant: “Well, I can help you with that. What seems to be the issue?”

Colleague: *angry at this point* “The issue is that I have just received a letter telling me that I have to pay you £1400!”

Tax assistant: *still being very polite* “Well, sir. Please calm down, let me say something.”

Colleague: “Say something? What can you say that’s going to resolve this problem?”

Tax assistant: “How about, the check is in the post and you don’t owe us a penny?”

Colleague: “Oh.”

Tax assistant: “I thought that might help a little. If you had read the letter clearly you would have seen that it says ‘Amount due to you is £1,400.’”

Colleague: “Oh… erm… I’m really sorry for being a jerk.”

(I have never laughed so hard in my life.)