Who Knew

| Montana, USA | Working | October 10, 2012

(I work at a call center, and am a huge Doctor Who fan so I have quite a few Doctor Who paraphernalia on my desk, which includes a Tardis bobble head that makes the ‘wooshing’ sounds when you hit a button. On day I am reading a book during a lull between calls when suddenly I sense someone behind me. I turn around to find our head maintenance guy. He is about 6’2″, burly, and has the longest beard and hair. He looks like a mountain man and has a gravelly, monotone voice.)

Me: *nervously* “Hey, [maintenance guy], what’s up?”

Maintenance Guy: *continues to stare at my desk*

(I start to think something is wrong at this point, and wonder if I’m in trouble for my decor.)

Me: “Is there something wrong? Do I have too many—”

Maintenance Guy: “What sounds does it make when you press the button?”

Me: “…Huh?”

Maintenance Guy: “The button on your Tardis… what sounds does it make?”

(I reach up and press the button. It starts to make the Tardis sound.)

Me: “You watch Doctor Who?”

Maintenance Guy: “H*** yeah. That’s awesome.” *nods his head and walks away*

Coworker: “What the h*** just happened?”

Me: “I’m… not sure.”

(Suffice to say, almost every day our maintenance guy stops by my desk, waits until I hit the button, and then walks away while nodding.) 

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A Birthday Fit For A King

| Belgium | Right | October 10, 2012

(This call takes place during pre-Internet times, back when I was a student working a holiday job at a call center for a national telecom operator. My job was to look up international phone and fax numbers for our customers.)

Me: “International inquiries, how can I help you?”

Elderly Male Caller: “Hello? I need the number of The King of Morocco’s direct line.”

Me: “I’m sorry, sir, but that type of information would be classified. I can give you the number of our embassy in Morocco if you like. Maybe someone over there can further assist you? ”

Elderly Male Caller: “No, no, that won’t do. Your colleague already told me to dial [embassy’s number], but that’s no good. I want the direct line of The King. He lives in Casablanca.”

Me: “I’m sorry, sir, but I’m afraid we cannot help you.”

Elderly Male Caller: “Are you quite sure? It’s The King I’m looking for, he lives in Casablanca, which is in Morocco, and I’m quite sure there is only one of them in the whole country. Surely you can look up his number?”

Me: “I’m afraid I can’t, sir, as I’ve explained before—”

Elderly Male Caller: *sadly* “I used to have his number, you know, but I’ve lost the notebook it was in. Oh well, I’ll just have to wait for him to call me then. Goodbye…”

(The caller hangs up. However, over the next hour, several of my coworkers get the same call, with the elderly man sounding more desperate, and repeating over and over he needs to speak to The King in Casablanca. Eventually, I get him on my line again.)

Me: “Sir, I’m really sorry, but there’s nothing more me or my colleagues can do for you. The King’s direct number is private. We simply cannot access that kind of information.”

Elderly Male Caller: “But it’s his 68th birthday! I ALWAYS call him on his birthday! Ever since he moved to Casablanca, over 25 years ago! My brother, The King!”

(At this point, it finally dawned on me that “The King” he was trying to call was simply the elderly caller’s brother, Mr. De Koning (“The King”, literally), who had indeed moved to Casablanca, and who indeed turned out to be the only “De Koning”/”The King” in the Casablanca telephone directory. When I finally gave our customer the number of “The King” of Casablanca, he was extremely grateful!)

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For Bitter Or Worse, Part 2

| Sweden | Right | October 9, 2012

Me: “Welcome to [Directory Enquiries Company]. You’re speaking to [my name]. How can I help you?”

Caller: “Yes, I’m looking for the number to a man named [name]. I don’t remember where he lives, but I hope he shouldn’t be too hard to find.”

Me: “That’s a pretty uncommon name, so he wasn’t hard to find at all. If you’d like to, I can send you an SMS to your cellphone with his information. Or, would you rather write it down yourself?”

Caller: “Oh, I’ve never understood these cellphones, so I’d rather write it down myself, please. Just give me a moment to fetch a pen.”

(Up until now, the caller has been very polite and calmer than a tibetan monk on Valium. Suddenly…)


Me: “Excuse me?”

Caller: “Oh, not you dear, I’m just talking to a good-for-nothing slob over here.” *to someone in the background* “NO, NOT THE FLYSWATTER! WHAT THE F*** AM I SUPPOSED TO DO WITH THAT?! A PEN! A F***ING PEN, YOU IDIOT!”

(The cussing and hollering goes on for about a minute before the caller gets back to the phone.)

Caller: “Alright, I have a pen now. What was the number, dear?”

Me: *reads the number to the caller*

Caller: “Thank you, dear. You have been most helpful! Have a lovely day!” *hangs up*

For Bitter Or Worse

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Time To Leave

| UK | Romantic | October 8, 2012

(This happens to a colleague as he sits next to me at the call centre. We often have to break down call charges for customers on their home lines.)

Male Caller: “Why is my phone bill so d*** high? I never call anybody!”

Coworker: “Sir, I can see quite a few calls here. Would you like me to tell you the most frequent numbers?”

Male Caller: *sighs* “Yes, yes.”

Female Voice: *in the background* “Just leave it!”

Coworker: “Most calls are going to [number], which is more expensive as it’s a mobile number.”

Male Caller: “That’s my best friend’s number, but I always ring him from my mobile. When are those calls supposed to have happened?”

Female Voice: *in the background* “JUST LEAVE IT!”

Coworker: *reads out several dates and times*

Male Caller: “That’s ridiculous! I’m always out in the day. The only person in is my wife…”

(The caller trails off as he makes the inevitable conclusion. He starts speaking again a few moments later.)

Male Caller: “…Thank you. You’ve been very helpful. I think that I’m going to have to have a discussion with my wife!”

How To Keep Your Online Devices In Line, Part 2

| Oak Ridge, TN, USA | Right | October 2, 2012

Caller: “Yes, I would like you to send me a new modem. This one you sent me is possessed.”

Me: “…Possessed, ma’am? What makes you say that?”

Caller: “I turn the lights out, and the beast stares at me with the eyes of Lucifer!”

(The modem she is using has two lights on the front. When the modem is powered on but not connected to anything, the lights blink red.)

Me: “Does the modem ever seem to calm down at all, ma’am? Or is it always angry?”

Caller: “It only gets angry when I unplug it at night, but I have to unplug it so it doesn’t bring other demons! I can’t leave it connected when I’m not watching it!”

(I spent a good 15 minutes with this lady, who was always very kind, explaining that the lights were only status indicators. She insisted the modem was possessed, and I eventually sent her a new modem with blue lights instead.)

How To Keep Your Online Devices In Line

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