Guaranteed To Shut Anyone Up

| San Antonio, TX, USA | Right | February 6, 2013

(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…”

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There’s Got To Be A Debtor Way

| USA | Working | February 6, 2013

(Backstory: My husband recently found out he had an acute form of cancer which would be deadly unless he got immediate treatment (leukemia). It has rendered him totally disabled and is totally dependent on me for everything. He is so weak that he can’t shower or get dressed and can barely walk from room to room. This has unfortunately left us behind on our credit card.)

Me: “I understand why you’re calling, but I just do not have any money to give right now. We’re only bringing in $600 a month in social security and that barely covers 2/3 of the mortgage. I have NO money left. I called to explain this already.”

Credit Card Rep: “You need to get a job.”

Me: “I don’t think you understand. My husband has cancer. I will be more than willing to send you whatever documentation you’d like from the hospital to prove I’m telling the truth. I can’t leave him alone at all. He’s a fall hazard.”

Credit Card Rep: “You need to find a job and hire someone to watch him. Try [fast food restaurant].”

Me: “Do you really think I’m going to find someone to be his caregiver on a [fast food restaurant] salary? I’ll be paying out more to that than I bring in! That doesn’t even make sense!”

Credit Card Rep: “I think you’re just lazy and don’t feel like working. It’s harder to work at [fast food restaurant] than it is to take care of an adult. You can leave him for a few hours.”

Me: “Do you even hear what you’re saying?”

Credit Card Rep: “Well, then you need to ask someone to help you take care of him.”

Me: “Who? The people who have jobs and bills to pay? You want them to take time off work and help me for free?”

Credit Card Rep: “Yes!”

It Just Gets Exponentially Worse From Here

| Los Angeles, CA, USA | Working | February 3, 2013

(I’ve lost the password I need to access my billing and setting and am calling to reset it.)

Representative: “Hello, thank you for calling [phone company]. How may I be of assistance today?”

Me: “Hi, I need to reset my password.”

Representative: “Of course, I’d be happy to help you with that. Can I have your name, number, and last 4 digits of your social security number?”

(I give them to her.)

Representative: “Thank you. Is there anything you would like me to temporarily reset your password to?”

Me: “Yes. Six, six, four, four.”

Representative: “Passwords must be four to five digits.”

Me: “But I only gave you four.”

Representative: “Oh, can you give them to me again?”

Me: “Six, six, four, four.”

Representative: “Thank you. To double check, do you want it reset to six, six, four, four or sixty six, forty four?”

A Taxing Conversation

| Norwich, England, UK | Right | February 2, 2013

(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.)

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Throwing Trash Is Pay Dirt

| Seattle, WA, USA | Right | February 1, 2013

(I work in a customer service call center for a health plan that is also a cooperative; it’s the kind where it’s both your insurance and your doctors. On this particular call, a woman is upset because one of her claims was denied, after the referral she’d requested for the service had also been denied.)

Customer: “I don’t understand why my claims are denying.”

Me: “Ma’am, did you receive the referral letter we sent you that said that this service was denied?”

Customer: “Well, yes, but it seemed like there was a mistake, so I just threw it out!”

Me: “You threw it out?! Ma’am do you understand that that denial letter is a legal document that states we are in no way going to cover these services? Why didn’t you call us if you thought it was mistake?”

Customer: “Well I figured if it was a mistake, you guys would just find it and then I could go have this done and it would be covered!”

Me: “Do you realize that we process thousands of referrals to authorize a day? How are we supposed to know that what you requested is wrong, if you don’t tell us?”

Customer: “Don’t put this on me! You denied the referral! It was a mistake! I don’t have to pay! You have to pay!”

Me: “Ma’am, it’s not our fault you threw it away and did nothing about it. We are not going to pay for these services.”

Customer: “You are going to pay! You should have known I would throw it in the trash! You will pay! You will pay!” *click*

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